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Newbon Family History

From the last years of the 17th century, members of the Newbon family began arriving in the capital on a fairly frequent basis from the village of King’s Cliffe, and during the next century there remained strong family ties between London and Northamptonshire. Walter Newbon is the last known member of the family to have made the move and it was only when his children married and had children of their own that the family developed a permanent London branch, at much the time that the number of Newbons in King’s Cliffe began to diminish. Curiously, most of the early London Newbons before Walter seem to have been Richards!
traced, he did apply to the Archbishop of Canterbury for a marriage licence in 1699, when he was aged 26. Richard was a baker by profession and by the end of his life he was a prosperous gentleman. At least from 1725 (and quite possibly earlier) he lived in Clarges Street (shown here, left and right), which runs from Piccadilly north to Curzon Street. Given that Clarges Street, along with most of the surrounding area of Mayfair, was erected only at the beginning of the 18th century, it is probable  that Richard Newbon was the first resident of his house. We know from the entry of his second marriage in January 1719 that he was then a parishioner of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which would have included Clarges Street until St George’s, Hanover Square was opened in 1725. The rate books of the
1720s list ‘Mr Richard Newbon’ as paying a substantial sum in tax, in line with the other well-to-do residents. Mayfair numbered many worthies among its inhabitants. The most famous was the composer George Frideric Handel, who from 1723 until his death in 1759 lived at 25 Brook Street, just a few streets to the north of Clarges Street. If Richard Newbon was at all interested in music or merely followed fashion, it is possible that he would have attended some of Handel’s performances at various London theatres, and probable that he met the great man on a Sunday morning at their local parish church, St George, Hanover Square!

Several pieces of evidence support the theory that Richard Newbon of Westminster (1673-1736) was the same person as Richard Newbon the Elder, the son of William Newbon the Elder of King’s Cliffe:

Richard Newbon of Westminster’s marriage licence of 1699 states that he was then aged 26, but no baptism has been found in London for a Richard Newbon around 1673. Richard Newbon the Elder, the son of William Newbon the Elder, was baptised in King’s Cliffe that year, however, and seems to disappear from the records thereafter. (As already pointed out, despite the existence of their marriage licence, the marriage itself between Richard Newbon and Ann Sledge has not yet been traced!)

After the death of his first wife, Richard Newbon of Westminster remarried. A Chancery document of 1729 at The National Archives (C11/2240/33), relating to the family of his second wife Elizabeth Aslaby, refers to ‘Richard Newbon of Clarges Street, baker’. That this Richard Newbon took the profession of more or less every male member of the Newbon family of King’s Cliffe seems highly unlikely to be mere coincidence.

Family traditions
Richard Newbon of Westminster’s son (who was also called Richard Newbon) studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, then became a senior fellow there and went on to become Vicar of Enfield. If the Rev. Richard Newbon did have family connections with Northamptonshire, it would, perhaps, have made sense for him to study at nearby Cambridge, instead of Oxford, which was nearer to his London home. A century later, two other members of the family (Charles Evans Newbon and his younger brother Septimus Baily Newbon) studied not only at Cambridge, but at the same college as Richard Newbon, Trinity. Their branch of the family were great believers in tradition, with Charles Evans Newbon and his younger brother Joseph both representing the ward of Castle Baynard on the Common Council of the City (as their grandfather James Newbon had done many years before them) and Joseph a passionate local historian. Had there been a celebrated academic in their family just a few generations before, it would have made sense for Charles and Septimus to enter his college. Maybe the name of the Rev. Richard Newbon was even able to open doors for them?

Disappearance from Northamptonshire
There is no further trace of the Richard Newbon born in 1673 in King’s Cliffe and it seems very curious that he should have managed to evade the records entirely throughout his life. A Richard Newbon was buried at King’s Cliffe in 1750 but I believe this was Richard Newbon of Blackfriars, who like his uncle was not a resident of King’s Cliffe but whose death at around this time would otherwise remain unaccounted for.

The will of William Newbon the Elder (1699)
William Newbon the Elder, the father of Richard Newbon the Elder, wrote his last will and testament in 1699, shortly before his death. William’s eldest son, William Newbon the Younger, is mentioned first in the will and receives his father’s land and also a filly; Richard (the third son), is mentioned next with a short and simple legacy: I do give and bequeath unto my son Richard Neabon the sum of ten pounds; after a legacy to a daughter Ann, James (the youngest son), is then mentioned: ‘I do give unto my son James Neabon, the sum of ten pounds upon this condition, that he…..shall well and sufficiently find and provide for my son John Neabon with all meat, drink, washing and lodging and clothes and all things needful and necessary for and during the term of his natural life.’ Presumably this son John was incapable of looking after himself, either physically or mentally or both. Why the elder son William was not chosen to be John’s guardian is not clear, but it is equally interesting that Richard, who was three years older than James, features so little in the will: a simple monetary bequest would certainly have been suitable for the one son who lived a long distance from the rest of the family. In his will William ‘revokes, annuls and makes void all former wills and testaments whatsoever by me heretofore made’ – perhaps this was even as a result of Richard’s leaving home to set up on his own in London?

