|Name:||Villiers?, Lord Purbeck|
|Date of Birth:|
|Billets:||HMS Allegiance, 1st lieutenant|
The history of his title is rather interesting. The title of Viscount Purbeck was created on 19 July 1619, along with the title Baron Stoke, for John Villiers, the brother of the 1st Duke of Buckingham and the 1st Earl of Angelsey. Technically, the title became extinct upon John Villiers' death on 18 February 1657.
Villiers married Frances Coke, the daughter of Sir Edward Coke and Elizabeth Hatton. On the bride's side, at least, the marriage was a forced one. Lady Purbeck eloped with Sir Robert Howard and lived with him in adultery for some years, going by the name Mrs. Wright and bearing a son named Robert Wright. Sixteen years after the elopement, she returned to Lord Purbeck, who acknowledged the son as his heir and referred to him as Robert Villiers.
The son sided with the Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") rather than the Royalists ("Cavaliers") during the English Civil War. After marrying one of the daughters of Sir John Danvers, he "eventually obtained a patent from Oliver Cromwell [Lord Protector of England, 1653-1658] to change his name for that of his wife, declaring that he hated the name of Villiers on account of the mischief which several of those who bore it had done to the Commonwealth; and as to the title of Viscount Purbeck, he disclaimed it with contempt." The Curious Case of Lady Purbeck, page 17.
However, after Robert Danvers' death, his widow and two sons, Robert and Edward, resumed the name Villiers. Robert, the elder son, petitioned to be summoned to (allowed to sit in) the House of Lords as Viscount Purbeck. Charles II referred the petition to the House of Lords, who eventually referred it back to Charles. The King "replied that he 'would take it into consideration.' This appears to have been the last official word ever pronounced upon the subject, and nobody has since then been summoned to the House of Lords as Viscount Purbeck."
This did not stop Robert's son, John Villiers, from claiming the title. On John's death without male issue in 1723, the claim passed to Rev. George Villiers, Edward's son and John's cousin, and on George's death to his son, also named George and also a clergyman. "Efforts were made in his youth to obtain for him a summons to the House of Lords; but, in addition to the doubtful character of his claims, he was no persona grata to the King [probably George II], as he was known to be an ardent Jacobite."
The second Rev. George Villiers died without issue in 1774, and his brother died a bachelor. "The male line of Villiers, alias Danvers, alias Wright, then expired. We hear no more of any claims to the Purbeck peerage."
Thus, it is not clear how Riley's first lieutenant came by the title. It appears, however, that he was descended from a real bastard.