SACKVILLE, Sir Richard (by 1507-66), of Buckhurst, Suss. and Westenhanger, Kent.

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



Mar. 1553
Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1507, 1st s. of John Sackville of Chiddingly, Suss. by his 1st w. Margaret, da. of Sir William Boleyn of Blickling, Norf. educ. ?Camb.; I. Temple. m. bef. 1536, Winifred, da. of Sir John Brydges of London, 3s. inc. Thomas 1da. Kntd. 1549; suc. fa. 27 Sept. 1557.2

Offices Held

Escheator, Surr. and Suss. 1541-2; steward of Suss. manors of abp. of Canterbury 1544; j.p. Suss. by 1547-53, from 1555, Essex, Kent, Surr. from 1559; chancellor, ct. of augmentations 1548-53, 20-23 Jan. 1554; custos rot. Suss. from 1549, ld. lt. 1550; gov. I. Temple from 1558; PC from 20 Nov. 1558; under-treasurer of the Exchequer from Feb. 1559; steward, duchy of Lancaster lands in Suss. 1559.3


‘Fillsack’ Sackville came a family already prominent in Sussex, Essex and Oxfordshire, several of whom had sat in Parliament. He was cut out of his father’s will, which he successfully contested, receiving administration of the estate in October 1559. He had already acquired, through speculation in monastic lands, and from the Crown, property in Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Oxfordshire and Yorkshire, and ‘spacious estates of fabulous worth’ in London, stretching ‘from Fleet Street to the banks of the Thames, from Blackfriars to Bridewell’.4

First taught by ‘a tond schoolmaster’ who, ‘before he was fully fourteen years old, drove him with fear of beating from all love of learning’, he may have studied at Cambridge before becoming a member of the Inner Temple. The details of his early career are obscure, because of confusion with his uncle and namesake. In any case, although under Edward VI he held the profitable office of chancellor of augmentations, he was not a prominent figure in the administration. Having signed the ‘device’ altering the succession in 1553, he was out of favour with Mary, who did not employ him until nearly the end of her reign, and then not as a regular official. However, he was granted an annuity of £300 in compensation for loss of office, and in 1558 the accession of his cousin Elizabeth restored his fortunes. He was summoned to her first Council meeting, and placed in charge of arrangements for the coronation. Sir Nicholas Throckmorton suggested him as master of the rolls, but the ‘advice’ was ignored and Sir William Cordell retained the office.5

Sackville remained a member of the Privy Council; in 1564 the Spanish ambassador reported a rumour that he was to replace Sir Nicholas Bacon as lord keeper. He also attended numerous functions on behalf of the Queen, for instance the funeral service held at St. Paul’s on the death of Henri II of France in 1559 and of the Emperor in 1564. Margaret, Countess of Lennox, was in his custody in 1562 and again in 1566. As an Exchequer official, he supervised the calling in of the old coinage and the issuing of the new, and was a member of various commissions concerning crown lands, the mint, counterfeit money, and the court of Exchequer. Though his wife was a Catholic, he conformed to the established religion, and in 1559 was appointed to administer clerical oaths, and later to arrange the exchange of episcopal lands. He was also active in local affairs, for example playing a leading part, in 1561-2, on a commission concerned with the endowments of Rochester bridge.6

In 1559 Sackville was elected for both Kent and Sussex, choosing Sussex. The exiguous 1559 journal shows him to have been concerned with the cutting of timber (3 Feb.) and restoring first fruits and tenths (17 Feb.). He was again elected for Sussex in 1563, taking charge of a bill (20 Jan.) ‘for allowance to sheriffs upon their accounts for justices’ diets’. On 3 Feb. he was looking after a bill to punish clippers of the coinage; 5 Feb. he was put in charge of the privilege case concerning Sir Henry Jones’s servants, and, 17 Feb. he reported that the Queen was dealing with the matter of justices’ diets mentioned above. As Privy Councillor he was appointed to committees dealing with the petition to the Queen to marry (6 Feb. 1559), the petition concerning the succession (19 Jan., 12 Feb. 1563) and the subsidy (25 Jan. 1563).7

