WARD, Richard I (by 1511-78), of Hurst, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. by 1511, o. s. of Thomas Ward I of Winkfield by Maud, da. of Thomas More of Bourton, Bucks. educ. Eton c.1520-5; scholar, King’s, Camb. 1525. m. by 1539, Colubra (d.1574), da. of William Flambert or Lambert of Chertsey, Surr., 8s. 9da. (at least 2s. 4da. d.v.p.). suc. fa. July 1538.1
Clerk of the scullery by 1532, of the poultry by 1537, second clerk of the spicery by 1540, first clerk 1549-56; clerk of the green cloth by 1565; porter of the outer gate and keeper of the armoury, Windsor castle 1538-d.; bailiff, liberties of Bray and Cookham, Berks. 1540-64; commr. subsidy, New Windsor 1540, 1560, 1571, relief, Berks. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; other commissions 1543-d.; escheator, Oxon. and Berks. 1542-3; j.p. Berks. 1543-d., Wilts. 1574; cofferer, the Household ?Oct. 1558-1 Jan. 1559, 1567-d.; receiver, duchy of Lancaster, former lands of Furness abbey in Cumb., Lancs., Yorks. 1559.2
In November 1537 two offices held by Thomas Ward at Windsor castle, together with an annuity of £5, were granted in reversion to his son. Richard Ward appears to have been an only child and was probably unmarried when the father made his will on 20 July 1538, four days before his death. By that time Richard Ward had already spent several years in the royal household, and was poised for advancement.3
Ward was quick to consolidate his estates in Berkshire. His father had leased the manor of Hurst from Abingdon abbey in 1519 and on his death had been succeeded as tenant by Edmund Ashfield. On 7 May 1539 Richard Ward and his heirs were granted the manor of Hurst for a rent of £4 10s. as he, his wife and his mother-in-law had surrendered to the crown their manor of Stannards at Chobham, with other lands in Surrey. The estates of Abingdon abbey were now in the King’s hands but this exchange was resisted by Ashfield, who had secured the reversion of Thomas Ward’s lease from the last abbot in 1537; some four years after his father’s death, Ward brought a suit in Chancery against Ashfield for molestation. About 1547 he had to go to law again over Hurst, this time against Sir John Norris, who claimed some of the premises as his own freehold: this suit Ward brought in the court of requests on the grounds that his official duties prevented him from successfully invoking the common law and that since Norris was ‘so allied and friended in the said county of Berks.’ a fair trial was impossible there.4
Perhaps Ward first entered Parliament in 1539, when the Members for Windsor are not known, for his fellow-Member in 1542 was William Symonds, who had been his father’s colleague in 1529 and may himself have sat in 1539. There is nothing surprising in the election of Ward, who enjoyed the triple advantage of his parentage, his offices at the castle and his estates near the town; he probably sat again in 1545. Although he never held municipal office, the chamberlain of Windsor recorded on 15 Oct. 1539 that 6s.8d. had been ‘received of Master Ward for being brother of this hall’; no other royal servant who sat for the town is known to have enjoyed this distinction.5
What is remarkable is that six out of the eight Parliaments in which Ward is known to have sat (or eight out of nine if he did sit in 1545 when his experience of victualling the French campaign of the previous year would have made him an invaluable addition to the House) were consecutive and that they witnessed so many revolutionary changes. Although re-elected for Windsor in 1558 he was replaced six days before the assembly by William Hanley: the reason for this substitution is not known but it ended a monopoly of one of the town’s seats stretching back 16 years. When he was reelected in 1571 it was as one of the knights for Berkshire. Nothing has come to light about his part in the House before the accession of Elizabeth save that he was found to be absent without leave at the call early in January 1555. Informed against in the King’s bench for this dereliction in the following Easter term, he was distrained 69s.8d. for repeated non-appearance and fined 53s.4d. in Easter term 1558 when his sureties were two yeomen from his manor of Hurst.