LANE, Ralph (c.1532-1603), of London.

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. c.1532, 2nd s. of Sir Ralph Lane of Orlingbury, Northants. by Maud, da. and coh. of Sir William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton; bro. of Robertand William. educ. M. Temple, adm. 3 Dec. 1554. unm. Kntd. 1593.1

Offices Held

Equerry of the stable by 1568; commr. piracy 1571, fortifications [I] 1583; gov. Kerry 1584, Virginia 1585-6; capt. Southsea castle, Hants 1588; muster master or clerk of the check [I] 1592.2


Ralph Lane is remembered for his career under Elizabeth, when he took part in the voyages to the New World and was for a time governor of Virginia, later served with Drake and finally became a leading official in Ireland.

Lane was in his twenties, and perhaps still a member of the Middle Temple, when he was returned for Higham Ferrers to Mary’s last Parliament. He was its first Member, for the borough had been given its single seat in Parliament by a charter of March 1556, and the choice of so young and untried a man is somewhat surprising. Lane’s principal attraction is likely to have been his domicile in London, which would spare the borough the ‘charges and costs’ provided for in the charter, but there would have been no lack of similarly inexpensive candidates. As a duchy of Lancaster borough Higham Ferrers might have been expected to return a duchy nominee. Lane had no known connexion with the successive chancellors at this time, Sir Robert Rochester and Sir Edward Waldegrave, but he was related by marriage to the chief duchy official on the spot, the steward and receiver Sir Robert Tyrwhitt I, and his other relatives the Throckmortons were not without standing there: John Throckmorton had been bailiff from 1535 until 1554, and since 1553 Sir Nicholas Throckmorton had held the reversion of the stewardship. It was with Sir Nicholas Throckmorton that Lane’s elder brother Robert had been a knight of the shire in the Parliament of March 1553, and although Throckmorton was under a cloud in 1558 his local influence was still strong. It was to these and his other impressive connexions as a grandson of the 1st Baron Parr and cousin of a Queen and a marquess that Lane probably owed his election in 1558 and in 1563. He died in October 1603 and was buried in St. Patrick’s, Dublin.

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from elder brother’s, and from election to Parliament. Bridges, Northants. ii. 118; DNB.
  • 2. CPR, 1566-9, p. 213; B. Dietz, ‘Privateering in N.W. European waters 1568-72’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1959), 340-1; CSP Ire. 1574-85, pp. 423, 497, 551; 1588-92, p. 455; CSP Col. 1574-1660, p. 2; APC, xv. 296; xvi. 254, 273, 277; xviii. 54; xxi. 276.