HUSSEY, Anthony (1496/97-1560), of London.

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

Constituency

Dates

Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. 1496/97, s. of John Hussey of Slinfold, Suss. educ.?Oxf. m. by 1526, Catherine, da. of John Webbe of Dedham, Essex, 3s. 1da.1

Offices Held

Notary public, London diocese by 1525; judge of admiralty ct. by 1539; chief registrar to abp. of Canterbury by 1539; proctor of the Arches by 1542; registrar to dean of St. Paul’s by 1546; gov. Merchant Adventurers by 1555-d., Russia Co. ?1557- d.; master in Chancery by 1557-d.2

Biography

According to an inscription on his tomb in St. Martin’s Ludgate, Anthony Hussey was born in London. Nothing certain has come to light about his education: his son Lawrence was to take a doctorate at Bologna, but if Hussey himself studied abroad he did not proceed so far. He was never styled doctor as were most of the admiralty judges.3

Hussey is first found as a notary at the dissolution of some small monasteries in 1525. His rapid distinction in his profession is suggested by his indictment during Michaelmas term 1530 of praemunire for abetting Wolsey’s legateship; he was the sixteenth and last of those charged and all his companions were clerics, eight of them bishops. Proceedings continued in the King’s bench until Easter term 1531 when the accused were able to plead the general pardon of that year. In 1533, with a group of London merchants, he was granted the next presentation to the rectory of Bradninch in Devon. At the proceedings of 1540 in the chapter house at Westminster to nullify the Cleves marriage it was Hussey who read out the King’s commission, attended the taking of depositions and signed the final judgment; he also drew up the letters by which the Queen submitted. He was by then already deputizing for John Tregonwell in the admiralty court, and his patent as one of its judges was issued later in the year, to be followed shortly afterwards by his appointment as proctor of the Arches. His range of activities included the examination of heretics in Kent, the supply of money and news to Nicholas Wotton during his embassy to Charles V, and the dispatch of a small fleet to Boulogne in the summer of 1545: during the last operation he was summoned before the Council to answer to ‘a contempt’ committed by him at the Admiralty, but his conduct was upheld by the admiral, John Dudley, Viscount Lisle.4

At the beginning of Edward VI’s reign the Protector Somerset accused Hussey of injustice and slackness, and when Admiral Seymour rebutted the charges the Protector warned Hussey to ‘proceed uprightly ... as otherwise it will be sought at his hand’. One of the issues was probably a sentence given by Dr. Griffin Leyson, which in the same month Hussey and three other judges were charged to investigate; in 1552 Leyson was to rule against Hussey and others as owners of the Anthony, carrying sugar from Antwerp to London, for negligence leading to loss of cargo. It is not known where Hussey stood in the political and religious conflicts of the reign, but he evidently did nothing to compromise himself with Mary, under whom his career reached its peak. To his posts in civil law and ecclesiastical administration there were added the governorships of trading companies and, for a time, the royal agency at Antwerp. Such versatility was calculated to make Hussey a valuable recruit to the Commons and it is surprising that he sat in only the first and last of Mary’s Parliaments. On both occasions he sat for boroughs controlled by the dukes of Norfolk and theirs may have been the decisive influence at wory—it was to the 3rd Duke that Hussey had owed his original appointment in the Admiralty; but his own Sussex origin and connexions in the county, notably with his cousin Sir Henry Hussey, who had sat previously for both Horsham and Shoreham, must have played their part. Unlike his cousin, Anthony Hussey was not among those who in the Parliament of October 1553 ‘stood for the true religion’ against the initial measures to restore Catholicism; of his part in the proceedings of 1559 nothing is known.