BABINGTON, Anthony (by 1476-1536), of Dethick, Derbys. and Kingston-on-Soar, 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 1476, 1st s. of Thomas Babington of Dethick by Edith, da. of Ralph Fitzherbert of Norbury, Derbys. educ. I. Temple. m. (1) settlement 20 Mar. 1498, Elizabeth (d. Nov. 1505), da. and coh. of John Ormond of Alfreton, Derbys., 2s.; (2) by 1509, Catherine, da. of Sir John Ferrers of Tamworth, Staffs., wid. of Thomas Cotton ?of Hamstall Ridware, Staffs., 5s. 3da. suc. fa. 13 Mar. 1519. Kntd. aft. 3 Nov. 1529.2

Offices Held

Autumn reader, I. Temple 1513, treasurer 1520-1, gov. by July 1521-d.

J.p. Notts. 1511-d., Leics. 1515, Derbys. 1520-d.; commr. subsidy, Notts. 1512, 1514, 1515, Derbys. 1523, 1524; other commissions 1513-d.; recorder, Nottingham 1525-d.; steward to prior of the Knights of St. John in 1533; knight of the body by 1533; sheriff, Notts and Derbys. 1533-4; steward, Whitwick, Leics. at d. 3


Anthony Babington was descended from an ancient Northumbrian family, whose main branch settled in Derbyshire after the marriage of Thomas Babington to the heiress of Robert Dethick in the early 15th century. Throughout the remainder of that century the Babingtons consolidated their position, acquiring additional property in adjacent counties, participating in the affairs of both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and representing both shires and the borough of Nottingham in Parliament. On his father’s death Anthony Babington inherited the manors of Ashover, Dethick and Litchurch, together with the lease of other lands in Hartington, Derbyshire. The bulk of his Nottinghamshire estate lay south of Nottingham, on the borders of Derbyshire and Leicestershire. Its centre was the manor of Kingston, which he made his chief seat, and to which he added, by purchase, large areas of land in the neighbourhood and in Thrumpton, so that on his death it was valued at £40 a year. In 1507, on the death of Joan Ormond, his mother-in-law, he succeeded to a third part of the manors of Marnham and Osberton, which together with other lands around Tuxford gave him a considerable holding in north Nottinghamshire. Through this first marriage he also obtained a third portion of the manor of Alfreton in Derbyshire and certain lands in Northamptonshire.4

Babington followed his father to the Inner Temple and like him played a leading part in its affairs. He was Autumn reader in 1513 but ten years later, when appointed to read a second time, he refused, escaping a fine by undertaking ‘to make a book of all the statutes and rules necessary in the House of the Inner Temple’. It was his legal training and experience, rather than his gentle birth and inheritance, which shaped Babington’s career, procuring for him the recordership of Nottingham, an office which his father had held for many years and which he himself appears to have kept until his death. The Babington estates at Kingston, within a short distance of the town, had brought his family into close contact with borough affairs. In the county at large he was first nominated for the shrievalty in 1520.5

As recorder, Babington can have had little difficulty in 1529 in securing his own election at Nottingham. The King had asked for the writ to be sent to him, but even if he did not support Babington he is unlikely to have impeded him: Babington was one of those knighted at York Place during the first session of the Parliament. He may already have had some standing at court: his son John had been in the service of Cardinal Wolsey, presumably under the aegis of Babington’s kinsman-by-marriage and Wolsey’s treasurer Sir William Fitzwilliam of Milton, Northamptonshire. Nothing is known directly of the part Babington played in this Parliament but his name was included by Cromwelly—doubtless in error, it occurs twice—on a list drawn up probably in December 1534 and thought to be of Members with a particular, but unknown, connexion with the treasons bill, then on its passage through Parliament. His name also appears, with those of three other lawyers, on the dorse of an Act for continuing expiring laws passed in the following Parliament; to this he had doubtless again been returned for Nottingham, in accordance with the King’s general request for the re-election of the previous Members.6

