Available from Boydell and Brewer
No names known for 1510-23
|(aft. Feb. 1533 not known)|
|JOHN SMITH I|
|1553 (Mar.)||ROGER FOWKE|
|JOHN SMITH II|
|1553 (Oct.)||JAMES ROLSTON 1|
|ROGER FOWKE 2|
|1554 (Apr.)||JAMES ROLSTON|
|1554 (Nov.)||SIR RALPH BAGNALL 3|
|RICHARD SMITH 4|
|1555||SIR NICHOLAS BAGNALL 5|
Leland described Newcastle-under-Lyme as a market town, with a castle ‘all ... down save one great tower’. The castle, manor and borough formed part of the honor of Tutbury in the duchy of Lancaster, to which the borough paid a fee-farm of £20; the stewardship of the manor was held in the early 16th century by the earls of Shrewsbury as stewards of the honor. Government was by a mayor and 12 aldermen, known as the ‘council of the town’, assisted by 24 burgesses and several officers. The jurisdiction of the duchy was exercised by the mayor, who presided over the ‘great and small inquests’. Borough records survive for the period.6
In 1624 it was claimed that in the time of Edward IV the franchise had been vested in the burgesses. The five indentures extant for the early 16th century are between the sheriff of Staffordshire and the mayor and burgesses: the indenture of 1547 describes the electors as the mayor, the two bailiffs and burgesses ‘to the number of 30 persons’, the others name only the mayor and less than 20 burgesses. The indentures of January 1545 and February 1553 give both the date of the election, held in the guildhall, and of the drawing up of the indenture. Newcastle claimed that in 1529 it had elected the incumbent mayor, Richard Robinson, and Richard Grey, but the sheriff returned Grey and John Peshall; two other mayors returned themselves, John Smith I and Sir Ralph Bagnall. William Stanford’s name was inserted on the indenture of 1547 in a different hand from that of the rest of the document.7
The earls of Shrewsbury used their position to sponsor a number of their kinsmen, dependants and servants. It may have been through his relative the 5th Earl that Henry Baron Stafford secured the return of William Stanford and Humphrey Welles, although Stafford’s own influence may have sufficed. Richard Hussey, who was connected with the Devereux family, was returned during the mayoralty of Viscount Hereford, but like Henry Broke, Thomas Egerton and John Peshall he had his own ties with the neighbourhood. The two leading families in Newcastle, Bagnall and Smith, furnished the remaining Members. Both Richard Grey and Peshall expected payment, but it is not known if they received any.
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. Bodl. e Museo 17.
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
- 4. Ibid.
- 5. C219/24/143 (name legible under ultra-violet light).
- 6. Leland, Itin. ed. Smith, v. 18-20; VCH Staffs. viii. 1-52 passim; Somerville, Duchy, i. 265, 279n, 550; T. Pape, Newcastle-under-Lyme, 1-8; DL5/5, f. 180v.
- 7. C219/18C/107, 19/91, 20/112, 22/70, 24/143.