CURZON, Francis (by 1523-91/92), of Kedleston, Derbys.
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Family and Education
b. by 1523, yr. s. of Richard Curzon of Kedleston by Eleanor, da. of German Pole or Poole of Radbourne. m. by 1552, Eleanor, da. of Thomas Vernon of Stokesay, Salop, h. of her nephew Thomas Vernon, claimant through her mother to the dormant barony of Powis, 4s. 2da. suc. bro. 22 Nov. 1547.1
J.p. Derbys. by 1554, rem. c.1561, rest. by 1569, sheriff 1567-8, 1583-4.
Curzons Curzons had been settled at Kedleston, about four miles from Derby, since the twelfth century, and the family held extensive lands in the county. Until 1569 at least, Francis continued to buy property, at Aldwark, Horsley, Hourstone and Thursley, but later, when his debts were becoming serious, he began to sell land on a fairly large scale. Even so, the value of the estates when he died was estimated at £1,000.2
He was an active official in his county for many years, a justice of the peace and commissioner for sewers, and was employed on a number of duties, for example to assess or collect special taxes, to take recognizances or to regulate the sale and price of corn. At the time of the northern rebellion he signed a report to the Privy Council that Derbyshire ‘resteth to our knowledge in full quiet and in dutiful obedience’. One of his tasks as sheriff, in August 1584, was to see that William Cavendish II appeared before the Council for taking away goods from Shottesford before the Earl of Shrewsbury came there. The position of a Derbyshire official at this time must have been difficult, with not only the notorious dispute between Shrewsbury, his countess and the Cavendish brothers, but another disturbing influence in Sir John Zouche†, of Codnor. In January 1578 the justices sent up to the Privy Council local complaints that Zouche had held back money and armour at the last musters.3
There are numerous references to Curzon’s work in connexion with the county levies. The last mention found of him as an official is in a letter from the Earl of Shrewsbury, written in May 1588 to the Derbyshire justices, about 260 men who were to be armed ‘at private charges’, in addition to the usual militia. His name appears on a list, drawn up between 1588 and 1596, of gentlemen in Derbyshire dead or ‘decayed’.4
Almost all the known references to his private affairs are concerned with his debts. On 4 Oct. 1586 he wrote to John Manners, ‘I am indebted to the Earl of Shrewsbury, as I think you know, in large sums. I want to ask him to take his money in instalments of £200 a year, and I hope you will stand my friend and write to him on my behalf’. He gained a decree against (Arthur Bedle ?Bedell) and others, in December 1591, for release of a bond for the payment of £260; but after his death, his heir was involved in a complicated case brought by Michael Hare over a £2,000 debt for which Henry Vernon had stood surety for ‘the said Francis ... deceased’. A duchy of Lancaster suit dated April 1592 accused Curzon, who had recently died, of having made a fraudulent conveyance of land in Derbyshire ‘upon interest and purpose to deceive’ his creditors.5
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. E150/757/1; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 135; APC, xxiii. 71; J. C. Cox, Notes on the Churches of Derbys. iii. 171 seq.; Genealogist, n.s. vii. 75.
- 2. CPR, 1550-3, p. 433; 1563-6, p. 270; 1566-9, p. 339; HMC Rutland, i. 208-9; Lysons, Magna Britannia, v. 260; Cox, Churches, i. 449-50.
- 3. CPR, 1553 and App. Edw. VI, p. 352; 1563-6, pp. 38, 260; HMC Rutland, i. 109, 171; J. C. Cox, Three Centuries of Derbys. Annals, i. 237; HMC 6th Rep. 450-1; APC, x. 130-1.
- 4. Cox, Annals, passim; HMC Rutland, i. 249, 384 et passim.
- 5. HMC Rutland, i. 208-9; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 135; APC, xxiii. 71, 208-9; DL1/156/20.