Northumberland

County

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

Elections

DateCandidate
1558/9SIR THOMAS GREY I 1
 CUTHBERT HORSLEY 2
1562/3JOHN VAUGHAN I
 ROBERT LAWSON 3
1571SIR HENRY PERCY
 SIR WILLIAM HILTON
26 Apr. 1572SIR FRANCIS RUSSELL
 THOMAS LAYTON I
1584SIR FRANCIS RUSSELL 4
 EDWARD TALBOT 5
1586SIR THOMAS GREY II
 EDWARD TALBOT
24 Oct. 1588WILLIAM CAREY
 ROBERT WIDDRINGTON
1593SIR WILLIAM READE alias KYNNERD
 ROBERT WIDDRINGTON
1597(SIR) ROBERT CAREY 6
 WILLIAM SELBY III 7
15 Oct. 1601(SIR) ROBERT CAREY
 WILLIAM SELBY III

Main Article

The country gentlemen were in a minority among Elizabethan knights of the shire for Northumberland. Robert Lawson (1563) of Rock, a minor landowner who had made a fortunate marriage; Robert Widdrington (1589, 1593) of Plessey and—just—Sir Thomas Grey II (1586) of Chillingham fit into this category, though Grey had been brought up in Cecil’s household, which he left only after attaining his majority when he took up residence on his estates in the north. At the time of his election for Northumberland he had recently married a Catholic. Sir Henry Percy (1571) of Norham castle was about to succeed as 2nd Earl of Northumberland, and had a vested interest in being in Parliament. He had himself elected at both Northumberland and Cumberland, choosing the former. The two 1559 MPs were veterans making their last appearance in Parliament: Cuthbert Horsley, who held no important local office after 1563, and Sir Thomas Grey I of Horton, whose public career ended with his last election for Northumberland. He left the north and retired to Bethnal Green. Sir William Hilton (1571) was from the adjoining county of Durham, not enfranchised in this period. A protestant who had been rewarded for supporting the government during the northern rebellion of 1569, Hilton did not sit again, though he lived until the end of the century. Thomas Layton I (1572), a Yorkshire lawyer and chancellor to the bishop of Durham also distinguished himself against the northern rebels. John Vaughan I (1563) was a former courtier who settled in Yorkshire in Elizabeth’s reign and had no claim to a Northumberland seat beyond his membership of the council in the north. The remaining Northumberland MPs in this period were soldiers, council in the north or border officials, and courtiers. Sir Francis Russell (1572, 1584) was a younger son of the 2nd Earl of Bedford. William Carey (1589) was the fifth son of the Queens cousin Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon. Sir William Reade alias Kynnerd (1593) was a soldier, and William Selby III (1597, 1601), by the time of his second election, had become gentleman porter of Berwick, an office held in turn by his father and his uncle. The courtiers were Edward Talbot (1584, 1586), third son of the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury; and, a favourite of the Queen, (Sir) Robert Carey (1597, 1601), Lord Hunsdon’s tenth son.

Robert Lawson died in 1565 before the second session of the 1563 Parliament but no evidence of a by-election to replace him has been found.

Author: P. W. Hasler

Notes

  • 1. E371/402(1).
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 4. Browne Willis.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Folger V. b. 298.
  • 7. Ibid.

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