VAUGHAN, Sir Walter (c.1572-1639), of Falstone House, Bishopstone, Wilts.

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



11 Feb. 1606

Family and Education

b. c.1572,1 o.s. of Thomas Vaughan of Bredwardine, Herefs. and Dunraven, Pembrey, Carm. and Catherine, da. of Sir Thomas Jones of Abermarles, Carm. m. (1) (with £1,000) Anne, da. of Richard Hannam of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, 1s. (Sir Charles*) d.v.p. 1da.;2 (2) c.1592, Margaret, da. of Samuel Norton of Abbots Leigh, Som., 2s.;3 (3) by 1597 Dorothy (d. 3 Oct. 1639), da. of William Pole I†of Shute, Devon, wid. of Thomas Erle (d.1597) of Charborough, Dorset, s.p.4 suc. fa. 1584,5 gt. uncle Charles Vaughan†1597;6 kntd. 27 June 1603.7 d. 7 May 1639.8 sig. Walt[er] Vaughan.

Offices Held

J.p. Wilts. 1597-d.,9 sheriff 1599-1600;10 commr. oyer and terminer, Wilts. 1603, 1604, Western circ. 1629,11 Hants, Wilts. and Dorset 1630-6,12 sewers, Hants and Wilts. 1605, 1629,13 Wilts. and Som. 1630,14 subsidy, Wilts. 1608, 1610, 1621-2, 1624, 1628-9;15 capt., militia horse, 1608-10;16 dep. lt. by 1611-at least 1633;17 commr. swans, W. circ. 1629,18 charitable uses, Wilts. 1632.19

Member, Virg. Co. 1610.20


Vaughan’s family had been settled at Bredwardine, Herefordshire for at least seven generations. His father, who inherited at least 18 manors in Brecon and Glamorgan, moved to Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, where Vaughan was born in about 1572.21 A minor at his father’s death in 1584, Vaughan secured the bulk of his Welsh properties on reaching his majority in about 1593. The promise of this inheritance undoubtedly facilitated his marriage to Anne Hannam, while her relations - her uncle Sir Thomas Hannam†, then recorder of Weymouth, and cousin Sir Francis Popham*- may have added weight to Vaughan’s status. In 1597 Vaughan inherited the Wiltshire manor of Falstone, near Salisbury, from his great-uncle Charles, surveyor of the estates of the 1st and 2nd earls of Pembroke.22 The ancient moated and castellated manor house thereafter became his principal residence.23

With a Wiltshire estate, and probably the support of the 2nd earl of Pembroke, Vaughan was immediately appointed to the commission of the peace, and though a newcomer, was pricked sheriff two years later. Despite the proximity of Falstone to several parliamentary boroughs, he is not known to have sought election in 1604, nor is he likely to have merited consideration for a county seat. It is thus surprising that he should have been returned as knight of the shire in February 1606, at a by-election caused by the disallowance of Sir Thomas Thynne’s return.24 Vaughan showed little interest in the work of the House, making no recorded speeches, and being appointed to just 12 bill committees. Three of these concerned Wiltshire estate bills (1 Apr. and 26 Nov. 1606; 14 June 1610), while a fourth dealt with a Kentish estate (12 Mar. 1610).25 Vaughan’s nomination to the committee for the bill concerned with the maintenance of a Dorchester almshouse (17 Feb. 1610) may be explained by his inheritance of property in Dorset. His appointment to the Minehead harbour bill committee (23 Feb. 1610), in which measure he had no known interest, may have been because Sir Francis Popham, his fellow committeeman and Wiltshire MP, owned land in the locality.26 Vaughan’s remaining bill committees concerned delays in executions (8 May 1606), the liability of entailed lands to payment of debts (22 Feb. 1610), clerical subscription and ecclesiastical jurisdiction (both 14 Mar. 1610), the export of iron ordnance (16 Mar. 1610), and the confirmation of titles to contractors for Crown lands (5 July 1610).27 Vaughan’s only other mention in the records of the House was on 15 Feb. 1610, when he was one of those ordered to attend the conference with the Lords at which lord treasurer Salisbury (Robert Cecil†) set out the financial needs of the Crown.28