Nothing has come to light about Babington’s attitude towards the momentous events of these years. His brother Sir John was turcopolier of the Knights of St. John and he himself was for a time steward to the prior of the order in 1533. He evidently took some interest in the state of the local monasteries, as is shown by his request to Cromwell in 1534 to ensure the election of one of the Lenton monks as prior there rather than an outsider, ‘for the house will prosper better than under a stranger’. After the passing of the Act dissolving the smaller monasteries (27 Hen. VIII, c.28) he besought the minister to spare Beauchief abbey, Yorkshire, despite its low value, because his wife’s ancestors lay there. Yet he was first and foremost a servant of the crown. In 1517 he had reported Sir Richard Sacheverell to the Council for maintaining men in livery contrary to the statute, and 15 years later he accused one Roger Dycker of speaking against the King. In the same year he took part in the suppression of Colwich priory, Staffordshire, and in 1535 he sat on the Nottinghamshire commission for tenths of spiritualities, accompanying Sir John Markham to Beauvale.7

Babington augmented and developed his property. Among his acquisitions were the lease of the rectory of Colston Basset and the lands in Rampton and Teyswell which he purchased from Richard Stanhope, and he was involved in several disputes over lands in Kingston. In 1513 he had enclosed 100 acres of land for sheep grazing. He also engaged in lead-mining.8

It was at Kingston that Babington died on 23 Aug. 1536. In his will, drawn up on 18 Feb. 1534 (when he was presumably attending the sixth session of the Parliament of 1529) and proved on 2 Sept. 1536, he divided his lands and possessions between his wife and sons, his eldest son Thomas receiving the bulk of the estate, part of which, to the value of £100 a year, had already been settled on him at his marriage to Catherine, daughter of Sir Henry Sacheverell. The testator’s own wife Catherine was to have a life interest in Kingston manor and all the Babington lands in Kingston and Thrumpton, together with an annuity of £40 out of the manors of Ashover and Litchurch. She and one of the younger sons were appointed executors and two sons-in-law, John Markham and George Pierrepont, supervisors. The widow died in the following year, having asked to be buried ‘in the new chapel’ of Kingston church ‘as near unto my husband as may be’ and charged her son and executor, John, to finish this chapel and to make an alabaster tomb over herself and her husband in the arch between it and the chancel. The Elizabethan conspirator who bore his name was Babington’s great-grandson.9

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: C. J. Black


  • 1. House of Lords RO, Original Acts 28 Hen. VIII, no. 6.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/34/2. Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 151-2; M. D. Babington and G. T. Clark, Babington Ped.; Cal. Anct. Deeds, vi. 340; Vis. Hunts. (Cam. Soc. xliii), 27; LP Hen. VIII, i; C142/59/10.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv-v, x; Statutes, iii. 84, 112, 172; C1/792/35-41; Nottingham Bor. Recs. iii. 464.
  • 4. DNB; Thoroton Soc. rec. ser. iii. 50-51; CIPM Hen. VII, iii. 368.
  • 5. Cal. I. T. Recs. i. passim; Nottingham Bor. Recs. iii. 464; LP Hen. VIII, iii; PCC 39 Hogen ptd. N. Country Wills, i (Surtees Soc. cxvi), 100-1.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, ii, iv, vi, vii. 1522 (ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v; Cal. I.T. Recs. i. p. xxxviii; Test. Vet. ed. Nicolas, ii. 668; House of Lords, Original Acts 28 Hen. VIII, no. 6.
  • 7. W. Porter, Kts. of Malta, 724; LP Hen. VIII, ii, v, vii, viii, x, add.; VCH Derbys. ii. 68; Elton, Policy and Police, 384.
  • 8. E. Young, Colston Bassett, 37; Thoroton Soc. rec. ser. iii. 166-8; C1/4/157, 289; St.Ch.2/3/21, 23-25, 266-71 Trans. Thoroton Soc. iv. 21; VCH Derbys. ii. 331; LP Hen. VIII, iv.
  • 9. C142/59/10; PCC 39 Hogen, 14 Dyngeley.