HERCY, John (by 1499-1570), of Grove, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. by 1499, s. of Humphrey Hercy of Grove by Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Digby of Kettleby, Lincs. m. by 1521, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir John Stanley of Elford, Staffs. wid. of Sir James Lee of Aston, Staffs., s.p. suc. fa. 1521. Kntd. 22 Feb. 1547.2
Commr. subsidy, Notts. 1523, 1524, tenths of spiritualities 1535, musters 1539, 1569, chantries, Southwell 1546-8, Derbys., Notts. 1548, relief, Notts. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; j.p. Notts. 1526-47, q. 1558/59-d.; escheator, Notts. and Derbys. 1526-7, sheriff 1532-3, 1543-4, 1548-9.3
The Hercys of Grove traced their descent to Gilbert de Arches, baron of Grove under the Angevin Kings. The lordship of Grove inherited by John Hercy contained upwards of 1,500 acres and was valued at some £175: it was augmented by five manors and other smaller properties scattered throughout the shire.4
Hercy’s career in local government began shortly after his father’s death and, with an enforced break under Mary, ended only with his own. He was first nominated for the shrievalty of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in 1527. With Sir John Markham and other notables he organized the defence of Nottinghamshire during the rebellion of 1536 and afterwards he was one of the commission which dissolved Lenton priory and had its prior executed. In October 1538 he solicited Cromwell for a reward in the shape of the stewardship of Tickhill and Gainsborough, part of the duchy of Lancaster, but the office was to remain in the hands of Sir Arthur Darcy until it was granted in 1561 to Hercy’s nephew and associate William Mering.5
Cromwell may none the less have had a hand in Hercy’s election early in 1539 to the Parliament of that year. Hercy was both well qualified for the knighthood of the shire and well friended there, but the sheriff, Sir John Markham, could well have acted on instructions in returning Hercy and his senior colleague the young Gervase Clifton. Unless he was returned again in 1542, when the names of the Nottinghamshire knights are unknown, Hercy was to sit in only one more Parliament, the first of Mary’s reign. He was then to make proof of his Protestantism by being among those who ‘stood for the true religion’, a profession which doubtless helped to exclude him from the Commons for the rest of the reign as it clearly cost him his seat on the Nottinghamshire bench. With the accession of Elizabeth he could again support the crown’s ecclesiastical policy, as in 1564 the archbishop of York certified him as doing, but although restored to the commission and named to the quorum he did not reappear in Parliament, perhaps on the ground of his age: this was his excuse to the 2nd Earl of Rutland, with whose father he had served in Scotland in 1542, for not attending the musters in 1559, yet ten years later he was able to take them.