SELBY, Sir William II (aft. 1557-1649), of Shortflatt, Northumb.; later of Winlaton, co. Dur.

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



12 May 1614

Family and Education

b. aft. 1557, 2nd s. of William Selby†, mercer and alderman of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb. and Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Gerard Fenwick of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; bro. of Sir George*.1 educ. ?Peterhouse, Camb. 1573; ?G. Inn 1576.2 m. Elizabeth, da. and h. of William Widdrington of Widdrington, Northumbs. 4s (1 d.v.p.); suc. bro. Sir George 1625. kntd. 20/26 Oct. 1613.3 bur. 3 Apr. 1649.4 sig. Will[i]am Selby.

Offices Held

Freeman, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1603;5 member, Hostmen’s Co., Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1614;6 j.p. Northumb. 1615-26/8;7 commr. survey, Crown manors, co. Dur. and Northumbs. 1621-2, subsidy, Northumbs. 1621-2, 1624, oyer and terminer, Cumbs., Northumb. and Westmld. 1624, Forced Loan, Northumb. 1626-7, sewers, co. Dur. 1630.8


While clearly identified on his election return as ‘Sir William Selby of Shortflatt’, Selby was one of three namesakes active in the administration of north-eastern England under the early Stuarts. Sir William Selby I*, a distant cousin, inherited large estates in north Durham, acquired property in Kent and died in 1612. The latter’s nephew, Sir William Selby†, was usually referred to as ‘Sir William Selby junior’ before his uncle’s death. After moving to Kent in 1612, he gradually disappeared from Northern commissions, in which he was generally referred to as plain ‘Sir William Selby’. Thereafter, this Member, who was knighted in 1613 and does not seem to have held local office before acquiring Shortflatt in 1611, was referred to as ‘Sir William Selby junior’.

As a newcomer among Northumberland landowners, Selby was an unusual choice for knight of the shire, a position habitually shared among the senior gentry. He was returned in May 1614 after the Commons unseated his elder brother, Sir George, who was deemed ineligible because he was sheriff of Durham. Sir William’s election, managed by another relation, Northumberland’s sheriff Sir Ralph Selby, was presumably intended to convey the freeholders’ displeasure at the rejection of their earlier choice.9 Selby left no trace on the records of the session, and though he joined the Newcastle Hostmen’s Company in 1614 and was appointed a justice of the peace in 1615, he did not stand for Parliament again. His wife’s recusancy led to his inclusion in the Commons’ lists of recusant officeholders in 1624 and 1626, but as his name was omitted in 1628, it seems likely that he had been removed from the county bench in the interim.10

In 1625 Selby inherited his brother’s lands in co. Durham, which included one of the largest coal-mining businesses on the Tyne, but disputes with Sir George’s widow over legacies burdened him with £11,000 worth of debt, which he cleared by selling part of the estate.11 Presumably too old to play any part in the Civil War, Selby survived until the spring of 1649. No will or administration has been found. The estates of his grandson and heir were briefly seized by the republican regime on the grounds that their owner was suspected of Catholicism, but the latter was eventually cleared. None of Selby’s descendants sat in Parliament.12

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Surtees, Hist. co. Palatine Dur. ii. 274
  • 2. Al. Cant.; GI Admiss.
  • 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 153.
  • 4. Surtees, ii. 274.
  • 5. Newcastle Freemen ed. M.H. Dodds (Newcastle-upon-Tyne Rec. Soc. iii), 6.
  • 6. Recs. Co. Hostmen ed. F.W. Dendy (Surtees Soc. cv), 268.
  • 7. S.J. Watts, From Border to Middle Shire, 61.
  • 8. C212/22/20-3; C181/3, ff. 38, 41v, 107; 181/4, f. 58; C193/12/2.
  • 9. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 40; C219/36/7.
  • 10. Recs. Co. Hostmen, 268; Watts, 61; LJ, iii. 396a; Procs. 1626, iv. 213; CD 1628, iv. 319.
  • 11. Recs. Co. Hostmen, 73; Surtees, ii. 274; CSP Dom. 1637, p. 159; 1637-8, pp. 387-8; 1640, p. 250.
  • 12. CCC, 2763; Surtees, ii. 274.