Carlisle

Borough

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

Background Information

No names known for 1510-23

Elections

DateCandidate
1529EDWARD AGLIONBY I
 JOHN COLDALE
1536(not known)
1539(not known)
1542WILLIAM STAPLETON
 (not known)
1545HUGH AGLIONBY
 ROBERT SMITH
1547EDWARD AGLIONBY I
 THOMAS DALSTON
by 23 Jan. 1552EDWARD AGLIONBY II vice Dalston, deceased1
1553 (Mar.)EDWARD AGLIONBY II
 JOHN DUDLEY
1553 (Oct.)JOHN AGLIONBY
 SIMON BRISCO
1554 (Apr.)ROBERT WHEATLEY
 RICHARD MYNSHO
1554 (Nov.)ROBERT WHEATLEY
 RICHARD MYNSHO
1555WILLIAM MIDDLETON
 WILLIAM WARD
1558RICHARD ASSHETON
 ROBERT DALTON

Main Article

Carlisle was the military and administrative centre of the west marches and the seat of a bishopric. Leading military engineers were consulted when Henry VIII undertook to re-fortify the city and its eastern counterpart Berwick-upon-Tweed. The area within the walls was largely unoccupied and derelict, and although the city provided a local market its economy rested on the furnishing of the garrison and of the forces assembled there from time to time. The dissolution of the Augustinian priory and the two friaries deprived the citizens of a minor source of income. Henry II’s charter had been amplified during the later middle ages and was so again in 1510 and 1547. The fee-farm was fixed at £40 in 1461. Civic government was by a mayor assisted by 11 other ‘worshipful persons’, the council known as the Twenty-Four and several officers, but no records survive for the period. Effective power rested with the warden of the west marches, often in residence at the castle, and with the military commanders periodically sent north. The wardenship was held at different times during the period by the 2nd and 3rd Barons Dacre of Gilsland, Sir Thomas Wharton I, later 1st Baron Wharton, and the Duke of Northumberland. Successive bishops co-operated with the warden.2

Parliamentary elections were supervised by the mayor and two bailiffs. The precept which they received in 1544 is endorsed with the names of the two Members elected to Henry VIII’s last Parliament. Indentures written in Latin, all in poor condition, survive for the Parliaments of 1542, 1547, March and October 1553, November 1554 and 1555. The contracting parties were the sheriff of Cumberland and the mayor or the mayor and burgesses, who affixed the city’s seal. On the indenture of 1547 the names of six citizens follow that of the mayor, and the indenture of 1555 records that ‘we the mayor and bailiffs’ had elected William Middleton and William Ward with ‘the assent and consent of the citizens ... in full court’. Of the 16 Members sitting in this period Edward Aglionby the elder (and perhaps John Aglionby), Simon Brisco, John Coldale, Robert Dalton and Richard Mynsho lived in Carlisle, and Thomas Dalston nearby. Several of these men had civic experience. William Stapleton and Robert Wheatley belonged to Cumberland, and with the exception of Robert Smith and William Ward, whose origins and domiciles have not been discovered, the remainder were either northerners or of northern descent. All seem to have been sponsored directly or indirectly by the current warden. Hugh Aglionby, a kinsman of the sheriff who returned him, was clerk of the council to Queen Catherine Parr, and his fellow-Member Robert Smith may also have been in her service. Edward Aglionby the younger was an associate of Cecil and the Dudleys and on his re-election in 1553 he sat with a relative and servant of the Duke of Northumberland.3

Author: N. M. Fuidge

Notes

  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. The King’s Works, iii. 230; iv (forthcoming); G. Bradley and G. P. H. Watson, Carlisle Castle, Cumb. 4, 8-10, 17; Leland, Itin. ed. Smith, v. 53-56; Cumb. and Westmld. Ant