Hertfordshire

County

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
1529HENRY BARLEY
 (aft. 12 Nov. 1529 not known)
 PHILIP BUTLER
1536(not known)
1539SIR HENRY PARKER 1
 (SIR) PHILIP BUTLER 2
1542(SIR) RALPH SADLER
 (?EDWARD or JOHN) BROCKET 3
1545SIR RICHARD LEE
 JOHN COCK II
1547(SIR) ANTHONY DENNY 4
 SIR RALPH ROWLETT
24 Oct. 1549SIR HENRY PARKER vice Denny, deceased
Jan. 1552JOHN COCK II vice Parker, deceased5
1553 (Mar.)(SIR) RALPH SADLER
 JOHN COCK II
1553 (Oct.)SIR JOHN BUTLER
 (SIR) JOHN BROCKET
1554 (Apr.)JOHN COCK II
 FRANCIS SOUTHWELL
1554 (Nov.)JOHN COCK II 6
 EDWARD BROCKET 7
1555(SIR) JOHN BROCKET
 JOHN COCK II
1558JOHN FOSTER III
 (aft. 14 Nov. 1558 not known)
 JOHN PURVEY

Main Article

The Hertfordshire elections were generally held at Hertford, but at least one seems to have taken place at Waltham Cross. Of the 14 knights of the shire identified, all held land in the county and most had inherited it; among the four newcomers, Sir Henry Parker and John Purvey (whose parentage is unknown) acquired their Hertfordshire estates by marriage, Sir Ralph Sadler and Francis Southwell through public service. All the men elected were on the commission of the peace, although Sadler not until after his first election and Sir John Butler only after his parliamentary career was over, and seven of them served as sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire. Henry Barley and Sir Henry Parker did so before and Ralph Rowlett and Sir John Butler after sitting, Philip Butler both while he was a Member and afterwards, Edward Brocket five years after his conjectural return to the Parliament of 1542 and again during his Membership a dozen years later, and John Cock between the first and second of his six returns for Hertfordshire. Sadler, Cock and Denny were Privy Councillors, but it was only Cock who established a lien on one of the seats and this notwithstanding his loss of rank and favour at the accession of Mary; even the Council’s recommendation of Sadler in January 1552 as the ‘most fittest of any other person thereabouts’ to fill a vacancy did not prevail, Cock being by-elected even though he was already sitting for Calne. Others who stood well with the government of the day were Parker, whose father the 10th Lord Morley was a friend of Cromwell; Sir Richard Lee, the military engineer and surveyor of the King’s works, who was a friend of Sadler; and Francis Southwell, whose elder brothers were high in favour under Mary. Within the county community, the two Butlers were father and son and Edward Brocket was the uncle of (Sir) John Brocket and sheriff at his election in 1555.

Of the knights returned in 1529, Henry Barley died eight days after the Parliament opened. His place had not been filled by 1532, when the vacancy appears on a list of available seats compiled by Cromwell, with the courtier and soldier Sir Giles Capell as the favoured nominee; Capell’s main seat was in Essex but he held land in Hertfordshire and had been sheriff of the two counties in 1529. There were no such delays during the Parliament of 1547: Denny, who died on 10 Sept. 1549, was replaced by Parker on the following 24 Oct., and the Privy Council despatched its recommendation of Sadler within a fortnight of Parker’s own death on 6 Jan. 1552. When John Foster was returned for Lyme Regis as well as for Hertfordshire in 1558 he was replaced for the Dorset borough a week after the Parliament met, but his death on 14 Nov., three days before the Queen’s, left no time for a by-election. Indentures survive for the by-election of 1549 as well as for the elections to the last two Parliaments of Henry VIII; that of 1547; the two of 1553 and that of 1555. The contracting parties are the sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire and up to 30 electors.8

The sale of wool in Hertfordshire was regulated by two Henrician Acts (22 Hen. VIII, c.1 and 35 Hen. VIII, c.15).

Author: N. M. Fuidge

Notes

  • 1. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Only the surname remains on the indenture C219/18B/37.
  • 4. Only the christian