AINSWORTH, Henry (by 1502-56/57), of Winkburn, Notts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. by 1502, s. of Richard Ainsworth of Preston, Lancs. by Elizabeth. m. (1) Elizabeth, (2) Anne; 2s. 1da.1

Offices Held

Clerk of the peace, Derbys. by Oct. 1523-by July 1537; coroner, Derby by Feb. 1534.2


No family of this name is known to have lived in Derbyshire at this time but the name was common in Lancashire. The Member may well have been Henry Ainsworth of Winkburn, who had moved from Lancashire to Nottinghamshire; less likely is his identification with his contemporary namesake, a well-connected gentlemen of Pleasington, Lancashire.3

Ainsworth’s career is also somewhat obscure. He must have had legal training, although he is not to be found at any inn of court. The clerkship of the peace for Derbyshire he perhaps owed to Sir John Porte, the future judge and father of the Member of that name, who was custos rotulorum for Derbyshire by 1526; the two men had been associated in August 1518 in the purchase of a wardship. Porte may also have had a hand in Ainsworth’s return to the Parliament of 1529. By 1534 Ainsworth was coroner for Derby, an appointment which if it had preceded the parliamentary election would have given him a municipal standing in itself sufficient to account for his Membership, as was evidently the case with his fellow, Thomas Ward II. Yet on this occasion the writ had reached the sheriff by way of the King at Windsor and it may have been sent with a nomination for the town to go with those which almost certainly accompanied it for the two shire places: in that event, Porte’s attachment to the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury could have operated in Ainsworth’s favour. Ainsworth and Ward were probably re-elected to the Parliament of 1536 in accordance with the King’s general request to that effect, and they may have been returned yet again in 1539, when the names of the Members for Derby are again lost.4

It was with Ward, among others, that in 1549 a Henry ‘Eynsworthe’ was holding land on the border of Derbyshire and Staffordshire formerly belonging to the chantry of Scropton, but there is no mention of these lands in the will which Henry Ainsworth of Winkburn made on 2 Apr. 1556. He bequeathed a third part of his lease of Winkburn manor to his wife, as long as she resided there, and the remaining two thirds, together with leases of lands in Preston and Ingol in Lancashire, to his son and executor, Ralph. The parish churches of Winkburn and Preston, ‘where I was born’, were to receive vestments and the parish priest of Winkburn was ‘to say de profundis for my soul, for the souls of Elizabeth and Anne my wife, and for the souls of Richard Ainsworth and Elizabeth my father and mother’. In the next reign an Anne Ainsworth of Etwall (formerly the domicile of the Porte family) was to be a recusant. The will was proved on 28 Jan. 1557.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Authors: C. J. Black / Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. N. Country Wills (Surtees Soc. cxvi), 236-7.
  • 2. E137/7/4; 372/367, 382; E. Stephens, Clerks of the Counties, 75; KB9/527/114.
  • 3. HMC Var. ii. 28-56; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxi), 29.
  • 4. C. J. Black, ‘Admin. and parlty. rep. of Notts. and Derbys. 1529-58’, (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1966), 99, 101; LP Hen. VIII, ii; Somerville, Duchy, i. 545.
  • 5. CPR, 1549-51, p. 92; N. Country Wills, 236-7; Derbys. Arch. Soc. Jnl. x. 61.