Steyning

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
1 Feb. 1559EDMUND WRIGHT 1
 ROBERT KEILWAY 2
1562/3RICHARD ONSLOW
 ROBERT HARRIS I
1571RICHARD BROWNE I
 JOHN FARNHAM
1572JOHN COWPER
 RICHARD PELLATT
1 Nov. 1584THOMAS SHIRLEY II
 PEXALL BROCAS
1586THOMAS BISHOP
 HENRY SHELLEY
10 Oct. 1588THOMAS CROMPTON II
 HENRY APSLEY
1593SIR WALTER WALLER
 THOMAS SHIRLEY II
15 Sept. 1597JOHN SHURLEY II
 THOMAS SHIRLEY III
1601(SIR) THOMAS SHIRLEY I
 ROBERT BOWYER II

Main Article

The borough of Steyning formed part of the honour of Petworth, of which the 12th Earl of Arundel was steward, and elections necessarily came under Howard influence in the early part of the reign. Election returns were made by the constable and burgesses.

Howard nominees were returned to the first three Parliaments. Edmund Wright’s return survives, dated 1 Feb. 1559, later than any other for this Parliament. This may indicate a by-election, though it is not known whom he would have replaced. In 1579, the first Parliament after Norfolk’s disgrace, Richard Pellatt, a local gentleman from an old established Sussex family, was returned with John Cowper, a minor Hampshire gentleman, who was also well known locally and a friend of Richard Lewknor, upon whom some of the Howard influence had devolved. With the election of 1584 a new influence emerged, that of the Shirleys of Wiston, members of which family were returned in 1584, 1593, 1597 and 1601. The head of the family, Thomas Shirley I, was responsible for the returns of Pexall Brocas (1584) and John Shurley II (1597), two relatives by marriage, Thomas Crompton II (1589), a servant of Essex, and Sir Walter Waller (1593) a fellow campaigner in the Netherlands.

Of the remaining four MPs, Henry Shelley (1586) and Henry Apsley (1589) were local gentlemen of sufficient standing to secure their own returns, and Thomas Bishop (1586) had been the ward of and Robert Bowyer II (1601) was the servant of Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst.3

Author: M.A.P.

Notes

  • 1. C219/26/100.
  • 2. E371/402(1).
  • 3. Horsfield, Suss. 81-82, 117, 227-9.

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