BYRON, John (d.1623), of Colwick and Newstead, Notts. Clayton, Lancs.

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

1st s. of Sir John Byron of Newstead by Alice, da. of Sir Nicholas Strelley of Strelley. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1573. m. c.1580, Margaret, da. of Sir William Fitzwilliam II of Milton, Northants., 5s. 5da. Kntd. 11 Apr. 1603; suc. fa. 1604.1

Offices Held

J.p. Notts. by 1603,2 sheriff 1612-13.


During the middle ages the Byron family acquired extensive lands in Lancashire. They obtained Colwick through marriage and their principal Nottinghamshire seat of Newstead from a grant by Henry VIII of the lands of the dissolved abbey in 1540. They owned coal-mines in both counties.3 Though the family was influential in two counties, few of its members had sat in Parliament during the early Tudor period. It may be no coincidence that Byron was elected while his father was sheriff of Nottinghamshire. As knight for the shire Byron had the opportunity of attending committees concerning enclosures (5 Nov.), poor law (5 Nov., 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.) and the subsidy (15 Nov.).

On his marriage Byron set up his own establishment at Colwick, and in 1587, presumably to gain a London residence rather than a knowledge of law, he obtained admission to Gray’s Inn. He succeeded his father in 1604 to the manors of Newstead, Papplewick, Colwick Bucknall and Snenton, together with several thousand acres of land in Nottinghamshire; to the manors of Clayton, Gorton, Blackley, Droylsden and Failsworth, with extensive lands in the area which is now part of Manchester, the manors of Butterworth, Beardsall and Ryton, land in twenty-four Lancashire parishes and a lease of the rectories of Blackburn, Rochdale and Whalley from which he had to pay £17 annually towards Rochdale school. The estate was, however, heavily encumbered.4

Like his father, Byron was a follower of the earls of Rutland. In 1588 he was one of the the pall-bearers the 4th Earl’s funeral. Later, he frequently sent gifts to Belvoir. He became a j.p. during his father’s lifetime, was among those who proclaimed James I at both Nottingham and Newark, and was knighted during the King’s stay at Worksop on his journey to London. Though he never rose to his father’s eminence in Nottinghamshire, he was an active j.p. until at least 1618, contributing towards the purchase of the ‘shire hall’ or ‘king’s hall’ in Nottingham, as a centre of county administration.5

In March 1611 he went abroad, apparently without royal permission, and though it was rumoured that he might be imprisoned in the Fleet ‘for example’s sake’, nothing happened and he was visited by the King during two hunting trips in 1612 and 1614. Though James was in the neighbourhood again in 1616, he did not visit Byron, perhaps because, in April that year, Sir John had allowed his son to enclose certain parkland at Newstead despite a royal command to refrain from so doing until the King’s pleasure was known. Also, Byron’s financial situation had deteriorated: he disposed of Blackley in 1611; Gorton in 1612-13; Clayton, Droylsden and Failsworth in 1621. In 1620 he was outlawed for debt. He died 6 Mar. 1623, his will being proved at York in the same year.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: R.C.G.


  • 1. Bayne, Lancs. iii. 7-8; APC, xxv. 156-7; xxvi. 312; xxvii. 117; J. S. Leatherbarrow, Lancs. Eliz. Recusantz (Chetham Soc. n.s. cx), 52-3; C142/294/79.
  • 2. HMC Rutland, i. 389.
  • 3. VCH Lancs. iii-vii passim; Thoroton, Notts ed. Thoresby, ii. 283-6; J. Nef, Rise of the British Coal Industry, passim.
  • 4. C142/294/79; SP14/190/53; VCH Lancs. ii. 606; iii. 254 seq.; iv. 225-7, 273-4, 277, 282-5; v. 110, 113, 214; D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561; York prob. reg. 29, f. 46; Bailey, Notts. Annals, ii. 547.
  • 5. HMC Rutland, i. 242, 245, 389; iv. 463, 468, 471; C. Brown, Hist. Newark, ii. 33; Nichols, Progresses Jas. I, i. 88; Notts. County Recs. ed. Copnall, 4, 8.
  • 6. HMC Rutland, i. 428, 448; Nichols, Progresses Jas. I, ii. 460; Notts. Annals, ii. 576; VCH Lancs. iv. 277, 282-5; CSP Dom. 1619-21, p. 150; C142/402/148; Yorks Wills. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xxxii), 17.