MONCKTON, Christopher (by 1517-1600), of Cavell and Londesborough, Yorks.

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

b. by 1517, s. of William Monckton of Cavell by Anne, da. of Robert Aske of Aughton. m. Frances, da. of George Hussey of Duffield by his w. Anne, da. of Sir Robert Constable of Flamborough, 1s. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1557.1

Offices Held


Christopher Monckton was one of those to whom the Earl of Cumberland was licensed in 1555 to make a nominal conveyance of all his possessions, ‘the office of sheriff of Westmorland only excepted’. Among other parties to the arrangement were Sir Thomas Dacre and James Bankes, Members for Cumberland and Appleby respectively in 1553 (Oct.), and Leonard Dacre.2 It may be inferred that it was through the Earl’s influence—he owned the castle at Appleby and another residence at Londesborough—that Monckton was returned to the first two Elizabethan Parliaments. A third Parliament, if his ambition lay in that direction, was denied him after the religious legislation of 1563, for the Moncktons were Catholics, closely linked a generation earlier with the Pilgrimage of Grace, and displaying throughout Elizabeth’s reign the religious conservatism characteristic of many families in the northern counties.

In May 1560 Monckton granted all his property to Gerard Lowther, Lawrence Banester and Thomas Batest, reserving to himself and his heirs the full use of the property, with unrestricted power to lease or otherwise dispose of it. This agreement, or ‘use’, was still in force at his death. Transactions involving parts of the property—in all it comprised the manors of Cavell and Burlande, 20 messuages, eight cottages, and a windmill—were negotiated in 1566, 1567 and 1573.3

The return of Catholics in York diocese in 1577 lists Monckton as worth £40 in goods and £20 in lands. The following January he was summoned to appear before the High Commission at York as an excommunicate who refused to receive communion. Apparently he did not attend, whereupon the court ordered his attachment. This he evaded, with the result that a fresh order was fixed to the door of his house demanding his appearance before the court on pain of £100. On 26 May 1578 he appeared, admitted that he did not attend church and did not take communion, and was committed to custody. After several further appearances he was persuaded to conform, only to retract his statement the following day and again be taken into custody. In October 1580 he was imprisoned at Hull; in April 1582, being bound in £300 to go to church, he certified that he had dutifully done so, and was ordered to take communion. Periodically thereafter until April 1586 and possibly later he appeared before the commissioners, submitted to conferences with learned preachers, but adamantly refused the further conformity demanded of him. In 1592, with other recusants, he was again committed to prison at Hull.4

Monckton died 5 Feb. 1600, being then more than 83 years old. His grandson Philip was his heir.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: E.L.C.M.


  • 1. Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 92, 134; C142/116/29.
  • 2. CPR, 1554-5, ii. 247.
  • 3. C142/259/55; Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. ii. 241, 337; Ancient Deeds, Kingston-upon-Hull, deeds 645, 646, 649a.
  • 4. Cath. Rec. Soc. xviii. 52; xxii. 16; York, Borthwick Institute, act bk. of High Commission (ex inf. F. X. Walker, SJ); HMC Hatfield, iv. 273.
  • 5. C142/259/55.