WENTWORTH, John (1564-1613), of Gosfield Hall, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

b. 1564, o.s. of Sir John Wentworth of Horkesley and Gosfield by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir Christopher Heydon. m. Cicely, da. of Sir Edward Unton by Anne, da. of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, 2s. 4 or 5da. suc. fa. 1588.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Essex 1592-3.


Wentworth succeeded to extensive lands in Essex, including Little Horkesley and Gosfield, which his father had inherited from his relative Ann, Lady Maltravers, in 1581. His name does not occur in the journals of the 1597 Parliament, but as a knight of the shire he could have served on committees concerned with 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 draining the fens (3 Dec.). He is not known to have had any land in Wiltshire or any connexion with Wootton Bassett. His return to Parliament for the borough was presumably due to the influence of his wife’s uncle, the Earl of Hertford. The dates make it unlikely that he was the John Wentworth who was a fellow of Lincoln’s Inn by 1585, and whose name appears on a list of King’s bench lawyers assessed to the loan in 1600. He does not appear to have taken an active part in county affairs. In 1589 the deputy lieutenants wrote to Lord Burghley saying that he was not suitable as a captain of lances. In 1600 he provided one light horse for Ireland. He was apparently either considerate, or over-indulgent, to the poor. In 1590 he gave land at Finchingfield for a poor woman to build a cottage, and in 1601 the villagers at Bocking objected to his allowing a ‘lewd, idle and slanderous fellow’ to build a ‘noisome cott’ there. In 1596 he was involved in a dispute over lands bequeathed to his wife by her father, who had also left £23,000 debts. He died in 1613 and was buried at Gosfield, leaving a ‘splendid inheritance’ to his son, who dissipated it. Wentworth’s widow married Sir Edward Hoby.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.H.


  • 1. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 315-16; Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. iii, ped. opp. p. 221, 224-5.
  • 2. C142/217/132; D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 567; Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. iii. 215, 220-7; L. Inn Black Bk. i. 438; APC, xxx. 29, 438; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 612; Add. 1580-1625, p. 378; Essex RO, Q/SR 111/51; 159/29, 38.