COLBY, Huntington (1587-by 1618), of London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

bap. 1 Jan. 1587,1 8th but 6th surv. s. of Thomas Colby† (d.1588) of Roos Hall, Beccles, Suff. and his 2nd w. Beatrix, da. of Thomas Felton of Playford, Suff. educ. G. Inn 1611. unm.2 kntd. 28 Nov. 1616.3 d. by 19 May 1618.4

Offices Held

Muster-master, Suff. 1612-14.5

?Capt., Neths. 1614-d.6


Colby’s ancestors were holding land in East Anglia by the middle of the fifteenth century.7 His father, steward to Archbishop Parker, sat for Thetford in 1572.8 Colby himself was a younger son, but when his uncle drew up his will in 1595 he bequeathed Colby £200, payable on reaching the age of 20.9

By 1612 Colby had entered the circle of the lord chamberlain, Thomas Howard, 1st earl of Suffolk, who appointed him muster-master of Suffolk, where the earl was lord lieutenant. Suffolk described him as ‘captain’, but no evidence of previous military experience has been found. According to Chamberlain, Colby was ‘esteemed a very valiant gentleman’, and in the following year Suffolk’s son Henry Howard* appointed him his second in a quarrel with Robert Devereux, 3rd earl of Essex, but the intended duel was forestalled by the arrival of royal messengers.10

It was doubtless Suffolk who nominated Colby for Eye in 1614. Colby left no trace on the records of the Addled Parliament. On 10 Aug. the earl informed his deputy lieutenants that Colby was to be replaced as muster-master as he had ‘otherwise employed’ him. Colby may well have subsequently received a commission in the English forces in the Netherlands, which were now placed on a war-footing after Spanish forces sought to seize control of the disputed duchies of J├╝lich-Cleves, as he was issued with a pass for the Low Countries, where he was to stay ‘for some convenient time’. He was still there in June 1616, but he must have visited England in the autumn, for in November his services were rewarded with a knighthood (an honour which, in error, it had already been assumed that he held when he was admitted to the inns of court in 1611). He died, unmarried, beyond the seas, letters of administration being granted to his sister on 19 May 1618.11

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


Cal. Sess. Recs. Mdx. ed. W. le Hardy, n.s. i. 272.

  • 1. St. Michael Beccles par. reg. (Soc. Gen. mic.).
  • 2. Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 127; PROB 11/73, ff. 75-6; GI Admiss.
  • 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 160.
  • 4. PROB 6/9, f. 171v.
  • 5. Add. 39245, ff. 8v, 12v.
  • 6. Ibid. ff. 12v, 34; APC, 1613-14, p. 77.
  • 7. Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), i. 95-7.
  • 8. HP Commons, 1558-1603, i. 627.
  • 9. PROB 11/94, ff. 369v, 370v.
  • 10. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 475; HMC Downshire, iv. 191, 206.
  • 11. Add. 39245, ff. 12v, 34; APC, 1613-14, p. 77.