MICHELL, John II (d.1555), of Stammerham, Suss.
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Family and Education
Commr. relief, Suss. 1550.2
John Michell belonged to a cadet branch of a gentle family long established in Sussex. Although his great-grandfather remembered most of his descendants, including Michell’s parents, in his will of 1520, Michell himself had no provision made for him and was thus presumably under age on succeeding to his patrimony, his wardship and the custody of his lands evidently being acquired by Thomas Shirley. He did not rise to local prominence until the late 1540s: in the earlier part of the decade his kinsman and namesake of Cuckfield was distinguished from him as ‘the elder’. In 1549 Michell bought some former chantry property and four years later the New Park in Beeding (recently forfeited by the 3rd Duke of Norfolk) from his brother-in-law Edward Lewknor. His title to the New Park was questioned by the 4th Duke, who took him to Chancery for wrongful possession and spoiling the woodlands: the outcome of this case is not known, but it was probably brought to a close by Michell’s death.3
Michell’s home was in the parish of Horsham, and presumably he could rely on his own influence there to secure election to Parliament in the autumn of 1553, as he may have done on behalf of his brother-in-law Edward Lewknor in the previous spring. The borough had then been in the hands of the crown, but its former owner the Duke of Norfolk was restored to favour at Mary’s accession and the Michells’ tradition of service to the Howards would have told in his favour, as would their friendship with John Caryll, one of the knights of the shire on this occasion. Several of Michell’s relatives were Catholic and he did not oppose the first steps towards reunion with Rome,