STANHOPE, Edward I (c.1543-1603), of Shelford, Notts., Grimston and Edlington, Yorks. and Chigwell, 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

b. c.1543, 2nd s. of Sir Michael Stanhope of Shelford by Anne, da. of Nicholas Rawson of Aveley, Essex; bro. of John, Michael, Sir Thomas and Edward Stanhope II. educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1554, MA 1563; pens. G. Inn 1569, treasurer 1587. m. Susan, da. and coh. of Thomas Colshill of Chigwell, Essex, and Hackney, Mdx., 5s. inc. Edward Stanhope III 3da. Kntd. 1601.1

Offices Held

Surveyor of crown lands, Notts. 1575, duchy of Lancaster gen. surveyor of north parts 1576; j.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) from c.1573, Notts. from 1579; member, council in the north 1587, and j.p. many northern counties and Essex, Mdx. from c.1591; commr. sewers for river Lea 1587; recorder, Doncaster by 1596; member, northern high commission 1599.2


Stanhope was one of five brothers who sat in Parliament during Elizabeth’s reign. Their father was executed in 1552 as a partisan of his brother-in-law Protector Somerset, an event which possibly drew the family closer to Sir William Cecil, with whom they were distantly connected. Stanhope had chambers at Gray’s Inn throughout his life, and occupied them whenever he was in London. His building activities there were accepted, even though they were contrary to statute, and when his public duties in the north prevented him from fulfilling the duties of reader in 1579, he was granted seniority as if he had held the office, a privilege which was again allowed him in the following year. Three years later he was appointed to audit the treasurer’s accounts, and in 1587 was himself elected treasurer. In that year, however, he was appointed to the council in the north, and thereafter he spent much of his time in York, where he acquired a house in the Minster garth, and another at Grimston, a few miles from the city. He remained an active member of the council until his death, serving under the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, Archbishop Hutton and Thomas, Lord Burghley as presidents. He was one of the members who carried on the government after Huntingdon’s death, and, under his successor, became one of the quorum of councillors. In 1598 he obtained the appointment of Thomas Hesketh, attorney of the court of wards, to a vacant seat on the council. In 1602 he was one of those who defended the authority of the vice-president against the West Riding justices of the peace led by John Savile I.3

Stanhope sat in Parliament three times. In 1571 and 1572, before his removal to the north, he was elected for his own county, and in 1601 for Yorkshire, no doubt with the support of the council in the north, though he was himself a landowner of standing in the county. He served on the subsidy committee, 7 Apr. 1571, and on committees in 1572 concerned with Plymouth almshouses (13 May), fraudulent conveyances (16 May) and weights and measures (23 May). In the 1576 session his committees included the subsidy (10 Feb.) and keeping parish registers (10 Feb.). He sat again on the subsidy committee of 25 Jan. 1581, and, in this session, on legal committees, 27 Feb. and 4 Mar. He was appointed to the committee to settle the order of business, 3 Nov. 1601, and to one regulating alehouses, 5 Nov. He spoke on alehouses, 5 Nov., but this was not in fact his first intervention in debate as he had reported a little earlier that day on by-election procedure, a subject upon which he was appointed to go to the lord keeper with three other senior Members, 13 Nov. Stanhope made a strong speech against the salt monopoly on the afternoon of 21 Nov., and, as a knight of the shire, was a member of the committee appointed to consider the matter of monopolies in general, 23 Nov. He is last mentioned as a member of a committee concerned with charitable uses, 12 Dec. 1601. All these parliamentary activities can be assigned to Edward Stanhope with some degree of confidence, but in addition, a number of references to Mr. Stanhope, mostly on legal subjects and mostly in 1576, are probably to Edward rather than John Stanhope. These include committees on lands without covin (14 May 1571 and 18 Feb. 1576); tillage and navigation (25 May); actions upon the case (13 Feb. 1576); errors in fines and recoveries (13 Feb.); Mr. Isley’s debts (14 Feb.); tanned leather (18 Feb.); reciprocity of treatment for foreigners (24 Feb.); reformation of sheriffs (24 Feb.); fraudulent conveyances (25 Feb.); innkeepers (5 Mar.); justices of the forest (8 Mar.); excess of apparel (10 Mar.); Lord Stourton’s bill (12 Mar.); wharves and quays (13 Mar.); vicars and curates (13 Mar.). In 1597 Stanhope actively supported his brother in the disputed Yorkshire election, and was afterwards one of those who examined John Savile II of Howley on his conduct during it. For this Parliament also he tried to create a new constituency. In August 1596 he wrote to Cecil from York, congratulating him on his appointment as secretary, which gave ‘great joy to all our name, who have always depended upon your father and yourself’. But the main purpose of the letter was to inform Cecil that the stewardship of Doncaster was vacant by the death of Lord Hunsdon and that Stanhope, as recorder, had suggested him as successor. Cecil accepted the office, and when a Parliament was summoned in the following year Stanhope obtained for him the nomination of two Members for the borough, assuring him that Doncaster had ‘anciently’ returned Members of Parliament, and that in 1593 one seat had been offered to him as recorder and the other to Lord Hunsdon by the mayor and burgesses. As Stanhope had been unable to spare time from his duties at York, both Members, he said, had been returned by Hunsdon, and so far as he knew, had been allowed to take their seats. The time had passed, however, when a borough might enfranchise itself or be enfranchised in this manner, and in spite of Stanhope’s efforts Cecil’s nominees were not admitted.4

Stanhope made his will 8 Aug. 1603. He died on 12 Aug. and the will was proved in the following February. He expressed his belief in ‘the company of the heavenly angels and blessed saints’. His property was to be divided among his wife and children. His eldest daughter was to receive a dowry of £1,000 and the two younger ones £500 each. Property in Westmorland was left to his second son as well as a rent charge of £20 a year as soon as he became an utter barrister, and property in Yorkshire and Somerset was secured to the third and fourth sons, while the youngest, Thomas, was to have an annuity of £40. Some of the Yorkshire lands were to go to his widow as an addition to her jointure, but most of it descended to his eldest son Sir Edward, aged about 24, the executor of the will. Stanhope’s brothers, Sir John, Sir Edward and Sir Michael, were appointed supervisors, with Sir Percival Hart, his son-in-law. Stanhope was buried in the church at Kirkby Wharfe, the parish in which Grimston lay.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: Irene Cassidy / P. W. Hasler


  • 1. Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv.), 7-8; CP; HMC Hatfield, xi. 232.
  • 2. Lansd. 19, f. 95; Somerville, Duchy, i. 446-7; SP12/121, f. 19v; 145, f. 29; Hatfield ms 278; Reid, Council of the North, 227; Lansd. 53, f. 168; Doncaster Recs. i. 230; HMC Hatfield, ix. 396.
  • 3. G. Inn Pens. Bk. i. 5, 32, 38, 42, 53-4, 56, 60, 77; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 80; 1601-3, pp. 156, 194; Add. 1580-1625, pp. 80-1; Lansd. 79, f. 128; 82, f. 50; 115, f. 4; HMC Hatfield, v. 505, 506-7; viii. 341, 390.
  • 4. CJ, i. 83, 89, 83, 93, 95, 97, 104, 105, 106, 108, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 120, 129, 131; D’Ewes, 159, 183, 189, 206, 207, 214, 247, 253, 255, 261, 288, 301, 302, 624, 626, 637, 649, 681; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 191, 212, 238; HMC Hatfield, vi. 316-17; vii. 28, 412, 437, 442; Neale, Commons, 144-5.
  • 5. PCC 16 Harte.