According to a schedule drawn up after his death and annotated by Cecil, he had an income of £804 a year from fees and annuities alone. He received £180 p.a. as under-treasurer of the Exchequer, £200 for his ‘diet’ there, and his £300 annuity. The remainder came from offices he had held in abbeys, since dissolved. In addition, he had the large income from his estates, from Sussex iron works and from ventures with the Muscovy company and the Merchant Adventurers. He could well afford the £5,000 he lent the Queen in 1561 to help restore the exchange at Antwerp. On the day that he made his will, 22 Mar. 1566, Sackville granted his goods and chattels to his friends Anthony Stapleton, William Baynham, Roger Manwood, Richard Onslow, John Trevor and Humfrey Bridges. He left Westenhanger, Ore and other lands to his wife, with remainder to his son, who was also to have Buckhurst, other property and an annuity of 500 marks during his mother’s lifetime. On her death, Sir Richard wished his daughter, Lady Anne Dacre, to enjoy this annuity, provided that she would agree to sign any legal documents that her brother required of her. Sir Richard also left to his family much jewellery and plate, livestock, several leases, an iron mill and £400 of debts owed to him. He bequeathed jewellery to the Queen and £20 each to Onslow, Stapleton and Manwood, making provision also for some of his numerous relatives, including John Sackville. He appointed as his executors his wife (who renounced her rights), his son, and his ‘dear beloved friends’, Sir William Cecil, Sir Ambrose Cave, Sir William Cordell, Sir Edward Saunders, Sir Walter Mildmay, Sir Anthony Brown, and Roger Manwood, leaving them each £20. The overseers were the lord treasurer, the lord admiral, the Earl of Pembroke and the Earl of Leicester; they were to have £20 each, and Leicester was let off £50 from a debt of £250.

Sackville became seriously ill at the end of the same month, and his son’s plans to go to Vienna to arrange a marriage between Elizabeth and the Archduke Charles of Austria had to be laid aside. After a rally he died in London 21 Apr. His widow later married John Paulet, later 2nd Marquess of Winchester.8

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. C142/115/49; C. J. Phillips, Hist. Sackville Fam. i. 126-50; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 29; Literary Remains of Edw. VI (Roxburghe Club), 307.
  • 3. SP11/5/f. 50; 12/39/f. 160v; LP Hen. VIII, iv(1), p. 124; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 90, 123, 297; 1548-9, p. 181; 1553-4, pp. 67, 73, 300, 441; 1558-60, p. 56; 1560-3, pp. 438, 441, 443; I. T. Recs. i. 201, 233, 236; APC, vii. 50 et passim; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 123.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xix(1), p. 634; xx(1), p. 128; PCC 48 Chaynay; Machyn Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 153; CPR, 1550-3, pp. 69, 427; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, pp. 112, 115; 1553-4, p. 441; 1558-60, p. 243; Studies in Anglo-Dutch Relations, ed. Van Dorsten, 40.
  • 5. Ascham’s Scholemaster, ed. Mayor, intro. 17-18; LP Hen. VIII, iv(1), p. 124; v. p. 162; xiii(2), p. 83; xvi. p. 878; VCH Suss. ii. 79; iv. 176-8; Chichester town clerk’s dept. recs. of three city courts, f. 45; G. Inn Adm. Reg. 2; Valor Eccl. i. 349, 353; C142/145/11; Cam. Soc. xlviii. 100; SP 11/5/f. 50, 11/f. 115; Lansd. 156, ff. 108-10; CPR, 1558-60; p. 144; APC, vii. 3; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 118, 128; EHR, lxv. 95.
  • 6. CSP Span. 1558-67, p. 369; Strype, Annals, i(1), p. 188; i(2), p. 119; CSP For. 1562, p. 82; Three 15th Cent. Chrons. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxviii), 121, 141; CPR, 1558-60, pp. 118, 443; 1560-3, pp. 37, 92, 237, 483, 523, 623; APC, vii. 50; Wriothesley’s Chron. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xx), 145; Arch. Cant. xvii. 212-40.
  • 7. D’Ewes, 44, 45, 48, 79, 80, 84, 88; CJ, i. 53, 54, 63, 64, 69.
  • 8. Naunton, Fragmenta Regalia, ed. Arber, 55; SP12/39/ff. 155-165v; CSP Dom. Add. 1547-65, p. 439; CPR, 1554-5, p. 56; CSP For. 1565-6, p. 144; CSP Span. 1558-67, p. 527; PCC 14 Crymes; C142/145/11.