Surrey

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
1529SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM I
 SIR NICHOLAS CAREW
1536?SIR WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM I 1
 (not known)
1539SIR ANTHONY BROWNE 2
 CHRISTOPHER MORE 3
1542SIR ANTHONY BROWNE
 ROBERT SOUTHWELL
1545SIR ANTHONY BROWNE
 SIR EDMUND WALSINGHAM
1547SIR ANTHONY BROWNE
 (SIR) CHRISTOPHER MORE
by 23 Jan. 1552(SIR) THOMAS CAWARDEN 4
aft. 1 Feb. 1552JOHN VAUGHAN I 5
1553 (Mar.)(SIR) THOMAS CAWARDEN
 (SIR) THOMAS SAUNDERS
1553 (Oct.)SIR EDWARD BRAY 6
 WILLIAM SAUNDERS 7
1554 (Apr.)(SIR) ANTHONY BROWNE I
 SIR EDWARD BRAY
1554 (Nov.)(SIR) THOMAS CAWARDEN
 WILLIAM SAUNDERS
1555WILLIAM SAUNDERS
 JOHN SKINNER II
1558(SIR) THOMAS SAUNDERS
 JOHN SKINNER II

Main Article

Elections of knights of the shire for Surrey took place at meetings of the county court held at Guildford. Indentures survive for the last two Parliaments of Henry VIII’s reign, for both of the Edwardian and for the last three of the Marian Parliaments. Written in English, they give the contracting parties as the sheriff of Surrey and Sussex and between nine and 53 named electors ‘with divers other freeholders’ or ‘other proved and legal men’. In 1539 Sir Richard Weston declined to stand on account of ill-health but promised to support two of the Earl of Southampton’s kinsmen. One of these, Sir Matthew Browne of Betchworth, was perhaps similarly indisposed since not long afterwards the earl agreed to ‘accomplish’ Cromwell’s ‘pleasure’ on behalf of Christopher More, and Sir Anthony Browne was returned with More. Early in 1552 the Council directed the sheriff, Sir Robert Oxenbridge, to ‘prefer’ the election of Sir Thomas Saunders at a by-election, but John Vaughan who was already a Member of the Parliament of 1547 was returned; when a year later the Council recommended Vaughan with Sir Thomas Cawarden it was Saunders who was elected with Cawarden. An itemized account of the ‘costs of election to be knight of the shire’ relates to the return of an unidentified member of the Carew family of Beddington in 1515: the expenses, amounting to £10 1s.8d., include overnight accommodation for the candidate and his companions at Leatherhead and for food and drink mostly supplied by the Angel Inn at Guildford to celebrate the election.8

All the knights came from a close-knit group except three from London, Sir Thomas Cawarden, Robert Southwell and Christopher More: More married into two local families. Only John Vaughan owned no property in the county but during the minority of his stepson Henry Weston he occupied Sutton Place and managed the family’s affairs. When elected Vaughan lacked experience of county administration but his post in the Household, albeit a minor one, perhaps made up for this in the minds of the freeholders, who evidently preferred men of national standing. Closeness to the c