DOWNES, Roger (d.1638), of Wardley Hall, 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

6th s. of Roger Downes of Shrigley, Cheshire by his w. Elizabeth (?Pemberton), da. of either Alexander Worsley of Lancs. or Thomas Stanley of Aldersley. educ. Staple Inn; G. Inn 1589, called 1599. m. (1) at Wigan 23 Apr. 1601, Elizabeth (d.1602), da. of Miles Gerard of Ince, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) Anne, da. of John Calvert of Cockeram, 2s. 1da.1

Offices Held

Summer reader, G. Inn 1615, dean of the chapel 1624, treasurer 1628; v.-chamberlain, Cheshire 1625.2


The Downes family came from East Cheshire, where they had held the manors of Shrigley, Taxall and Downs since the reign of Henry III. Downes’s return for Wigan in 1601 was no doubt due to the influence of the Gérard family, into which he married, but he had himself a lifelong connexion with the town and perhaps also with Manchester, for he was named as overseer in the wills of two Mancunians, Sir Alexander Barlow of Barlow Hall, who described him as ‘loving loving cousin’, and Richard Halliwell, landlord of the Bull’s Head in the Market Place.3

Considering his appointments at Gray’s Inn, Dowries Downes presumably practised as a lawyer and spent part of his time in London. There is nothing to suggest that he played an active part in county affairs. No doubt the law and his estates provided him with sufficient occupation. All that we know of him relates to his life as a country gentleman. It was about 1601 that he acquired Wardley Hall, a moated manor house, dating from the reign of Edward VI. His household books give us some idea of his life and surroundings. Wardley Hall had its own private chapel, and more than 20 bedrooms. The furnishings consisted of beds—standing