Buckingham

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Elections

DateCandidate
1529JOHN HASILWOOD
 EDWARD LLOYD
1536THOMAS POPE 1
 GEORGE GIFFORD II 2
1539(not known)
1542(not known)
1545JOHN JOSSELYN
 RALPH GIFFORD
1547HENRY CAREY
 JOHN JOSSELYN
1553 (Mar.)EDWARD CHAMBERLAIN II
 FRANCIS VERNEY
1553 (Oct.)WILLIAM WALTER
 EDWARD GIFFORD
1554 (Apr.)HENRY CAREY
 GEORGE FETTIPLACE
1554 (Nov.)HENRY CAREY 3
 GEORGE FETTIPLACE
1555HENRY CAREY
 HUGH MYNORS
1558BERNARD BROCAS
 JOHN HIGFORD

Main Article

In the early 16th century Buckingham was a country town of little significance. Its list of taxpayers for the subsidy of 1524 runs to only 111 names and it was to be one of the 11 towns to which the Act of 1542 for urban revival (33 Hen. VIII, c.36) applied. The castle of the dukes of Buckingham appears to have fallen into ruin and nothing in the neighbourhood was worth a comment by Leland.4

At the opening of the century the borough and its franchises were owned by the 3rd Duke of Buckingham, on whose attainder in 1521 they escheated to the crown. For the next 30 years the borough was held by a succession of men closely attached to the court. In 1522 it was granted to Sir Henry Marney, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, on the death of whose son Sir John Marney, 2nd Baron Marny, without male heir in 1525 it reverted to the crown. In the following year it was given to William Carey, the husband of Anne Boleyn’s sister Mary. Carey died in 1528 leaving a two year-old heir Henry, who was believed to be the King’s son by Mary Boleyn. The wardship may have remained for a year or more in the hands of Sir Thomas Englefield and Sir William Paulet, then masters of the wards, but in 1529 or 1530 it passed to Anne Boleyn. From her execution in 1536 until Henry Carey’s coming-of-age in 1547 the wardship may have been retained by the King; Carey was described as the King’s ward when he and Sir Anthony Lee were subsequently fined for making a marriage contract without royal consent. In 1553 Carey sold his rights in Buckingham and its two attached manors of Little Brickhill and Burton to Robert Brocas, a local landowner.5

The borough was not to be fully emancipated from manorial control until Bernard Brocas surrendered his rights in the 1570s, but it acquired a large measure of autonomy from a charter of incorporation granted on 17 Jan. 1554, ostensibly in return for its support of Queen Mary in the previous year. The charter vested the government of the borough in a bailiff and 12 principal burgesses who must both dwell and hold property within it. The franchises included a three-weekly court served by an under bailiff and a court leet held twice yearly. A steward, to be elected by the bailiff and principal burgesses, was to preside with the bailiff over the court of record. The burgesses were confirmed in the right of sending two Members to Parliament at their costs and charges, as exercised in other boroughs and in ‘the ancient borough of Buckingham’.6

The six election indentures to survive in a legible state (all save one being in Latin) relate to the four Parliaments which met between 1545 and 1553 and those of November 1554 and 1555; on three of them the names of between ten and 12 burgesses appear with the bailiff’s. The list of Members reconstructed from these and other sources, which is complete for all but two of the 12 Parliaments summoned between 1529 and 1558, shows that the borough was subject to the influence arising from the ownership or custody of the manorial rights.7

The point is well illustrated by the first four names on the list. It is all but certain that the two men elected in 1529, John Hasilwood and Edward Lloyd, were official nominees, as indubitably were their successors of 1536, Thomas Pope and George Gifford. Since Cromwell’s imposition of Pope and Gifford on the borough in 1536 ran counter to the King’s general directive for the re-election of the previous Members, Hasilwood and Lloyd must by then have forfeited their claim to re-election, a lapse which is most easily explained if they had been to any extent patronized by Anne Boleyn, whose wardship of Henry Carey had given her the interest at Buckingham now vitiated by her imminent fate. Between 1536 and 1547, when Carey was himself first elected, only the Members for 1545 are known: both John Josselyn and Ralph Gifford had local ties. Carey did not sit again until April 1554 but he presumably had a hand in the intervening elections: on both occasions the men returned appear to have benefited by their local connexions. Carey’s own three returns under Mary followed his sale of his rights in Buckingham, so that although he may have retained his lien on one of its seats the other may have come under different patronage: it was filled twice by a young lawyer in George Fettiplace, and once by an officer of the royal household in Hugh Mynors. In the last Marian Parliament Carey was replaced by Bernard Brocas, the new lord of the borough, with the second seat going to John Higford, a brother-in-law of Fettiplace.

Author: M. K. Dale