NEWBON, RICHARD. Adm. Sizar (age 16) at TRINITY, Apr. 6 , 1741. S. Of Richard, of St. James’s, London. School, London (Mr Smallwood). Matric. 1741; Scholar 1744; B.A. 1744-5; M.A. 1748; B.D. 1761. Fellow 1747. Ord. Deacon (Ely) June 5; priest, Oct. 23, 1748. Vicar of Gt St Mary’s, Cambridge, 1756. V. of St Michael’s, 1759. V. of Enfield, Middlesex, 1767-801. Died March 8, 1801. Buried at Enfield.
Here lie
the Remains
of the Revd. Richard Newbon, B.D.
Senior Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
and 34 years, the esteemed and respected
Vicar of this Parish
who departed this Life
March the 8th 1801
aged 79

To the Memory of
Niece of the late
Who departed this life
21st February 1834
Aged 80 years

The Rev. Richard Newbon
The most illustrious member of the Newbon family in the 18th century was undoubtedly the Rev. Richard Newbon, only son of Richard Newbon of Westminster. His life can be charted most easily through the volume Alumni Cantabrigiensis (Alumni of Cambridge University), in which his entry reads as follows:
The early London Newbons:
the move from Northamptonshire (1700–1800)

Enfield was a large and wealthy parish in the 18th century. The present incumbent describes it as ‘the plum living of those within the gift of Trinity College, worth up to about £3000 by the 19th century’. Richard does not seem to have left a notable mark in the church or the parish, which probably indicates he was uncontroversial and good at his job, unlike some of his successors! His tombstone can be found immediately outside the main door of the church; in the same tomb in 1834 was buried Richard Newbon’s niece, Elizabeth Willott, the daughter of his only sister, Elizabeth Newbon, who had married the Rev. Samuel Willott in 1751. The inscriptions on the tombstone read as follows:
Enfield parish church (St Andrew’s), where
the Rev. Richard Newbon was vicar from 1767 to 1801.
All vicars of Enfield were fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge.
A further notable achievement of Richard Newbon was his appointment as Rede Lecturer at Cambridge in 1750. This is an annual appointment to give a public lecture and has been held in more recent times by such illustrious individuals as the      
The grave of the Rev. Richard Newbon and
his niece Elizabeth Willott at Enfield
Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, Sir Leon Brittan, Sir John Betjeman, Sir David Attenbourgh, Sir Peter Ustinov and Lord (Roy) Jenkins.

Richard Newbon

William Newbon the Elder


William Newbon

John Newbon

Richard Newbon

James Newbon

Robert Newbon

the Younger

(1688- )

the Elder

the Elder

(1678- )


(of Westminster)



William Newbon

James Newbon

Henry Newbon

Walter Newbon

Rev. Richard Newbon BD, MA

Richard Newbon

Thomas Newbon

(1691- )

the Younger



of Blackfriars

(1717- )




William Newbon

James Newbon

     Ann Dixon


William Newbon

John Newbon

the Miller

(1718- )


of Blackfriars




Thomas Newbon

Walter Newbon   =

Ann Newbon

(1743- )


 (formerly Dixon)


The only individuals featured on this family tree who are known not to have been born in Northamptonshire are as follows:

The Rev. Richard Newbon was born in Westminster in 1721.

William and John Newbon, sons of Richard Newbon of Blackfriars, were born in Blackfriars in 1737 and 1747 respectively.

Ann Dixon was born in Westminster c1743.

Richard Newbon of Blackfriars
A third Richard Newbon appears in London from 1734. He was the nephew of Richard Newbon the Elder and the son of James Newbon the Elder. It seems unlikely that he moved to London to live with his uncle in Westminster - his only-known London home was more than 2 miles away in Blackfriars. He presumably visited his uncle, however. Click here to go to the page devoted to the life of Richard Newbon of Blackfriars.

Richard Newbon of Westminster (aka Richard Newbon the Elder)
During the last few years of the 17th century a Richard Newbon appears on a regular basis in the records of Westminster. There is no direct evidence to link him to the Newbon family of Northamptonshire but I believe there are so many possible connections that they are unlikely to be coincidental. It thus seems highly likely that Richard Newbon of Westmindter was Richard Newbon the Elder, the son of William Newbon the Elder of King’s Cliffe.

Richard Newbon of Westminster married Elizabeth Aslaby (also sometimes spelt Aslabie and Aislabie) at the Church of St Clement Danes in 1719. At that time he was a widower; although his first marriage has not been    

Individuals featured on this page:

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#top All contents of this website © 2008 Stephen Willis
In 1766 a stained-glass window was dedicated to Richard Newbon in the hall of Trinity College, Cambridge (shown above). This window can still be seen today - for details of the coat of arms displayed see the News 2008 section.
Richard Newbon’s niece, Elizabeth Willott, died an extremely wealthy and well-connected lady. Her will, made in 1832, shows that she was a good friend of Lord Tenterden, Lord Chief Justice from 1818 to 1832, and also with other notable families. How she acquired this position in society is not fully known - her parents died relatively young and she had no siblings, but her uncle would, of course, have been an important man, particularly through his university connections. With her, this branch of the Newbon family died out.
Family Tree showing the relationship between the various Richard Newbons