PURCELL, Richard (by 1526-86), of Dinthill, Salop.

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 1526, 1st s. of Nicholas Purcell by Anne, da. of Randulph Beeston. m. Dorothy, da. of Thomas Lee of Langley, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1559.1

Offices Held

Common councilman, Shrewsbury 1553, bailiff 1565, alderman 1568.2


Purcell received licence to enter upon his father’s lands on 1 May 1560. As well as property in Shrewsbury and elsewhere in Shropshire, he inherited the manor of Talerddig, and bought the manors of Overgorther and Tiertreff Issa, all in Montgomeryshire. During his father’s life, he divided his time between Shropshire and Wales: he was admitted a com-brother of the Shrewsbury Drapers’ Company in 1547, and in 1554 was foreman of the Montgomeryshire grand jury. After 1560, he spent most of his time in Shropshire. His election as bailiff must have caused some controversy, for in 1565 the 25 men ‘who went upon the bailiffs ... were in the election house without meat or drink 20 hours before they could agree’.3

Purcell was actively engaged in the Welsh cloth trade, and it was probably his connexion with the Shrewsbury drapers that fixed his residence in Shropshire, at a time when they were slowly acquiring a monopoly of the trade. In 1566 they were given a complete monopoly by Act of Parliament, Parliament, but this was short-lived, for the drapers were not sufficiently wealthy or numerous to maintain it, and, after an abortive attempt in 1571, the Act was repealed in 1572. The return of Purcell, master of the drapers from 1569 until his death, to the latter Parliament, probably represents an attempt on the drapers’ part to retain their privileges, for they provided him with £50 towards ‘the saving of the statute’.

The only time he is mentioned in the journals of the House, however, the reference is to his appointment to confer with the Lords on the bills for reformation of errors in fines and common recoveries, 7 Mar. 1576. He died 24 Nov. 1586, ‘a worthy gentleman, of a loving and gentle nature, being a liberal reliever of the poor, and at all times the poor man’s friend’. The chronicler was possibly partial: in 1581, the bailiffs had ordered Purcell to pay £20 for arrears of a sum of 40s. due from him yearly to the poor, and he agreed to pay at the rate of £5 each half year. An inquisition post mortem was held at Welshpool on 23 Oct. 1587.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.J.C.


  • 1. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii) 413-4; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), xii. 189.
  • 2. Shrewsbury mss 76, ff. 3, 82.
  • 3. CPR, 1558-60, p. 360; Shrewsbury mss, cal. of deeds and charters, 6, no. 6473; Mont. Colls. v. 47; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), ix. 271; xii. 189; Early Chrons. of Shrewsbury, ed. Leighton, 29.
  • 4. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), ix. 211 seq.; xii. 189; T. C. Mendenhall, Shrewsbury Drapers and Welsh Wool Trade, 99, 125-8; CJ, i. 111; Shrewsbury Chrons. 70; C142/215/279.