SAUNDERS, Robert (c.1514-59), of Flore, Northants.

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



Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. c.1514, 2nd surv. s. of Thomas Saunders of Sibbertoft by Margaret, da. of Richard Cave of Stanford; bro. of Edward. educ. ?M. Temple. m. (1) Margaret, da. and h. of Thomas Stanton of Stanton, Mon., 2s. 1da.; (2) by Oct. 1558, Joyce, da. of Sir John Goodwin of Upper Winchendon, Bucks. at least 1s.1

Offices Held

Jt. (with Francis Saunders) steward, Brackley in 1558.2


Robert Saunders must have been well under age in March 1528 when his father bequeathed him 100 marks and entrusted him to his mother for ‘convenient’ learning. He is therefore to be distinguished from the namesake who was in the service of Sir Thomas Lovell I in 1522 and from the entrant to the Middle Temple of 1518, although as this was his elder brother’s inn he may have gone there later. Saunders assisted his brothers-in-law John and Otwell Johnson in buying wool. By 1558 he was joint steward of the borough of Brackley with his first cousin Francis Saunders, and he frequently appears on the borough court rolls suing various local merchants for minor debts. His official standing doubtless explains his return to Parliament for the borough, even though his ties with the 3rd Earl of Derby, its patron, do not seem to have extended beyond his stewardship. His Membership of the Parliament of March 1553 may have been in conjunction with his cousin Francis, one of the two original representatives for Brackley in 1547, and was perhaps favoured by his brother Edward who on this occasion was returned for Saltash. Of Saunders’s part in the Commons all that is known is that he opposed the reintroduction of Catholicism in the Parliament of October 1553: this gesture of defiance to the Marian regime and his younger brother Lawrence’s Protestantism may have cost him his seat in the next three Parliaments of the reign, but it did not prevent him from supporting his kinsman Thomas Boughton’s election in 1555. When Saunders reappeared for Brackley in 1558 his fellow-Member was a relative, Drew Saunders, and the pair were joined in the House by one of his wife’s cousins Sir John Spencer as a knight for Northamptonshire. The sickness which induced Saunders to make his will on 3 Oct. 1558 perhaps kept him away from the second session which came to an end with Queen Mary’s death. Saunders recovered sufficiently to sit in the first Parliament of Elizabeth’s reign but died on 13 Nov. 1559, being buried at Flore. His widow married Anthony Carleton.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from reference to him in fa.’s will, PCC 31 Porch. Baker, Northants. i. 153, 293; Bridges, Northants. i. 509; Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 11, 57; B. Winchester, Tudor Fam. Portrait, 17.
  • 2. Northants. RO, Ellesmere mss box X 464.
  • 3. PCC 31 Porch, 27 Jankyn; LP Hen. VIII, add.; Northants. RO, Ellesmere mss box X 449; Bodl. e Museo 17; DNB (Saunders, Lawrence); Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 64; PCC 44 Mellershe; Bridges, i. 509.

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