STOUGHTON, Laurence (1554-1615), of Stoughton, Surr.

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

Constituency

Dates

Family and Education

b. 12 Nov. 1554, 1st s. of Thomas Stoughton by his 2nd w., and bro. of Adrian. educ. I. Temple 1572. m. 23 Apr. 1575, Rose (d.1632), da. of Richard Ive of Kentish Town, Mdx. 11s. 6da. suc. fa. 1576. Kntd. 1611.2

Offices Held

J.p. Surr. 1577 to at least 1609, q. by 1601; subsidy collector, Surr. 1593-4; capt. local forces 1598; verderer of Windsor forest c.1591; under-steward for crown lands, Suss.3

Biography

Stoughton succeeded to his father’s Surrey estates while still at the Inner Temple. He then married a lady whose stepfather, William Hammond, was a leading Guildford citizen, and gave them land at East Horsley, Surrey; Rayleigh, Essex; and Billingshurst, Sussex. A seventeenth-century member of the family estimated that Stoughton’s marriage brought him between £4,000 and £5,000, and to this was added Hammond’s own house on the death of his wife, Rose’s mother, in 1592. Stoughton set up as a lawyer, probably in Guildford itself, and acted for the Mores of Loseley both privately (he was an overseer of the will of William More I) and in local government However, it appears that he owed his first return to Parliament in 1581 to another connexion When his father, the sitting Member, died, according to a seventeenth-century account, the Earl of Arundel, by this time out of prison, wrote to the corporation suggesting that the son should replace the father in the Guildford seat, and, though that nobleman died before the by-election was held in January 1581, his recommendation may have influenced the corporation But in any case Stoughton was obviously a strong local candidate, and he was returned for Guildford on three other occasions. In 1589, however, Sir William More had to fall back on the borough seat himself and Stoughton was left out. He was given leave of absence from the 1586 Parliament on 8 Mar. 1587 and in that of 1593 he was put on the first standing committee for privileges and returns (26 Feb.) and a committee for the poor (12 Mar).4

His father’s connexion with the Arundel household enabled Stoughton to succeed him as deputy to Lord Lumley, steward of the Crown’s lands in Sussex. Unlike his father, Stoughton was, a letter from Sir William More assured the Council, ‘sound and well affected in religion’. He became a Surrey ecclesiastical commissioner ‘to inquire diligently of the secret repair into our realm of a number of seminaries, priests and Jesuits, of malicious purpose’, and searched Catholic houses, including that of the aged Lady Montagu.5

Towards the end of the century Stoughton sold East Horsley, Effingham rectory and his wife’s Essex inheritance, and bought the manor of Stoke-next-Guildford. His subsidy assessment in 1594 reflects his wealth. King James visited him at Stoughton, recently enlarged, and knighted him at Bagshot nearby. He was a friend of Archbishop Abbott, a Guildford man, and an active local figure in such matters as education, poor relief, the intended diversion of a river to improve navigation, the cloth trade and local defence. He died 13 Dec. 1615 and was buried in the Stoughton chapel at Stoke church. His will was proved 31 Jan. 1616 in the archdeacon’s court. Six of his sons went to Oxford and five of those to the Inner Temple as wells.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-