MORDAUNT, Robert (d.1602), of Westbury, Bucks., Little Massingham, Norf. and Hempstead, 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

3rd s. of Robert Mordaunt of Hempstead by Barbara, da. and h. of John Lestrange of Little Massingham. m. after 1550, Jane, da. and h. of Henry Pyne, of Ham in Morwenstow, Cornw., wid. of Walter Porter of Launcells, Cornw., s.p. suc. bro. 1574.

Offices Held

Escheator, Beds. and Bucks. 1583-4.2


The Mordaunts had accumulated extensive lands through marriages with heiresses. Mordaunt’s grandfather was a younger son of the Mordaunts of Turvey, Bedfordshire, from whom descended the Lords Mordaunt and the earls of Peterborough: Lewis Mordaunt was thus a distant cousin. The younger branch of the family had settled at Hempstead, and Mordaunt’s father had made a fortunate marriage with Barbara Lestrange, who brought him land at Little Massingham in Norfolk and Westbury in Buckinghamshire, which was added to the Essex property at Great Sampford, Roding Berners, Wood Hall and Hempstead. Though a younger son, Mordaunt inherited all this. His father was succeeded at his death in 1572 by a grandson, but the boy died less than two years later and was succeeded by his uncle James, Mordaunt’s elder brother. A few months later he too was dead.3

However, though the list of Mordaunt’s manors is impressive, he never attained a place on the commission of the peace, perhaps because of Catholic religious views. His Cornish borough seat in Parliament came to him through his wife’s family connexions, the Grenvilles of Penheale, patrons of the borough of Newport. Mordaunt himself was described in the 1559 pardon roll as ‘late of Morwenstow, Cornwall’ where he had apparently been living on his wife’s property, situated in that north-eastern portion of Cornwall which also contained the Grenvilles’ seat at Penheale and Newport itself.4

Mordaunt died apparently intestate 29 May 1602. His wife made her will a few months after his death;

renouncing all sects, schisms and heresies, I do firmly and without all doubt hold and believe the Christian faith and every part and point thereof, as our mother the Holy Catholic Church, instructed by the promised spirit of truth, hath taught and declared.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Add. 38823, f. 17.
  • 2. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 253-4, 456-7; Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 83.
  • 3. CP, ix. 193-7; T. Wright, Essex, ii. 79, 279; P. Morant, Essex, ii. 365, 475, 529; VCH Beds. iv. 251, 264; Blomefield, Norf. ix. 17; C142/153/31, 163/53, 170/47.
  • 4. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 84, 383; Vis. Cornw. (Harl. Soc. ix), 40, 84-5; CPR, 1558-60, p. 180.
  • 5. C142/268/159; PCC 98 Harte; Al. Ox. (early ser.), 1224.