DARRELL, George (by 1526-66/67), of Gray's Inn, London.
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Family and Education
George Darrell followed his father, one of Sir John Gage legal advisers, in becoming a lawyer, and he inherited the contents of his father’s chambers at Gray’s Inn. The connexion with Gage doubtless helps to explain his election to four successive Parliaments under Edward VI and Mary, for both East Grinstead and Lewes were amenable to Gage’s influence; Darrell’s fellow-Menber in his first Parliament was one of Gage’s servants, Jasper Culpeper, and in his last it was Gage’s grandson Robert. He may also have been beholden to Nicholas Pelham, with whom he was to have numerous dealings during the 1550s: one of the knights for Sussex when Darrell first entered the Commons, Pelham was a brother-in-law of John Sackville II, whom Darrell replaced in the Parliament of 1547. Neither Sackville’s death nor Darrell’s by-election has been dated, but the list of Members as revised for the last session of the Parliament shows that Darrell was returned in time for its opening. Nothing has come to light about his part in the House, but as the son of a devout Catholic and the client of an eminent conservative he must have found the Edwardian Parliaments, and especially the second, less congenial than their Marian successors, in the first of which he is not surprisingly excepted from those noted as having stood for the ‘true religion’, that is, for Protestantism. His disappearance from the parliamentary ranks for the rest of the reign may have been due to the crown’s campaign for the election of townsmen, especially when his patron Gage sickened and died; and after the accession of Elizabeth his religious sympathies would have made him unwelcome in the House, where he was not to be seen again.3
Little else is known about Darrell. He was perhaps the recipient of an annuity of £10 from Queen Mary for services at Framlingham, but this may have been a namesake, a Kentish justice who in 1553 signed a letter calling upon the gentlemen of Sussex to support the Queen and who married a daughter of Robert Horne, the Elizabethan bishop of Winchester. Early in 1553 Darrell and a kinsman, a London merchant taylor, purchased Iwood Park and an iron mill at Newdigate, Surrey, from Henry, 6th Lord Bergavenny, whom Darrell’s cousin Elizabeth was later to marry: although he soon afterwards sold his interest in these works, in 1562 he obtained a licence to use local wood for fuel for his furnaces.4
Darrell made his will at Gray’s Inn on 10 Mar. 1566. It contains no indication of his religious views, but he gave 10s. each to the parish churches of St. Andrew, Holborn and Newdigate, Surrey. Each of his brothers and sisters received £5, and a brother Thomas and nephew Henry shared all his lands, leases and cattle; he appointed his brother Edward overseer. As he mentioned neither wife nor children Darrell may have been unmarried. In the following September his brother-in-law Barnaby Googe† sold a manor in Lincolnshire to him and Edmund Pelham. This is the last trace found of Darrell in his lifetime. His will was proved in 1567.5