RITHE, George (by 1523-61), of Lincoln's Inn, London and Liss, nr. Petersfield, Hants.
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Family and Education
b. by 1523, s. of Marlyon Rithe of Totford, Hants; bro. or half-bro. of Christopher Rithe. educ. L. Inn, adm. 25 Feb. 1537. m. c.1542, Elizabeth, da. of John Gedney of Bag Enderby, Lincs., wid. of Thomas Rigges of Cumberworth, Lincs., 2s. inc. Robert†.1
Autumn reader, L. Inn 1556, keeper of black book 1556-7, treasurer 1558-9, gov. 1560-1.
J.p. Hants 1547-d., Wilts. 1558/59-d.; escheator. Hants and Wilts. 1549-50; commr. relief, Hants 1550.2
George Rithe came of a Hampshire family which probably also gave rise to the line of heralds and thus to Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, whose negotiations for the purchase of Beaulieu abbey in 1537-8 were conducted through a ‘Mr. Rythe’, presumably one of the family. The Christian name Marlyon, borne by George Rithe’s father and handed down to his nephew who sat in an Elizabethan Parliament, had originated with his grandmother Malyne or Malene. Both his grandfather and father were of Totford in Northington, near Winchester, and had lands at Petersfield and elsewhere in Hampshire.3
George and Christopher Rithe, who were almost certainly brothers or half-brothers, both became lawyers. In 1545-6 George Rithe made two large purchases of monastic land, the first for over £600 with the Middle Templar John Pollard and the second for nearly £1,600 with a fellow member of Lincoln’s Inn Thomas Grantham: both transactions included many scattered items intended for resale—licences to dispose of some of them were to be granted soon afterwards—but Rithe retained lands at Liss, near Petersfield. The standing which they gave him was recognized by his appointment to the Hampshire bench in 1547 and doubtless accounts for his election with Sir Anthony Browne to the first Marian Parliament for Petersfield. He probably owed his return to the preceding Parliament for Bramber to Browne as sheriff of Surrey and Sussex, perhaps by way of a bargain whereby Rithe stood down at Petersfield in Browne’s favour. His religion made him a more conformable Member then than it did six months later, when he was one of those who ‘stood for the true religion’ against the initial measures for the restoration of Catholicism. He was not to sit again under Mary, although Christopher Rithe did so for Petersfield in the Queen’s last two Parliaments.4
Religion may have entered into some of the quarrels which brought Rithe into the court. Soon after he was made a justice of the peace he and his fellow justice John Norton complained in the Star Chamber of each other’s conduct at the sessions; they were members of the same inn, but as a follower of the imprisoned Stephen Gardiner Norton was unlikely to see eye to eye with the Protestant-inclined Rithe. Another Catholic opponent was Edmund Ford, who accused Rithe of fomenting trouble against him by abetting his brother Thomas Rithe to sue Ford in Chancery and one of Ford’s tenants to do the same in the court of requests. There was presumably no religious element in the series of cases which Rithe contested on behalf of his wife when she was accused of having forged her first husband’s will.5
The pious will which Rithe made on 20 Aug. 1557 was perhaps prompted by fear of the current epidemic. He survived it by some four years, probate being granted on 18 Nov. 1561.6
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Patricia Hyde
- 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 197; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 396; St.Ch.4/1/13; CPR, 1548-9, p. 160; PCC 35 Loftes.
- 2. CPR, 1547-8, p. 84; 1553, p. 358; 1553-4, p. 19.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xiii, add.; VCH Hants, iii. 394-6; information from A. C. Cole.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 98, 335, 361; Bodl. e Museo 17.
- 5. St.Ch.3/1/76, 4/89, 9/35; 4/1/13, 3/76; C1/1351/35, 1428/35, 1466/74; Req.2/21/22, 23/98.
- 6. PCC 35 Loftes; Black Bk. L. Inn, i. 331-3.