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|4 Jan. 1559||SIR THOMAS RUSSELL|
|1571||SIR THOMAS RUSSELL|
|5 Nov. 1584||JOHN RUSSELL II|
|5 Oct. 1586||JOHN RUSSELL II|
|30 Oct. 1588||(SIR)JOHN RUSSELL II|
|1593||(SIR) HENRY BROMLEY|
|21 Sept. 1597||JOHN LYTTELTON|
|14 Oct. 1601||SIR THOMAS LEIGHTON|
With the single exception of Sir Thomas Leighton in 1601, the Members for Worcestershire during this period were drawn from the leading county families. The Russell family of Strensham provided three Members: Sir Thomas Russell (1559, 1571), his son John Russell II (1584, 1586, 1589) and his grandson Thomas Russell (1601). Both Ralph Sheldon of Beoley (1563) and William Lygon of Madresfield (1589) were related to the Russells by marriage. Thomas Blount of Kidderminster (1559, 1563) came from an old-established county family. After being out of favour during Mary’s reign, he sat for his county in the last two Parliaments of his life. The Lytteltons of Frankley were considerable county landowners. Gilbert Lyttelton (1571, 1572) had not succeeded to his estates when he represented the county in Parliament, and did not succeed until 1590, by which time his son John had already been knight of the shire three times (1584, 1586, 1597). (Sir) Henry Bromley of Holt castle (1593) was a relative of the Lytteltons. His extensive estates stretched into Shropshire, and he was one of the comparatively few country gentlemen in this period to represent two counties. Bromley and his fellow MP, both spent most of their time in London in the Fleet prison, having been persuaded by Peter Wentworth to raise the succession question in the House. In contrast to these committed protestants stands Edmund Colles of Leigh, a crypto-Catholic, who nevertheless was pricked sheriff (1590-1) and elected knight of the shire (1597). The stories of Colles, Ralph Sheldon and John Lyttelton, all well-known Catholic sympathizers, point to a core of conservative religious opinion among the Worcestershire gentry. John Talbot of Grafton (1572), whose identity is uncertain, was probably the father of the 9th Earl of Shrewsbury, and also a prominent recusant.
The candidature of Sir Thomas Leighton in 1601 appears to have met with opposition, probably because of his non-residence. Leighton was a courtier and a relative by marriage of the Queen. Although he had estates in Worcestershire he had been resident in Guernsey since his appointment as governor in 1570. In addition, his puritan views were not calculated to endear him to the conservative Worcestershire gentry. Understanding that Leighton was likely to meet with ‘some opposition made out of faction’ the Privy Council thought fit to inform both the sheriff and Ralph Sheldon, whose grandson Thomas Russell was also a candidate, that the Queen would take it ill if Leighton were opposed or some trickery used against him. No contest occurred.