Vaughan’s career outside Parliament is obscure. He subscribed £37 to the Virginia Company in 1610, but made no payment, despite legal processes against him, until 1620.29 In Wiltshire he was a conscientious, or perhaps over-zealous, magistrate and deputy lieutenant: in January 1625 the Privy Council commended his arrest of soldiers who had deserted while en route to Dover, and for sentencing a number of them to death as a deterrent to others.30 A few months later other Wiltshire deputy lieutenants accused him of forcing local constables to advance £200 towards the cost of levying extra soldiers, although most of these men were not needed and were sent home soon afterwards.31 However, in the summer of 1626 he was among those justices who objected to a royal request for a Benevolence of £5,079 from the county, on the grounds that it had not been approved by Parliament.32

Vaughan died, intestate, on 7 May 1639. His son and heir, Sir Charles*, predeceased him without issue, and the estate went to his second son, Sir George, who served as royalist sheriff for Wiltshire in 1643, and was wounded at the battle of Lansdown.33 Falstone was sequestered in 1645 and subsequently garrisoned by parliamentary forces. It became the county base for the assessors of composition fines on royalists’ personal property, whose compiled notebooks were known as the Falstone Day Book.34 In October 1649 the house and its battlements were razed on orders from Parliament, and soon afterwards Sir George, having moved to Pembrey, sold the site to the 4th earl of Pembroke (Sir Philip Herbert*).35

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Henry Lancaster


  • 1. Date calculated from age of son George at 1623 visitation.
  • 2. Vis. Dorset (Harl. Soc. xx), 50.
  • 3. Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv-cvi), 201.
  • 4. Burke LG, i. 349-50; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 603; Wilts. IPMs ed. G.S. and A.E. Fry (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 430.
  • 5. PROB 11/67, f. 12v.
  • 6. PROB 11/89, f. 254.
  • 7. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 111.
  • 8. Wilts. IPMs, 430.
  • 9. C231/1, f. 37v; Wilts. RO, A1/100, f. 26; C66/1549.
  • 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 154.
  • 11. C181/1, f. 137; 181/3, f. 259; 181/4, f. 12; C231/1, f. 74.
  • 12. C181/4, ff. 43, 52, 70v, 78v, 87, 89, 97, 101, 112, 143v, 169, 193; C181/5, ff. 93, 209.
  • 13. C181/1, f. 103; 181/4, f. 17v.
  • 14. C181/4, f. 49.
  • 15. SP14/31/1; E179/199/370; 179/199/398; C212/22/21-3; Add. 34566, f. 132.
  • 16. Earl of Hertford’s Ltcy. Pprs. ed. W.P.D. Murphy (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 115, 165.
  • 17. Ibid. 172; SP16/247/17.
  • 18. C181/4, f. 2.
  • 19. C93/13/17.
  • 20. Recs. Virg. Co. ed. S.M. Kingsbury, ii. 45.
  • 21. Wilts. IPMs, 196-7; R.C. Hoare, Hist. Wilts. ‘Downton’, 8; IGI, Carm.
  • 22. Survey of Lands of 1st Earl of Pembroke ed. C. Straton (Roxburghe Club), pp. xxxix, 1.
  • 23. J. Aubrey, Natural Hist. of Wilts. 101-2; E179/198/329.
  • 24. VCH Wilts. xi. 8; C219/35/2/105, 110; CJ, i. 257a.
  • 25. CJ, i. 291b, 438b.
  • 26. Ibid. 394b, 399a.
  • 27. Ibid. 398b, 410a, 412b, 446a.
  • 28. Ibid. 393b.
  • 29. C2/Jas.I/V2/27, 69; Recs. Virg. Co. ii. 45, 339.
  • 30. APC, 1623-5, p. 446.
  • 31. SP14/185/21.
  • 32. Wilts. Arch. Mag. ii. 188; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne Pprs. (IHR microfilm), viii. f. 127.
  • 33. P.R. Newman, Roy. Officers in Eng. and Wales, 385.
  • 34. Add. 22084-5.
  • 35. Ludlow’s Mems. ed. C.H. Firth, i. 117, 124; CCC, 777, 2076.