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|1558/9||RICHARD ONSLOW 1|
|RICHARD ASSHETON 2|
|18 Apr. 1572||RICHARD BUNNY II|
|1584||WILLIAM WAAD 3|
|ROBERT WATERHOUSE 4|
|1588/9||THOMAS FAIRFAX I|
|11 Sept. 1597||HENRY BELLASIS|
|10 Oct. 1601||SIR EDWARD CECIL|
William Lambarde, the 1563 MP for Aldborough, said of the borough that it was ‘notable for no other thing than that it sendeth Members to the Parliament’. Aldborough was a duchy of Lancaster borough and election precepts were sent by the sheriff to a bailiff appointed by the duchy. The right to vote at parliamentary elections was vested in the owners of certain specified burgage tenements. The three surviving Elizabethan returns each contains the names of between six and eight burgesses. In 1572 the names of both Aldborough MPs were inserted in a ‘blank’ return, and interestingly, each name was inserted in a different hand. The 1601 return shows that the name of one of the MPs was added in a different hand from that of the remainder of the document.
The chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster was an obvious patron at Aldborough. Both 1559 MPs owed their returns to Sir Ambrose Cave: Richard Onslow was a personal friend, and Richard Assheton was duchy receiver in the north counties. Sir Ralph Sadler returned his son-in-law George Horsey, also a duchy receiver, in 1586, and in 1601 the acting chancellor (Sir) John Fortescue I returned his servant Richard Theakston. Richard Bunny II, a Yorkshire country gentleman, was probably a duchy nominee in 1572, since the election roughly coincided with his appointment to the duchy office of feodary of Pontefract. It seems reasonable to suppose that William Waad, the diplomat, was also a duchy nominee in 1584, since he was to represent two more duchy boroughs in later Parliaments.
The duchy of Lancaster was far from being the sole patron at Aldborough however. An equally important factor in the borough’s elections was the presence of the council in the north only a few miles away at York. Four Aldborough MPs were outsiders who owed their elections solely to personal connexions with members of the council: Anthony Tailboyes (1563), a Durham ecclesiastical lawyer and friend of the 2nd Lord Eure, a member of the council; Barnaby Googe (1571), a gentleman pensioner, no doubt returned by the captain of the gentleman pensioners and lord president of the council, Sir Thomas Radcliffe†, 3rd Earl of Sussex; Andrew Fisher (1593), a relative of another member of the council, the 3rd Earl of Cumberland; and Sir Edward Cecil (1601), the son of the lord president. One MP, Ralph Hurleston (1586), owed his election to his membership of the council. Formerly a London lawyer, by the time of his election he had been resident in York for four years in consequence of his legal appointment with the council. He may therefore have been sufficiently well known locally not to have needed the sponsorship of a member of the council.
With two exceptions, the remaining MPs were from Yorkshire gentry families who had local standing as well as connexions with the council in the north to recommend them for seats at Aldborough. Into this category come Thomas Eynns of Heslington (1571), secretary to the council; Richard Tempest of Bowling (1572), a marriage relative of the vice-president, Sir Thomas Gargrave; Thomas Fairfax I of Denton and Nun Appleton (1589), whose father was a member of the council and who was later to be a member himself, and Henry Bellasis of Newborough (1597), Fairfax’s son-in-law. Richard Gargrave of Kinsley (1597) was the grandson of the former above-mentioned vice-president of the council. Gargrave‘s marriage relations, Robert and David Waterhouse (1584, 1589 respectively), also depended on the Gargrave family’s local influence and long-standing connexion with the council for their returns at Aldborough.
The remaining MPs, William Lambarde, with whom this account began, and Edward Hancock, were obviously reliant on court connexions for their seats at Aldborough.5