ARNOLD, Richard (by 1526-87), of Churcham, Glos.

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



Family and Education

b. by 1526, yr. s. of John Arnold of Churcham and Highnam Court, and bro. of Nicholas. m. Margaret.2

Offices Held

Commr. idiocy, Glos. 1571, i.p.m. 1572.3


Richard Arnold, who must be distinguished from his uncle the chronicler, was the younger brother of Nicholas and a distant connexion of Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. The first glimpse of Arnold comes in 1533 when Thomas, 5th Lord Berkeley, bequeathed him £5. Twelve years later his father left him property near Northleach and in Rodley, together with 420 sheep which he was to share with his mother until he reached 30. His election in 1547 for one of the newly enfranchised Cornish boroughs is not easily explained: he had no personal ties with Cornwall, and in the first year of the Protectorate his kinship with Wriothesley was probably of little help, but he may have been assisted by his brother or a more influential patron as he was returned with William Smethwick, a servant of Queen Catherine Parr. Arnold was abroad when on 14 Sept. 1551 his mother made her will, but he had returned by the following 27 Feb., presumably to attend the final session of the Parliament, when as executor he obtained probate of the will.4

A quarrel with his brother over his inheritance probably reduced Arnold’s chances of cutting much of a figure, and the two men remained on bad terms for the rest of their lives: in the 1570s he alleged that there was an entail on Sir Nicholas’s lands and later he disputed the terms of Sir Nicholas’s will for the same reason. Little else has come to light about Arnold: apparently he spent his later years mostly in Gloucestershire where he managed his estate and occasionally took part in local administration. In 1560 he agreed to act as a trustee for Giles Codrington of Frampton-upon-Severn, and 17 years later Codrington entrusted his children, including Richard, to Arnold’s care. In 1573 Arnold sent a brace of greys to Francis Walsingham and not long afterwards he was involved in an affray in Gloucester with William Huntley of Lassington, who seems to have been the aggressor. He made his will on 15 Apr. 1587, leaving £40 a year to his wife. His cousin Richard Scudamore, who was the principal beneficiary as well as executor, proved the will on the following 6 May.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Presumed to be of age at election; evidently not 30 by Sept. 1545, PCC 3 Hogen, 2 Alen. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 4; PCC 7 Powell.
  • 3. CPR, 1569-72, pp. 194, 434.
  • 4. DNB (Arnold, Richard and Wriothesley, Sir John); PCC 3 Hogen, 2 Alen, 7 Powell.
  • 5. PCC 7 Powell; CPR, 1558-60, pp. 363-4; SP12/146, f. 8; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxi. 338; lix. 63, 69-70, 139, 141; APC, viii. 356, xi. 302; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 464, 693; PCC 30 Spencer.