TATE, Sir William (1559/60-1617), of Delapré Abbey, Northants.

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

b. 1559/60, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Bartholomew Tate† of Delapré Abbey and 2nd w. Dorothy, da. of Francis Tanfield of Gayton, Northants.;1 bro. of Francis*. educ. Magdalen Hall, Oxf. 1576, aged 17; Staple Inn; M. Temple 1579.2 m. 1597, Elizabeth (d.1617), da. and coh. of Edward, 11th Lord Zouche, 4s. 3da. suc. fa. 1601;3 kntd. 2 Feb. 1606.4 d. 14 Oct. 1617.5 sig. W[illiam] Tate.

Offices Held

J.p. Northants. and Warws. 1601-d.; commr. subsidy, Northants. (Western div.) 1602, 1610;6 v.-adm. (jt.) Isle of Purbeck, Dorset 1602-at least 1605;7 sheriff, Northants. 1603-4;8 freeman, Northampton, Northants. 1604,9 commr. musters, Northants. 1605, inquiry into Gunpowder plotters’ lands 1606;10 dep. lt. Northants. 1607-d.;11 commr. depopulation 1607;12 collector, tenths, Northants. (Western div.) 1607-8, aid 1609, 1612;13 commr. gaol delivery, Northampton 1609-d., swans, Rivers Nene and Ouse 1610.14


Originally from Coventry, Tate’s forbears made their fortune as London brewers: three served as lord mayor between 1473 and 1515, one of whom, Sir John Tate, represented the City in the 1504 and 1510 parliaments. The family bought Delapré Abbey, Northamptonshire in 1548. Educated with his younger brother Francis*, Tate was probably intended for a legal career until the death of his elder brother in 1580 left him as heir.15

Tate was returned for Corfe Castle in 1593 on the interest of the manorial lord, his cousin Sir William Hatton alias Newport†. When the latter’s estates were seized by the Crown in the following year for payment of debts of £42,000 owed by the late Sir Christopher Hatton†, Tate and his brother were granted a lease of the extent. Despite the parliamentary patronage thus placed at his disposal, he did not sit again until 1614; in any case, his tenure as sheriff of Northamptonshire rendered him ineligible in 1604. In February 1605 he signed the petition against the deprivation of ministers who refused to subscribe to the new ecclesiastical canons, but quickly submitted when summoned before the Privy Council. He was otherwise a conspicuously loyal Crown servant: in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot he conducted a rigorous search at Harrowden, seat of the Catholic Lord Vaux; and when a controversy arose over purveyance in 1613, he urged co-operation with the purveyors, ‘lest we should seem wholly opposite to give respect in extraordinary necessities to supply of His Majesty’s wants’.16

Appointed a deputy lieutenant in 1607, Tate gradually took over the leadership of Northamptonshire’s western division from Sir Richard Knightley*, and despite health problems he succeeded the latter as knight of the shire in 1614.17 He made no recorded speeches in the Commons, but was named to several committees: he was one of the delegation appointed to confer with the Lords about the bill settling the succession rights of Princess Elizabeth’s children (14 Apr.); and was also appointed to the committee drafting a petition which condemned the new order of baronetcy as ‘dishonourable to the state’ (23 May). Towards the end of the session he was included on three committees appointed to consider what action to take in the escalating privilege dispute with the Lords over Bishop Neile’s criticism of the Commons’ debates on impositions (27 May, 30 May, 1 June).18

Tate died at Delapré on 14 Oct. 1617. He bequeathed £1,500 apiece to his younger sons and up to £2,000 to each of his daughters. He also made his father-in-law, Edward, 11th Lord Zouche both his executor and guardian of his heir, Zouche Tate, who sat for Northampton in the Short and Long Parliaments until his exclusion at Pride’s Purge.19

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Simon Healy


  • 1. Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 199. Bartholomew was clearly the eldest: Al. Ox.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.; MTR, 292.
  • 3. C142/265/58.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 139.
  • 5. C142/365/149.
  • 6. Musters, Beacons, Subsidies ed. J. Wake (Northants. Rec. Soc. iii), 83; E179/157/398.
  • 7. C181/1, ff. 24, 117.
  • 8. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 94.
  • 9. Northants. RO, Northampton Bor. Recs. 3/1, f. 307v.
  • 10. Ibid. f. 130v; Musters, Beacons, Subsidies, 119-21.
  • 11. Northants. RO, W(A)4/VII/11J.
  • 12. C181/2, f. 30v.
  • 13. E359/5; E401/2409, 401/2419, 401/2420.
  • 14. C181/2, ff. 90v, 117v, 260v.
  • 15. Bridges, Northants. i. 365; MTR, 227; Vis. Northants. 141, 198-9.
  • 16. C66/1442/15; SP14/12/69; HMC Hatfield, xvii. 491, 496; CSP Dom. 1603-11, p. 256; HMC Buccleuch, iii. 154.
  • 17. HMC Buccleuch, iii. 160, 164; Northants. Ltcy. Pprs. ed. J. Goring and J. Wake (Northants. Rec. Soc. xxvii), pp. xiii-xiv.
  • 18. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 82, 322, 365, 381, 405; Add. 34218, f. 120.
  • 19. PROB 11/130, ff. 479v-82v; WARD 9/162, f. 273v.