SAUNDERS, Nicholas (c.1530-87), of Ewell, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1530, 1st s. of William Saunders of Ewell by 1st w. Jane, da. and coh. of William Marston. educ. I. Temple, adm. Nov. 1556. m. (1) 1560, Isabel, da. of Nicholas Carew of Beddington, 3s. inc. Nicholas 3da.; (2) Margaret, da. of Nicholas Bostock of Newington, wid. of Richard Blount of London and Williton, Som. and Jasper Fisher (d.1579) of London. suc. fa. 1570/71.1

Offices Held


The Nicholas Saunders returned for Bletchingley to Mary’s second Parliament was almost certainly not the Catholic controversialist, then a civilian at Oxford, but his kinsman from the Ewell branch of the family. A man in his twenties at the time of the election and with his entry to the Inner Temple still to come, this Nicholas Saunders could have looked for a nomination both to his father, a knight for Surrey in three Marian Parliaments, and to his cousin (Sir) Thomas Saunders, sheriff on the occasion. The seat at Bletchingley doubtless became available through the temporary eclipse of (Sir) Thomas Cawarden, who usually controlled the borough, following his suspected complicity in Wyatt’s rebellion. William Saunders took a leading part in sequestering Cawarden’s armoury and was also at odds with him over the incumbent of Bletchingley, where Saunders held the manor of Pendell: to see his son returned for the borough must have been as satisfying to Saunders as it was galling to Cawarden.2

The Catholicism which made the younger Saunders acceptable to the Marian regime was to become a liability under Elizabeth, excluding him from public life and costing him and his brother Erasmus a spell in the Fleet prison in 1578. The month and the day are omitted from the will which Saunders made in 1587; it was proved on 18 Jan. 1588. Among family bequests he gave substantial marriage portions to each of his three daughters on condition that they married with the ‘consent and liking’ of the executor, his son Nicholas. ‘The poor ancient householders of Ewell and Epsom’ were left 40s. a year and 100 quarters of corn for five years after his death, but he made no bequest to any local church, although the vicar of Malden was to have £1. Saunders’s recusancy gives point to his choice of Burghley as an overseer; the other was his brother-in-law Sir Francis Carew. Saunders also commended his heir to Burghley’s favour, perhaps with the result that Nicholas Saunders changed his religion.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. R. Johnson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from his parents’ marriage, the birth of their fourth child in 1535 and Saunders’s Membership. Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 69; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 459.
  • 2. DNB (Sanders, Nicholas); Loseley Mss, ed. Kempe, 140-4; HMC 7th Rep. 608, 610; Surr. Arch. Colls. liv. 83.
  • 3. Surr. Arch. Colls. liv. 94-96; PCC 7 Rutland.