TYRWHITT, Sir Robert II (c.1510-81), of Kettleby, Lincs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1510, 1st s. of Sir William Tyrwhitt (d. 19 Mar. 1541) of Scotter by Isabel, da. of William Girlington of Normanby; bro. of Marmaduke and Tristram†. m. by 1531, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir Thomas Oxenbridge of Etchingham, Suss., 9s. inc. William 13da. suc. gdfa. 4 July 1548. Kntd. by 16 Feb. 1553.2
J.P. Lincs. (Lindsey) 1547-?d.; commr. relief, Lincs. (Lindsey) and Lincoln 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Lincs. (Lindsey) 1553, subsidy 1563; other commissions 1547-78; jt. (with Sir Edward Dymoke and Sir William Willoughby, Baron Willoughby of Parham) ld. lt. Lincs. May 1559; sheriff 1559-60.3
According to his grandfather’s inquisition Robert Tyrwhitt was aged 22 years and more in July 1548, but since his eldest son William was of age by 1552 this must have been a conventional underestimate; his family chronology also suggests that he was born a good deal earlier, probably about 1510. It was under the tutelage of his uncle Sir Robert Tyrwhitt I that he spent part of his youth as a henchman at court. He did not follow his uncle in making a career there but confined himself to the affairs of his county and the management of the lands which he inherited from his grandfather and those, said to be worth £140 a year, brought by the Sussex heiress whom he married. He does not appear to have fought in the wars of the 1540s and his knighthood, the date of which is unknown, was probably conferred to gratify his uncle. His three elections as knight of the shire within a five-year period attest his own and his family’s standing, and it may have been only his comparative youth which excluded him from the first place. As a lifelong Catholic he must have found the second Edwardian Parliament less congenial than either of his two Marian ones, and he was not to sit in any of Elizabeth’s. He did, however, intervene in the election of 1559 at Grimsby, where he asked for one nomination to be given to the 9th Lord Clinton and dissuaded his brother Marmaduke from seeking a seat.4
Under Elizabeth, although adjudged a ‘hinderer of the true religion’, Tyrwhitt was retained on the bench at least until 1579. Whether it was he or his uncle who led 237 followers against the northern rebels of 1569 is not known. It was only towards the end of his life that he and his children were harried for their recusancy. He himself had a spell in the Fleet, where in September 1580 he was allowed his wife’s company and access to the gardens for his health, and when he died on 16 Nov. 1581 two of his sons were released from prison to attend the funeral. Yet the will which he made five days before his death shows that recusancy had not impoverished him. Of his numerous children five younger sons received annuities of £40, a married daughter £30 and two unmarried ones £800 each; his grandsons Marmaduke Constable and Richard Fitzwilliam had £100 each and his various granddaughters £266 13s.4d. between them, a niece £40, a godson 40 marks and two other young kinsmen smaller sums. The residuary legatees were Tyrwhitt’s wife and grandson Robert Tyrwhitt; the executors his wife, his sons-in-law Philip Constable and William Fitzwilliam, and his cousin John Monson; and the supervisors Lord Burghley and the 3rd Earl of Rutland. Tyrwhitt was buried at Bigby, Lincolnshire, in a tomb of white alabaster surmounted by busts of himself and his wife.5