STOURTON, William (by 1529-90), of Worminster, Som. and Marsh, nr. Sherborne, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b. by 1529, 4th s. of William Stourton, 7th Baron Stourton, by Elizabeth, da. of Edmund Dudley of Atherington, Suss.; bro. of Arthur. m. (1) by 1550, Thomasin, da. of Sir John Fitzjames of Redlynch, Som., s.p.; (2) Mary, da. and coh. of John Wogan of Silvinch, Som., wid. of Robert Morgan of Mapperton, nr. Beaminster, Dorset, s.p.1
Servant of Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley by 1549; steward, manor of Maiden Bradley, Wilts. by 1556.2
William Stourton’s career began in the service of the Protector Somerset’s ambitious younger brother Baron Seymour of Sudeley, and on his master’s execution he was recommended by John Berwick and Sir Hugh Paulet to the Protector’s service. Whether this advice was followed is not known, but in 1550 Stourton purchased a manor in west Dorset from two men close to Somerset, Lawrence Hyde and Sir John Thynne. Little trace has been found of his activities until after Mary’s accession when he sued out a general pardon, although he is not known to have sympathised with his uncle the Duke of Northumberland or, apart from his lease of Portland, to have benefited from that kinship. He was returned to the fourth Parliament of Mary’s reign as the senior Member for a Cornish borough where he had no personal links and where his name was inserted on the indenture in a different hand; presumably he was encouraged by his elder brother, the 8th Baron Stourton, but it was probably to the sheriff of Cornwall, his distant kinsman Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, that he owed his seat. A ‘Mr. Sturton’ joined the opposition to a government bill in this Parliament, but since many of the Members concerned were of Protestant inclination as well as of west-country origin, whereas Stourton was to remain a Catholic, this is more likely to have been his brother Arthur. The opprobrium incurred by the family following the execution of the 8th Baron for murder in 1557 may have debarred Stourton from election to Mary’s last Parliament and under Elizabeth his Catholicism was an even greater impediment.3
In 1559 Stourton sued out a general pardon and for the next 20 years he led an uneventful life in the south-west. His last years were troubled by suspicion of ‘his disobedience in matter of religion’ but he was still at liberty when he made his will on 12 Mar. 1590. After providing for his wife, he left a silver basin and ewer valued at £40 to his nephew, the 9th Baron Stourton, and various items of household stuff to his stepsons William and Christopher Morgan. He named his wife executrix and Thomas Chaffyn, John Fitzjames† and Christopher Morgan overseers. He died within a few hours of signing the will and was buried at nearby Folke.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: J. J. Goring
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first land transaction. Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 158; Vis. Som. ed. Weaver, 106; HMC Wells, ii. 251, 270; Charles, Lord Mowbray, Noble House of Stourton, 321.