CROMPTON, Hugh (1571-1645), of Great Bedwyn, Wilts.
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Family and Education
Gentleman usher to Arbella Stuart by 1591-1615; servant to William Seymour*, 2nd earl of Hertford 1615-d.5
Crompton was descended from the junior branch of a family which settled at Stone Abbey, Staffordshire, after the Reformation.6 Although his father was a prominent London lawyer, there is no evidence that Crompton himself attended either university or the inns of court. By 1591 he had joined the household of Arbella Stuart, cousin to James VI, and as her gentleman usher was responsible for her household accounts.7 He was also present at her clandestine marriage to William Seymour in June 1610.8 The king refused to countenance a match between these two potential claimants to his throne, and all complicit parties, including Crompton, were imprisoned. After his mistress pleaded with the king for his release, Crompton was transferred from the Marshalsea to the more ‘healthful air’ of the Fleet.9 He was free by June 1611, when he conspired to help Arbella escape from the bishop of Durham’s custody. He joined her flight from London, but he and Arbella were seized by a royal ship on the approach to Calais, and Crompton was returned to the Fleet. Released in July 1613, he was soon afterwards re-imprisoned for sending money to the exiled Seymour and plotting to release Arbella from the Tower. He remained incarcerated until July 1615, shortly before Arbella’s death; he thereafter transferred his service to Seymour, who lived abroad until February 1616.10
Seymour’s rehabilitation when he returned was rapid, and he succeeded his grandfather as the 2nd earl of Hertford in 1621. Crompton, who remained in his service, was returned to the 1624 Parliament for Great Bedwyn, a borough under Hertford’s control. He made no speeches, and his only committee nomination was for a private bill to enable Hertford and his brother, Sir Francis Seymour*, to sell certain manors (10 March).11 Crompton died at Great Bedwyn, apparently unmarried, in August 1645.12 No will or administration has been found.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Henry Lancaster
- 1. IGI.
- 2. Vis. Staffs. ed. H. Grazebrook, 103.
- 3. PROB 11/155, f. 123; Oxford DNB sub Richard Crompton.
- 4. Coll. Top. et Gen. v. 33.
- 5. D. Durant, Arbella Stuart, 180, 209.
- 6. T. Harwood, Erdeswick’s Survey of Staffs. 38.
- 7. HMC Bath, iv. 215; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xix. 217-26.
- 8. S. Steen, Letters of Arbella Stuart, 65.
- 9. Harl. 7003, ff. 92-3.
- 10. CSP Ven. 1610-13, p. 165; Durant, 192-4, 201, 206, 209; Steen, 67, 69, 82, 92-3; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 546.
- 11. CJ, i. 681a.
- 12. HMC Bath, iv. 278.