SCUDAMORE, John (c.1542-1623), of Holme Lacy, Herefs.

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. c.1542, 1st s. of William Scudamore (d. bef. 1560) by Ursula, da. of (Sir) John Pakington of Hampton Lovett, Worcs. educ. I. Temple, Nov. 1559. m. (1) Eleanor (d.1569), da. of Sir James Croft of Croft Castle, 3s. 2da.; (2) Mary, da. of Sir John Shelton of Shelton, Norf., 2s. suc. gd.-fa. 1571. Kntd. bef. 1593.

Offices Held

J.p. Herefs. by 1570, sheriff 1581-2, custos rot. and dep. lt. 1581-90; commr. musters, recusants by 1583; steward, Ashperton, Stretton and Yorkhill 1571, Kidwelly 1587, Hereford 1616-17; seneschal of Cradley, Ledbury, Ross and Bishop’s Castle; gent. pens. by 1573-1603, standard bearer 1599; gent. usher to Queen Elizabeth; member, council in the marches of Wales 1602.1

Biography

Scudamore’s wardship was sold, in 1561, to Sir James Croft. The yearly value of his property was then rated at £14 13s.4d. and in 1563 he had licence to enter upon his lands. In 1571, however, he inherited the estates of his grandfather, a gentleman of wealth and consequence in the county, though ‘no favourer of religion’, and this, together with his marriage to Croft’s daughter, gave him a position in Herefordshire surpassed only by that of Croft and the Coningsbys.2

In every Parliament between 1571 and 1589 he was returned as junior Member to Sir James Croft. He considered sitting in the 1593 Parliament, but decided to give place to his brother-in-law, Herbert Croft. In 1597, however, he was back. So far as is known he did not speak in the House. He was named to committees on Ledbury hospital (4 Mar. 1581), ecclesiastical matters (14 Nov. 1597) and bridging the river Wye (12 Dec. 1597). As a knight of the shire in 1584-5 he could have served on the subsidy committee (24 Feb.), and the following committees in 1597: enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5, 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), the subsidy (15 Nov.) and Newport bridge (29 Nov.).3

Scudamore’s standpoint over religion is not clear. His name appears on a list drawn up in the interests of Mary Queen of Scots in 1574, but in 1576 he wrote to the Council, warning them that the next mayor of Hereford might be ‘a hinderer of the godly proceeding of the present state of religion’, and in the same year he furnished the names of recusants ‘not to be reduced to conformity by any good persuasion’. In any event his loyalty was unquestioned. The Privy Council frequently referred cases to him: in 1589, he was to hear a controversy between an esquire of the Queen’s stable and a London merchant, and the next year he was instructed to examine a case of disputed inheritance. His second marriage, to a cousin and lady of the bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth, led to a post at court, and hence to his ‘continual absence out of the county’, and in 1590 he was replaced as deputy lieutenant of Herefordshire. Scudamore was a patron of the mathematician Thomas Allen, and a benefactor of the Bodleian, whose founder he knew. His sister married a recusant; his eldest surviving son John became a Catholic priest, John Dowland in 1595 reporting to Cecil that he had encountered in Florence an English priest, ‘son and heir to Sir John Scudamore of the court’. On 20 July 1619 Scudamore made his will, ‘hoping assuredly through the only merits of Jesus Christ’, to be received ‘into the company of the heavenly angels and blessed saints’. The bulk of his property passed to his grandson, John Scudamore, with legacies to his other grandsons, Barnaby and James, to his brother Rowland, and to several friends. The poor were also remembered. Sir John Pakington and Walter Pye were overseers and the will was proved 7 May 1623.4