VERNON, George (by 1518-65), of Haddon, Derbys.
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Family and Education
b. by 1518, 1st s. of Richard Vernon of Haddon, by Margaret, da. of Sir Robert Dymoke of Scrivelsby, Lincs. educ. Magdalen, Oxf.; G. Inn, adm. 1537. m. (1) Margaret, da. of Sir George Tailboys, de jure 9th Lord Kyme, wid. of Philip Bullock; (2) Maud, da. of Sir Ralph Longford of Longford, Derbys., 2da. suc. fa. Aug. 1517. KB 20 Feb. 1547.1
J.p. Derbys. 1539-d.; commr. musters 1539, array 1546, chantries 1546, relief 1550.2
The Vernon family was established at Haddon by the 14th century and its members were to attain prominence both locally and at court during the 15th. Following the early death of his father George Vernon’s wardship, and the custody of his lands in Westmorland, were granted in April 1522 to Wolsey, Sir William Tyrwhitt, Lady (Elizabeth) Tailboys and her son Gilbert, and he was married to one of the Tailboys daughters; but it was his uncle Sir John Vernon who administered the bulk of his inheritance and advised him during his early years ‘in all his causes and his great affairs’. After Oxford and a spell at Grays Inn, Vernon followed his uncle, then serving as a councillor in the marches, and remained in the elder man’s service until his death early in 1545.3
It was during these years that Vernon had his only experience of the Commons. In possession since 1536 of wide lands centred on Nether Haddon and Bakewell in the hundred of High Peak, and a justice of the peace of more than three years’ standing, he could expect to follow those of his forbears who had sat for the shire; the name of his fellow-knight is lost. Made a knight at Edward VI’s coronation, Vernon was one of those claimed by Sir William Paget to have been included in the first, but not the second, list of those whom Henry VIII had intended to create barons. In the event he was never even raised to the quorum of the commission or pricked sheriff; the fact that he was nominated for the office nine times between 1543 and 1552 implies that he was persona non grata, although on what ground it is impossible to say. He was one of the three Derbyshire gentlemen who refused to comply with Mary’s demand for a forced loan of £100 in 1557, and although the receiver, Sir John Porte, solicited the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury’s help, it is unknown whether or not they ultimately contributed. In 1564 Bishop Bentham, an ardent reformer, rated Vernon ‘a great justice [in] religion as in all other things’, but he died before he could be transferred to the quorum. Renowned ‘for his magnificence ... for his kind reception of all good men, and his hospitality’, he was dubbed the ‘King of the Peak’.4
The last of his line, Vernon probably suffered from ill-health for several years before his death on 31 Aug. 1565. His heirs were his two daughters, Margaret, the wife of Sir Thomas Stanley, and the celebrated Dorothy, who had married John Manners†. By his will of 18 Aug. 1565 he bequeathed six Derbyshire manors and two in Staffordshire to his wife for life. His executors were to take the profits of his manor of Kibblestone, in Staffordshire, and two Cheshire manors for 16 years after his decease to pay his debts, funeral expenses and the fulfilment of his will, which included among numerous bequests the provision of one gold chain worth £20 to his godson, Gilbert Talbot†, the future Earl of Shrewsbury, ‘as a remembrance of my good will towards him’. His wife, his son-in-law John Manners, his brother-in-law Nicholas Longford and his ‘loving neighbours and faithful friends’ Thomas Sutton and Richard Wennesley† were each to receive £20 for their services as executors, while his ‘right worshipful friends’