LYTTELTON, John (1519-90), of Frankley, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. 28 Oct. 1519, 1st s. of John Lyttelton of Frankley by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Gilbert Talbot of Grafton. m. by 1539, Bridget, da. of John Pakington of Hampton Lovett, 7s. inc. George† and Gilbert† 4da. suc. fa. 15 May 1532. Kntd. 21 Aug. 1565.1
J.p. Worcs. 1547, q. 1554, 1561-d., Rad. 1579-d.; commr. relief, Worcs. 1550; keeper, Dudley castle, Staffs. 6 Sept. 1553; sheriff, Worcs. 1557-8, 1566-7, 1572-3; member, council in the marches of Wales 1574; custos rot. and dep. lt. Worcs. by 1577.2
John Lyttelton was a great-grandson of Sir Thomas Littleton, the judge and author of the treatise on tenures. His father died young, having settled in tail male the manors of Cowsden and Frankley, and property in Droitwich and Halesowen in Worcestershire and Cressage in Shropshire; Lyttelton had livery of these in 1541, and in the following year he added to them his share of the inheritance of his grandfather Sir Gilbert Talbot. From 1551 he was to acquire further property including the site of the house of Augustinian friars in Droitwich, the manor of Clent, Staffordshire, and lands of Halesowen abbey in Shropshire and Worcestershire, but between 1563 and 1566 he parted with most of his lands in Shropshire.3
In 1544 Lyttelton was among the Worcestershire gentlemen mustered for the army against France and in 1551 and 1552 he was nominated for the shrievalty but not pricked. His record in shire administration, in which he served without intermission for more than 40 years, shows that he was ready to support each regime in turn: it was at least ostensibly for service to Mary that in September 1553 he received a grant of the keepership of Dudley castle. Yet Lyttelton’s religious sympathies were Protestant. In the first Marian Parliament he and his fellow-knight (Sir) Thomas Russell were both noted as having ‘stood for the true religion’ against the initial measures to restore Catholicism—the only other pair of knights to do so being those of Somerset—and in 1564 both were to be adjudged ‘favourers of true religion’. Whether religious considerations had entered into their election is unknown, but neither was to sit again under Mary.4
Lyttelton was a sick man when he made his will on 11 Jan. 1590 and he died on the following 15 Feb. After a long religious preamble, he asked to be buried in Halesowen church, the funeral to be suitable to his degree and calling but without pomp. He left a third of all his unentailed lands to his heir Gilbert, then aged 50 and more; the entailed property included salt-pans in Droitwich and the manor and borough of Halesowen. He left £800 to his daughter Amphillis, payable in the two years following his death, and his lease of a house in Worcester to his cousin George Lyttelton. The will was proved on 8 May 1590 by Lyttelton’s son Gilbert and cousin Humphrey Pakington.