Huntingdonshire

County

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

Elections

DateCandidate
1510JOHN WYNDE 1
 JOHN TAYLARD 2
1512(not known)
1515(not known)
1523(not known)
1529NICHOLAS HARVEY
 (aft. 5 Aug. 1532 not known)
 LAWRENCE TAYLARD
1536(not known)
1539RICHARD CROMWELL alias WILLIAMS3
 OLIVER LEDER 4
1542(SIR) RICHARD CROMWELL alias WILLIAMS
 ROBERT AP RICE
1545(not known)
1547(SIR) JOHN BAKER I
 ROBERT AP RICE
1553 (Mar.)(not known)
 THOMAS AUDLEY II
1553 (Oct.)(SIR) LAWRENCE TAYLARD
 OLIVER LEDER
1554 (Apr.)SIR ROBERT TYRWHITT I
 THOMAS COTTON
1554 (Nov.)WILLIAM LAWRENCE II
 HENRY MANNOCK
1555THOMAS MARIA WINGFIELD
 WILLIAM MALLORY
1558THOMAS COTTON
 WILLIAM LAWRENCE II

Main Article

Indentures of election for Huntingdonshire survive for all Parliaments from 1542 save those of 1545 and 1558: they are in Latin and several are in poor condition. The elections were held at Huntingdon castle and the indentures are in the usual form between the sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire and named electors varying in number between 13 and 29. In January and September 1553 Simon Throckmorton headed the list of electors: on the first occasion his patron Sir Robert Tyrwhitt may have been returned as senior knight but all that remains on a damaged indenture is the suffix ‘knight’. Tyrwhitt himself was at Huntingdon castle for the election to the Parliament of 1555, the only occasion on which a knight appears as an elector: he heads a list of four esquires, six gentlemen and 18 yeomen, and the senior knight elected was his stepson Thomas Maria Wingfield. Two Huntingdon Members also appear among the shire electors, in 1547 Philip Clampe and in the spring of 1554 Clampe and William Horwood.5

Of the 15 knights known to have been returned during the period only Sir John Baker was a stranger to the county. Robert ap Rice, Thomas Audley, Richard Cromwell alias Williams, Henry Mannock and Tyrwhitt were recent arrivals who by the time of their election had established themselves in local administration; William Lawrence’s family had been settled there for only one generation. In being elected John and Lawrence Taylard were continuing a family tradition which as far as is known was not shared by their fellows. Although no single family predominated, at least four of the knights Nicholas Harvey, William Lawrence, Tyrwhitt and Wingfield, were connected with Sir Richard Wingfield (d.1525) of Kimbolton, whose descendants later in the century were to share the representation with the Cromwells of Hinchingbroke and the Tyrwhitts of Leighton Bromswold. Five of the knights had links with the capital, either as courtiers (Cromwell, Harvey and Tyrwhitt), in trade (William Mallory) or in the law (Leder); one Member was a soldier (Audley) and another a professional surveyor (Mannock); the rest were local gentlemen whose interests, by and large, did not extend beyond their county. Apart from Baker only Tyrwhitt and Wingfield are known to have sat in Parliament before their return for the shire, Tyrwhitt for his native Lincolnshire and Wingfield for the town of Huntingdon.

The by-election early in 1533 to fill the vacancy caused by Harvey’s death led to vigorous canvassing. Of the two men whose names were submitted to the King, Richard Sapcote was preferred to John Castell, but this approval notwithstanding Thomas Hall II, who was already sitting for Huntingdon, obtained promises of support for his own election for the shire. It was almost certainly Sapcote who asked Cromwell to see to it that Hall not only desisted but also gave him support, failing which even the backing of Cromwell and Chancellor Audley might not have been sufficient. The outcome is unknown, but if Sapcote was elected the episode could have set a precedent for the Council’s action of 1547 in using Huntingdonshire to provide a seat for the Speaker-designate Baker after he had been passed over in his own county. The fact that Baker’s fellow-knight ap Rice had married Sapcote’s widow could also have entered into the matter.6

In 1511 an information was laid in the Exchequer against the ex-sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire for withholding the wages of John Taylard and John Wynde, with what result is not known. It is the only piece of evidence relating to such payment during the period. An Act of 1532 (23 Hen. VIII, c.2), renewed three times before 1558, provided for the building of a new county gaol.

Author: T. M. Hofmann

Notes

  • 1. E13/187, m. 30.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].