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|1572||HENRY KNOLLYS I|
|9 Nov. 1584||ALEXANDER NEVILLE|
|6 Oct. 1586||MATHEW EWENS|
|JOHN AGMONDESHAM II|
|1 Oct. 1597||ANDREW ROGERS|
|16 Oct. 1601||HENRY MERE|
Christchurch, occasionally known by its name of Christchurch Twynham, was a mesne borough, which was granted by the Crown together with the manor in June 1554 to the 2nd Earl of Huntingdon and his wife. It was governed by a reeve (or mayor), two constables and a bailiff.
The first time that Christchurch returned Members to Parliament during this period was in 1571, presumably at the instigation of the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, who dominated elections there until his death in 1595. When in 1584 Sir Francis Walsingham attempted to secure a nomination at Christchurch, the mayor wrote to him that the Earl of Huntingdon ‘of ancient right ought to have’ the nomination of one of the burgesses. Christchurch was one of a number of boroughs whose credentials were challenged in the Commons. In 1584 return was made in the name of the mayor, burgesses and freeholders but in 1601 the mayor and burgesses alone are cited.
Andrew Rogers (1571) was the nephew of Mathew Ewens, legal counsel to the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon and himself MP for the borough in 1572, 1584 and 1586. John Hyett (1571) owed his return to an arrangement made by his father-in-law, Sir John Rogers, with the 3rd Earl. Henry Knollys I (1572) was related by marriage to Huntingdon, and Alexander Neville (1584), secretary to Whitgift, was brought in for the borough through the intervention of the Earl of Leicester, Huntingdon’s brother-in-law. Henry Ashley’s father was Huntingdon’s tenant. Sampson Lennard (1589) and John Agmondesham II (1593) were both brought in ill by the 3rd Earl. Justinian Champnoies (1589) and John (1589) and John Herbert (1593) probably owed their returns at Christchurch to the 3rd Earl through some common acquaintance at court.
After the 3rd Earl’s death in 1595, Christchurch was conveyed to a relative of the family and 1601 sold to Thomas Arundell, later 1st Lord Arundell of Wardour. Since the 3rd Earl’s successors as lord of the borough were not keen parliamentary patrons, Christchurch was open to outside influences in the last two Parliaments of the reign. The 3rd Viscount Howard of Bindon took advantage of this opportunity to secure the returns of Simon Willis in 1597 and 1601, and Henry Mere, whose identity is uncertain, in 1601. Andrew Rogers, who had represented Christchurch in the first Parliament of the reign, now was returned through his own local standing.
VCH Hants, v. 86-92;CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 208; CJ, i. 83.