EGERTON, Sir Roland (aft. 1574/bef. 1581-1646), of Farthinghoe, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. bet. 1574 and 1581, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir John Egerton* of Oulton and Egerton, Cheshire, and Wrinehill, Staffs. and 1st w. Margaret,1 da. of Sir Roland Stanley of Hooton and Storeton, Cheshire. educ. L. Inn 1615.2 m. 10 Dec. 1608, (with £3,000) Bridget (d. 28 July 1648),3 da. of Arthur, 14th Lord Grey of Wilton, sis. and coh. of Thomas, 15th Lord Grey of Wilton, 6s. incl. Sir Philip†, 3da.4 suc. fa. 1614.5 kntd. 14 Mar. 1617;6 cr. bt. 5 Apr. 1617.7bur. 3 Oct. 1646.8
Egerton was descended from an ancient family that had settled in Cheshire as early as the eleventh century.11 His father, Sir John, had considerably extended the family’s holdings by extensive purchases of properties in Staffordshire, Cheshire and Flintshire.12 In December 1608 Sir John devolved several of these properties on Sir Roland, his eldest surviving son, on the latter’s marriage to Bridget, daughter of Arthur, Lord Grey of Wilton, who had died heavily indebted, leaving his children ‘very meanly provided for’.13 Sir Roland enjoyed the profits of these properties until the extraordinary will of his father set in motion one of the most celebrated inheritance disputes of the age. Sir John Egerton left to his wife a house in St. Giles, Cripplegate, and all other lands and manors of his extensive estate to his cousin Edward Egerton, ‘without any remembrance of any child save £300 by year for life to his younger son.’14 Sir John had purchased the manors of Wrinehill and Cheddleton, Staffordshire, from his cousin in 1595 to help him overcome his financial difficulties, and in return Edward had conveyed his estates to Sir John should he die without issue.15 Ownership of Wrinehill, which was worth £600 p.a. and had been conveyed to Sir Roland as part of his marriage settlement, was immediately contested by both parties.16 In May 1614 Edward Egerton’s mediator, Sir Roger Mostyn*, commented that ‘Sir John has by death put his own at wars. Wrinehill is kept with force by two companies, Roland Egerton possesses himself of the chief house, Mr. Edward Egerton the garden houses and all the out houses.’17
In December 1615 Lord Chancellor Ellesmere (Thomas Egerton I†) decreed that Sir Roland’s claims to Wrinehill, based on Sir John’s settlement of 1608, preceded those of Edward Egerton, and that both claimants should hold the lands owned by their fathers until the Prerogative Court reached a decision on the remaining estates.18 Edward Egerton, contesting this decree, filed successive suits in Chancery for redress.19 After another unfavourable decree he approached the new lord chancellor, Sir Francis Bacon*, offering him £400 and a silver basin worth £52. This gift formed the basis of the initial corruption charges made against Bacon in March 1621.20 Also implicated was Dr. Theophilus Field, the bishop of Llandaff and Bacon’s former chaplain, who had arranged to be paid £6,000 from Edward Egerton’s prospective estate in return for enlisting the help of the royal favourite, the marquess of Buckingham, to secure a favourable ruling.21 Such assistance was not, in the event, forthcoming, and Sir Roland’s possession of Wrinehill, supported by his own £500 payment to Bacon, was finally confirmed.22
This was by no means the end of the matter. In 1621 Edward Egerton laid before the Commons a bill to give him possession of the Wrinehill estate. He also bombarded Members with copies of an abridged version of the bill, drawn up by his solicitor. Copies of this breviat were also posted about London, while others were sold in booksellers. During the ensuing parliamentary inquiry Sir Roland was examined by the Lords.23Although the bill failed to progress Sir Roland was outraged at the tactics adopted by his opponent, and in 1622 brought an action for libel against Edward in Star Chamber.24 Moreover, after it was announced that there was to be a fresh Parliament in 1624, he moved to head off the renewed threat of legislation by seeking election to the Commons himself. Despite owning extensive properties in Northamptonshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire, he was returned for Wootton Bassett, a Wiltshire borough with which he had no known association.25He made no recorded speeches, and no pattern of interests can be discerned from the handful of committees to which he was appointed, which were to consider the naturalization of Sir Robert Anstruther (10 Apr.), to clear the purchase of the manor of Temple Newsam, Yorkshire by (Sir) Arthur Ingram* (16 Apr.), Sir Richard Burnaby’s estate (24 Apr.), and the London Brewers (19 May).26
By 1624 Egerton had settled in Farthingoe, in Northamptonshire, a manor that had been purchased from his father and won from Edward Egerton three years before.27 As a deputy Lieutenant for Northamptonshire he was notable for his consistent unwillingness to contribute to musters.28He rebuilt the tower of Farthingoe church, but work on the construction of a steeple failed to commence as he died suddenly of apoplexy. His family’s arms, almost identical to those of his distant relation John Egerton, 1st earl of Bridgewater, who resided at neighbouring Brackley, were placed above the south door.29 He left £2,000 marriage portion for his second daughter, and divided his properties equally among his four surviving sons. His second son, Sir John, inherited the baronetcy while his fifth son, Sir Philip, served in Parliament at the Restoration.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Henry Lancaster / Andrew Thrush
- 1. Ormerod, Cheshire, ii. 629.
- 2. LI Admiss.
- 3. J. Lodge, Peerage, i. 732; PROB 11/206, f. 93; STAC 8/128/11, pt. 2, f. 21; Cheshire IPMs 1603-60 ed. R. Stewart-Brown (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. lxxxvi), 6-7.
- 4. Baronetage of Eng. ed. E. Kimber and R. Johnson, i. 137; Ormerod, ii. 629; Vis. Staffs. (Harl. Soc. lxiii), 21.
- 5. CB, i. 108.
- 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 161.
- 7. SP14/90/40; SCL, EM 1284 (b); C66/2134/16.
- 8. Vis. Northants. (Harl. Soc. lxxxvii), 68.
- 9. HMC 4th Rep. 55.
- 10. CSP Dom. 1626-7, p. 527.
- 11. Add. 6171, f. 3; 5529, ff. 18v, 23v.
- 12. Ormerod, ii. 620, 626.
- 13. PROB 11/82, f. 263v.
- 14. PROB 11/131, f. 516; Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), ii. pt. i. 408; C142/401/104; NLW, 9061E/1458; G. Croke, Reps. ii. 346.
- 15. S.R. Gardiner, Hist. of Eng. iv. 60.
- 16. CD 1621, iv. 155-6.