PORTER, Arthur (by 1505-59), of Newent and Alvington, Glos.
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Family and Education
b. by 1505, 1st or o. surv. s. of Roger Porter of Newent by Margaret, da. of John Arthur of Clapton-in-Gordano, Som. educ. L. Inn, adm. 14 Feb. 1524. m. (1) by Feb. 1524, Alice, da. of John Arnold of Churcham, Glos., at least 12ch. inc. Sir Thomas†; (2) Isabel, da. of Sir William Denys of Dyrham, Glos. by Anne, da. of Maurice, de jure 3rd Lord Berkeley, wid. of Sir John Berkeley (d.c.1548) of Stoke, Som., s.p. suc. fa. 1523.1
Escheator, Glos. and Welsh marches 1526-7; feodary, duchy of Lancaster, Glos. and Herefs. 1529-30, 1559; j.p. Glos. 1537-47, q. 1554-d.; commr. musters 1542, chantries 1548, relief 1550; sheriff 1548-9.2
The Porter family, originally from Somerset, was settled in Newent, Gloucestershire, by the mid 15th century. Arthur Porter’s legal training was influenced by his marriage into the Arnold family. It was as son-in-law to John Arnold, prothonotary and clerk of the crown in Wales, that he was admitted with Arnold’s son Nicholas to Lincoln’s Inn to use Arnold’s chamber there.3
Porter may have practised as a lawyer but little is known of his activities apart from his connexion with the duchy of Lancaster and work on the local bench. He was called the King’s servant when appointed receiver of the lands of Llanthony priory by Gloucester in 1539 and also in 1542. He attended the reception of Anne of Cleves in 1539 and served in the army against France in 1544. He was to be appointed an executor of the will of Sir John Brydges in 1556.4
Porter’s lands lay a few miles south of Gloucester and also north-west of the city at Newent. He does not appear always to have resided at his family seat; two of his children were buried in 1538 at Quedgeley, where he is credited with the rebuilding of the manor house, and six others later at Hempstead. His receivership of monastic lands in 1539 led to his grant a year later of the site and lands of Llanthony priory and also the chief messuage of the manor of Alvington, which he made one of his two chief residences. In 1544 he acquired Pitchcombe manor in Painswick. During the summer of 1547 Porter was named as one who had not compounded for knighthood. His local status was such that, although he served as sheriff only once, he was put forward for that office in 1545, 1547, and 1552.5
By his second marriage Porter strengthened his relationship with Sir Nicholas Arnold, his new wife being Arnold’s sister-in-law; she also brought him a connexion with the Berkeley family. These two affiliations may have influenced his election for Mary’s third Parliament, when his fellow-knight, William Rede I, was also related to the Arnolds. In the following Parliament Porter found a seat at Gloucester where he had a joint interest in 25 houses. His election on 1 Oct. 1555 was, however, not easily secured; the recorder, Sir John Pollard, who had earlier in his term of office been returned for Oxfordshire, had apparently been defeated there, after which he probably approached the corporation to have the recorder’s place in the Parliament. As a pillar of the regime Pollard was an unpopular figure with many in the city and its locality; the mayor of Gloucester lost control of the election, and Pollard was forced to seek a seat elsewhere. Porter and his fellow-Member William Massinger, voted against a government bill when Sir Anthony Kingston closed the door of the House against Pollard’s wish.