BUTLER, John II (d.c.1613), of Sharnbrook, Beds. and Thoby, Essex.

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




Family and Education

o.s. of George Butler of Toft, Beds. educ. ?Queens’, Camb. 1555; ?G. Inn 1559. m. (1), Cressett, da. of Sir John St. John of Bletsoe, Beds., 2s. 4da.; (2) Mary, da. of James Gedge of Shenfield, Essex, wid. of Christopher Harris, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1551.

Offices Held

J.p. Essex 1582-7, 1592-1612.


Butler, of a Bedfordshire gentry family, inherited from his father lands in that county, then settled in Essex, obtaining property in Little Birch and in Thoby, where he was living by 1582. Butler’s brother-in-law was a puritan minister (ordained by Thomas Cartwright) who conducted services at Rochford Hall, residence of Robert Rich, 3rd Baron Rich, who, in November 1587 intervened with Burghley in an attempt to secure Butler’s reinstatement on the commission of the peace. It was presumably Rich’s influence that ensured Butler’s return to Parliament for Maldon after a contest in 1586. On 1 Mar. 1587 he was supposed to deliver a speech on religion written for him by Peter Wentworth, but he ‘brake his faith in forsaking the matter’. The bailiffs of Maldon wrote to Rich in 1588, conceding him the nomination to one seat only. Butler was re-elected to the 1589 Parliament along with Alderman William Vernon, whose son married Butler’s daughter. However, on 7 Feb. 1589 Butler informed the House that Vernon was too ill to attend Parliament, and asked for the issue of a new writ.

In In his will, dated 1 Sept. 1612 and proved on 12 Jan. 1614, Butler bequeathed all his goods in Essex, including ‘stuff prepared for building there’, to his eldest son, Sir Oliver Butler, having presumably already made other conveyances settling his estates. He left legacies to his nephews and grandchildren, and £10 to the poor of Sharnbrook.

Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 169; VCH Beds. iii. 89; Essex RO, Assize File 35/24 seq; DB/3/3205, no. 33; Lansd. 53, f. 172; Collinson thesis, pp. 558 n. 1, 574 n. 2, 691, 859; D’Ewes, 429; Neale, Parlts. ii. 156; PCC 2 Lawe.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.H.