VENABLES, Richard (c.1573-1621), of Andover, Hants.

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



1621 - 25 Aug. 1621

Family and Education

b. c.1573,1 2nd s. of Nicholas Venables of Andover and Joan, da. of one Pescodd of Walberton, Suss., wid. of Arthur Bold of Petersfield, Hants.2 m. 14 Jan. 1594,3 Dorothy (d. 11 Oct. 1612),4 da. of Richard Brooke of Whitchurch, Hants 3s. 4da.5 suc. fa. in Hants estate 1603.6 d. 25 Aug. 1621.7

Offices Held

Chamberlain, Andover 1598-9, capital burgess 1599-d., bailiff 1604-5;8 collector for repair of Winchester castle hall, Andover division 1610;9 commr. sewers, Winchester, Hants 1617.10


Venables’s father owned lands in Sussex, but moved to Andover after a fortunate marriage that brought him leases of former chantry lands and the royal forest of Chute.11 Although a younger son, Venables received his father’s Hampshire property as part of his marriage settlement to the sister of Thomas Brooke*.12 In 1598 Venables’s uncle, a Merchant Taylor of London, bequeathed £100 to Andover to endow a weekly distribution of bread to the deserving poor; however, the ‘masters and chief inhabitants’, decided that the money could be better spent on acquiring a charter, and bought off Venables with a seat on the new corporation.13 He seems to have subsequently regretted this misappropriation, particularly after his uncle’s widow died leaving the residue of her estate for the relief of deprived ministers. In 1610 Venables therefore entered a bill in Chancery to coerce the ten members of the corporation, including himself and Peter Noyes*, to repay £10 each so that the original intention of the bequest might be fulfilled.14 The reply of his fellow corporation members was that he was concerned only ‘to make a show unto the world that his charity and devotion should exceed others’, and the case was dismissed.15

Venables made £3,000 profit from his lease of chantry lands, which he renewed with some difficulty in 1607. The renewal was stiffly opposed by the 7th Baron Saye and Sele, who claimed descent from a sister of the founder of Winchester College, William of Wykeham, and desired the lease for himself. It was alleged that Venables, ‘a fellow ... of small deservings’, had mismanaged the estates and felled 1,500 timber trees in Chute forest. Venables had to make over some property in Dorset to lord treasurer Salisbury (Robert Cecil†) to secure a favourable decision from the Privy Council, and even then he obtained an extension of only ten years.16 In 1610 he was reprimanded for slackness and negligence of his duties as a collector for the repair of the castle hall at Winchester, having extracted merely 18d. from the entire division.17 He became the guardian of his brother-in-law Brooke’s 11 young orphans in 1612, and a year later successfully sued Sir Richard Paulet* for encroachments upon Brooke’s estates.18

Venables was elected for Andover in 1614, together with Noyes. He delivered his maiden speech in the debate on Alderman William Cockayne’s project for dressing and dyeing cloth on 20 May 1614, when he proposed that the Merchant Adventurers’ charter should be called in, ‘and that to be done which is fittest for the Commonwealth’.19 His only committee was for bills to exclude brewers and tipplers from the magistracy and to repress drunkenness (31 May).20 He was re-elected in 1620 with his cousin John Shuter, but left no trace on the records of the third Jacobean Parliament. He did not live to take part in the winter sitting, as he died on 25 Aug. 1621, and was buried in Andover church.21 In his will, dated two weeks before his death, Shuter was named as executor; both his younger sons were generously provided for, and an unmarried daughter received a portion of £500.22 No other member of the family entered Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. E134/10 Jas.I/Easter 6.
  • 2. PROB 11/89, f. 233v; Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 190.
  • 3. C142/294/78.
  • 4. B.B. Woodward and T.C.Wilkes, Hist. Hants, iii. 178.
  • 5. Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 190; PROB 11/138, f. 129.
  • 6. C142/294/78; PROB 11/101, f. 157.
  • 7. C142/388/60.
  • 8. Hants RO, 37M85/4/AC/2; R.A. Jones, Andover Members, 6-7; Andover Charters ed. E. Parsons, 20.
  • 9. Whithed Letter Bk. (Hants Rec. Soc. i), 81.
  • 10. C181/2, f. 297.
  • 11. Suss. Deeds and Docs. ed. W. Budgen (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxix), 31-32; Feet of Fines ed. E.H.W. Dunkin (Suss. Rec. Soc. xx), 456.
  • 12. C142/294/78; PROB 11/101, f. 157.
  • 13. PROB 11/92, f. 87v; C2/Jas.I/V1/3.
  • 14. SP14/37/113; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 471.
  • 15. C2/Jas.I/V1/3.
  • 16. SP46/68, f. 106; CSP Dom. Addenda, 1580-1625, pp. 471, 488; HMC Hatfield, xviii. 266, 442; xix. 501, xx. 47.
  • 17. Whithed Letter Bk. (Hants Rec. Soc. i), 81.
  • 18. C2/Jas.I/V2/68.
  • 19. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 301.
  • 20. Ibid. 394.
  • 21. C142/388/60; VCH Hants, iv. 355; D.K. Coldicott, ‘Nicholas Venables and his Fam.’, Lookback at Andover, ii. 74-84.
  • 22. PROB 11/138, f. 129.