Available from Boydell and Brewer
|1510||?SIR THOMAS LOVELL I 1|
|1523||?(SIR) THOMAS MORE I|
|(aft. 11 May 1535 not known)|
|(aft. May/June 1532 not known)|
|1539||(SIR) RALPH SADLER 2|
|ROBERT CHESEMAN 3|
|(aft. Jan./Apr. 1543 not known)|
|1545||(SIR) WILLIAM PAGET|
|1547||(SIR) THOMAS WROTH 4|
|JOHN NEWDIGATE 5|
|1553 (Mar.)||SIR ROBERT BOWES|
|(SIR) THOMAS WROTH|
|1553 (Oct.)||(SIR) EDWARD HASTINGS|
|1554 (Apr.)||(SIR) EDWARD HASTINGS|
|1554 (Nov.)||(SIR) EDWARD HASTINGS|
|SIR ROGER CHOLMLEY|
|1555||(SIR) EDWARD HASTINGS|
|SIR ROGER CHOLMLEY|
|1558||SIR ROGER CHOLMLEY|
Middlesex was a predominantly agricultural county supplying food for the capital and court. Much of its produce was transported along the river Thames but roads radiated from London and on them lay the market towns of Brentford, Edmonton, Enfield, Harrow, Hounslow, Staines and Uxbridge, all under the clerk of the market for the Household. Little remained of the heath and woodland which had covered the county earlier, but the crown tried to preserve its chase at Enfield by enforcing the forest laws. At the Dissolution the monastic estates were sold or leased piecemeal to men close to the crown, some of them Londoners and some from county families. William Lord Paget received lands at West Drayton and Uxbridge; Edward North, 1st Lord North, at Harrow and Hayes; the 1st Earl of Bedford at Acton; the 1st Earl of Pembroke at Hendon; the Protector Somerset at Brentford and the Duke of Northumberland at Syon, but their acquisitions were not sufficient to enable any one of them to dominate the county.6
Elections were held at meetings of the county court. Its venue is described variously as Brentford in 1542 and March 1554, the stone cross in 1545 and September 1553, the gravel pits in October 1554 and Ossulstone in 1555. Indentures written in Latin survive for all the Parliaments between 1542 and 1558, apart from that of 1547, but none is in good condition. The contracting parties are the sheriffs of London (the county having none of its own) and between 11 and 32 named electors and many others. On several occasions the under sheriff is mentioned as having assisted the sheriffs. The writs were endorsed with the names of the knights of the shire, and after its enfranchisement with those of the Members for Westminster.7
Middlesex was susceptible to the influence of the crown and nearly all the knights returned during the period seem to have had official backing, apart from Sir Roger Cholmley, a judge deprived by Mary yet chosen to sit in three of her five Parliaments. Robert Cheseman, John Newdigate and the Wroths father and son came from families long established in the county, the Wroths with a parliamentary tradition dating back two centuries. Sir Ralph Sadler’s father was of midlands origin but had settled at Hackney. All the others were more recent immigrants. Neither Sir Robert Bowes nor Sir Edward Hastings owned much property in Middlesex and London, the bulk of their estates lying elsewhere. Sadler was at the start of his career when returned, doubtless at the prompting of his master Cromwell, and of all the knights of the shire he alone never sat on the county bench. Thomas Wroth was some years younger than Sadler on first being returned but he was a member of Prince Edward’s household and moved in 1547 to the royal household. The others were more mature, with much experience in government or administration. Bowes was master of the rolls, Hastings master of the horse, Sir Thomas Lovell treasurer of the Household and Sir William Paget principal secretary. Lovell was a King’s Councillor, Bowes, Hastings and Paget Privy Councillors, Cheseman the brother-in-law of a Privy Councillor and Thomas Wroth the son-in-law of another.
Two Acts passed late in Henry VIII’s reign concerned the county: one of 1544 (35 Hen. VIII, c.10) empowered London to pipe water from Hampstead and Muswell Hill, and another a year later (37 Hen. VIII, c.2) authorized the cultivation of Hounslow Heath. A bill to conserve hedgerows in Middlesex failed after a single reading in the Parliament of 1547.8
Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard
- 1. LJ, i. 8.
- 2. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
- 3. Ibid.
- 4. Hatfield 207.
- 5. Ibid.
- 6. VCH Mdx. ii. 15, 61, 85, 87-91, 121, 127, 155, 195, 207; iii. 94-95; M. Robbins, Mdx. xix. 25, 27, 45, 49, 53, 66; J. Norden, Speculum Britanniae: Description of Mdx. (1593), passim.
- 7. C219/18B/49v, 50, 18C/66, 67v, 20/78v, 79, 21/97v, 98, 22/45v, 48, 23/83v, 84, 85, 24/102v, 103, 25/70.
- 8. CJ, i. 20.