Sudbury

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
7 Jan. 1559CLEMENT THROCKMORTON
 HENRY FORTESCUE
8 Jan. 1563JOHN HEIGHAM
 THOMAS ANDREWS I
1571JOHN HUNT
 JOHN GURDON
1572RICHARD EDEN
 MARTIN COLE
7 Nov. 1584EDWARD WALDEGRAVE
 HENRY BLAGGE
1586HENRY BLAGGE
 GEOFFREY RUSHAM
6 Nov. 1588THOMAS EDEN
 THOMAS JERMYN
1593WILLIAM FORTESCUE
 DUDLEY FORTESCUE
14 Oct. 1597GEORGE WALDEGRAVE
 JOHN CLAPHAM
6 Oct. 1601PHILIP GAWDY
 EDWARD GLASCOCK

Main Article

Sudbury was first enfranchised at the beginning of this period, probably through the efforts of the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, Sir Ambrose Cave. Both 1559 men were returned through Cave’s influence, the return being made probably direct from the duchy office without the sheriff being a party to it, by the ‘bailiffs’ of the borough, the duchy officials for the manor of Sudbury. But consistent the Elizabethans were not, and, far from returning duchy officials, Sudbury was soon providing a haven for the local families such as the Heighams, Edens, Waldegraves and Jermyns, before reverting, towards the end of the reign, to nominations from the centre. But here again, it might be surmised that when (Sir) John Fortescue I brought in two members of his family in 1593 (before he was chancellor of the duchy) or the courtier Philip Gawdy and a relation with a Suffolk estate (Glascock) in 1601 (between his two periods of office as chancellor), this could as well have been because he combined Suffolk connexions and a central office as chancellor of the Exchequer as because Sudbury was in any sense a ‘duchy borough’. Dudley Fortescue (1593) married two Suffolk ladies, and his mother was a Waldegrave—not much duchy influence there—and when Cecil returned John Clapham in 1597 it was because Cecil was Cecil and Clapham had been his father’s servant.

The precept for the 1563 and later elections was sent to the borough by the sheriff in the usual way, and one of the Members returned that year (Andrews) owed his seat to Sir Nicholas Bacon, who had been made steward of the honour of Clare, of which Sudbury was part, in the previous June. The other 1563 MP was a local gentleman. So too (allowing for some uncertainty in identification) were both Members in 1571, 1584, 1586 and 1588. The 1572 MPs were townsmen, but Bacon, as duchy official or local magnate, may have had, or been thought to have had, some residual control, as the town books mention a payment to a man who rode to see him ‘for the appointing of two burgesses for the Parliament’.

Weinbaum, Charters, 111-12; C219/26/92, 27/41; CPR, 1560-3, p. 256; Sudbury orders bk. 1658-81, ff. 30-31; Sudbury court bks. passim; Cal. Sudbury Muniments, ed. Stokes and Redstone, 27.

Author: P. W. Hasler

Notes

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