PENRUDDOCK, Sir George (d.1581), of Ivy Church and Compton Chamberlayne, Wilts., Broxbourne, Herts. and Clerkenwell, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

3rd s. of Edward Penruddock of Arkleby, Cumb. by Elizabeth, da. of Robert Highmore of Armathwaite, Cumb. m. (1) Elizabeth (d. c.1557), da. and h. of William Apryce of Faulstone, Wilts., 2s. Edward and Robert; (2) (bef. 1 Apr. 1560), Anne, da. of Thomas Goodyer or Goodere of Hadley, Herts., wid. of John Cocke of Broxbourne, s.p. Kntd. 7 Aug. 1568.1

Offices Held

Steward to 1st Earl of Pembroke by 1559; provost marshal 1559; esquire of the body by 1565; j.p. Wilts. from 1554, Herts. from 1561; sheriff, Wilts 1562-3, Herts. 1567-8; dep. lt. Wilts.; commr. subsidy Wilts. and Salisbury 1576.2


Penruddock attached himself to the 1st Earl of Pembroke, lived in Wiltshire, and married an heiress. By disposition, if not profession, a soldier, he did some campaigning, in the course of which he is said to have earned a jewelled chain from Catherine Parr. He was certainly one of those so rewarded by the Imperial ambassador in March 1554, but this was for following the lead of his master Pembroke in his rapprochement with the Marian régime. The Earl’s intimacy with Philip also identified Penruddock with the King’s enterprises and led to the best-known episode in his career, his part in Pembroke’s victory at St. Quentin in August 1557. As standard-bearer on that field Penruddock won great honour by overcoming a French nobleman in single combat.3

With the laurels of this exploit fresh upon him Penruddock sat in Mary’s last Parliament as senior knight for Wiltshire; and when within three weeks of its dissolution by the Queen’s death, her successor called a new one, Pembroke doubtless expected him to be returned again, although this time he was allotted the second place. Penruddock was, however, opposed by Sir John Thynne of Longleat, and although he received a large majority of the votes, was declared elected and held a festive dinner at Wilton, he was cheated of membership of the Parliament by the sheriff’s collusive return of Thynne; and the ensuing Star Chamber case, although it went against the sheriff, who was fined and imprisoned, did not upset that result.4

Among the doubts cast by his opponents on Penruddock’s eligibility for the seat were allegations that he was of insufficient status and that he had no freehold in the shire. Although neither could well be pressed against a former first knight, they were not wholly specious. Penruddock was no Wiltshireman, his grant of arms in Cumberland dated only from 1548, he was not yet a j.p., and in both his military and civilian capacities he could be looked on as the creature of a nobleman. In particular, the charge that he possessed no freehold in the county may well have been true, and it may explain a transaction into which he entered immediately afterwards. Although it was in 1558 that he had acquired from Andrew Baynton the reversion of a moiety of Compton Chamberlayne on the death of Isabella Baynton, only in Easter term 1559 did Isabella and her new husband Sir James Stumpe quitclaim this life-interest to Penruddock at a rent of £25 a year. Possession of this half-manor, to which his son Edward would later add the other moiety by purchase from the Nicholas family, gave Penruddock a ‘stake in the country’ and began his family’s long association with Compton Chamberlayne. Sheriff in 1562-3 (and hence disabled from sitting in the Parliament which met in 1563 and again in 1566), justice of the peace and deputy lieutenant, he built a position in the county which would survive the death of his master, at whose funeral in 1570 he bore the standard.5

After his first wife’s death about 1557 Penruddock married a Hertfordshire widow whose late husband had held the manor of Broxbourne, and, fortified by his own acquisition (perhaps a studied one) of a freehold in Broxbourne, he was qualified to be pricked sheriff of that county in 1567. It was during his year of office—and presumably of residence—that he was knighted at Hatfield by the Earl of Leicester. In the same year he and his wife exercised their patronage by presenting Christopher Allanby to the rectory of Anstie.6

It was nevertheless to Wiltshire that Penruddock turned for the remainder of his parliamentary career; and to which he brought his stepson Henry Cocke, with whom he was returned for Downton in 1571; their election marked the ascendancy of the new Earl of Pembroke in that borough at the expense of its traditional patron, the bishop of Winchester, although Penruddock’s domicile at neighbouring Ivy Church and his lease of the Winchester manor of Bishopstone gave him a personal claim, perhaps reflected in his gaining both Downton seats. In the following year Penruddock repeated his success of 1558 by becoming first knight of the shire and at the same time sweetly avenged the defeat of ’59. For his old enemy Thynne, who had obtained the senior seat in 1571, evidently meant—as Penruddock himself had once made the mistake of doing—to have it again; and it needed all Pembroke’s support, given on grounds which the Earl explained in his well-known letter to Thynne, to carry Penruddock’s cause to victory. Penruddock can scarcely be said to have justified this effort by his contribution to the business of the Parliament, for the silence which shrouds his earlier sojourns there is but rarely broken on this, his last and longest. In the session of 1572 he belonged to a committee on a private bill, 21 May, and in that of 1576 he was named to committees dealing with wool (16 Feb.), juries (5 Mar.) land reclaimed from the sea (6 Mar.), private bills (8 Mar.), and the bill against excess of apparel (10 Mar.). The omission of his name from the proceedi