Derby

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Elections

DateCandidate
1558/9RICHARD DOUGHTY 1
 WILLIAM BAINBRIDGE 2
1562/3WILLIAM MORE II
 WILLIAM BAINBRIDGE
1571ROBERT STRINGER
 ROBERT BAINBRIDGE
1572ROBERT STRINGER
 TRISTRAM TYRWHITT
1576ROBERT BAINBRIDGE 3 vice Tyrwhitt, expelled the House
1584HENRY BEAUMONT I 4
 WILLIAM BOTHAM 5
22 Sept. 1586WILLIAM BOTHAM
 ROBERT BAINBRIDGE
1588/9RICHARD FLETCHER II
 WILLIAM BOTHAM
1593ROBERT STRINGER
 WILLIAM BOTHAM
1597HENRY DUPORT 6
 ROBERT STRINGER 7
1 Oct. 1601PETER EURE
 JOHN BAXTER

Main Article

Little is known about the government of Derby before James I’s charter of 1612 By the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign, however, there were certainly two bailiffs, a recorder and chamberlain. The office of steward has not been found before the 1590s, but the absence of local records makes it impossible to say when it first appeared. Members of Parliament were chosen by the freemen and, judging by the surviving returns for the Elizabethan period, the bailiffs acted as returning officers.

For the most part Derby retained a strong degree of independence in its choice of Members. There are indications, however, that the 6th and 7th Earls of Shrewsbury, the most prominent men in the county, enjoyed some influence in the borough. The 7th Earl, high steward by 1611, was the man to whom the town turned in a moment of crisis in 1591, but Shrewsbury influence on actual elections appears to have been slight. It seems likely that three men only—Tristram Tyrwhitt, Henry Beaumont I and Peter Eure—owed their nomination, directly or indirectly, to Shrewsbury support.

Townsmen were returned to the first three Parliaments of the reign. William Bainbridge and William More II had both previously sat in Marian Parliaments. Robert Bainbridge (1571), son of William Bainbridge, was also returned at a by-election in 1576 and in 1586. His fellow MP in 1571, Robert Stringer, was also returned in 1572 1593 and 1597. The first indication of outside influence occurs in 1572 when Tristram Tyrwhitt, a Lincolnshire gentleman, was elected. While there is no clear reason for his return for Derby, Tyrwhitt, a follower of the and Earl of Rutland, may have been nominated by the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, who had married Gertrude Manners, Rutland’s aunt. The families of Talbot and Manners had many any close ties in the Elizabethan period. Tyrwhitt was expelled from the House for a serious offence before the 1576 session and was replaced by Robert Bainbridge.

Henry Beaumont I (1584) was a London lawyer who had recently acquired an estate two miles from Derby: his return for that borough was probably due to his brother’s patron, the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. His colleague, William Botham, a townsman, sat in four consecutive Parliaments. In 1586, 1589 and 1593, Botham’s fellow MPs were all townsmen. Henry Dupont (1597), a lawyer, was recorder of Derby by 1603, if not at the time of his election. Peter Eure (1601), a Lincolnshire lawyer and country gentleman, had no known connexions with Derby; his most likely patron there was the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, for whom he may have done legal work. The other 1601 member, John Baxter, was in all probability the man of that name who had been steward of the borough since 1599, but the rest of his career is obscure.8

Author: M.R.P.

Notes

  • 1. E371/402(1).
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. C193/32/9.
  • 4. Add. 38823; Browne Willis.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Folger V. b. 298.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. Weinbaum, Charters, 21; Hutton, Derby, 70, 76-77, 102; Glover, Derbys. (1836), ii(1), pp. 379, 434; I. H. Jeayes, Derbys. Charters, 124; C193/32/9; C219/30/16; 34/23; HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot, ii. 165; Simpson, Coll. Fragments Illus. Hist. Derby, 93-94; E179/93/297.

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