CAVE, Francis (by 1502-83), of Godstone, Surr.; Baggrave and Leicester, Leics. and London.

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, 3rd or 4th s. of Richard Cave of Stanford, Northants. by 2nd w., and bro. of Sir Ambrose. educ. Louvain, matric. 3 Dec. 1522; Christ Church, Oxf. DCL by 1532; adv. Doctors’ Commons, adm. 14 Oct. 1533. m. disp. 18 Jan. 1539, Margaret, da. of Thomas Lisle of Surr., wid. of Edward Ashton of Godstone, 6s. inc. Thomas 2da.1

Offices Held

J.p. Leics. 1544-7 or later, q. 1554-d.; commr. benevolence 1544/45, relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; other commissions 1543-d.; eccles. commr. 1559, dioceses of Lincoln and Peterborough 1571, diocese of Lincoln 1575; custos rot. Leics. Feb. 1562-d.; loan collector, Leics. 1562.2


Francis Cave was a civilian who on graduating obtained a canonry at his Oxford college and the rectory of Bingham in Nottinghamshire, both of which he resigned in November 1538 in favour of Archbishop Cranmer’s chaplain John Barber. By the mid 1530s he had a flourishing legal practice, his clients including Thomas Cromwell and the 5th Earl of Northumberland. He helped to suppress religious houses in Leicestershire, receiving in 1539 a 21-year lease of Leicester abbey and much of its property. In 1543 he and his wife bought one of the abbey’s manors at Baggrave outright for £599, but four years later they surrendered the remainder of their lease of abbey property to the crown: after improvement Baggrave became Cave’s country residence.3

Cave’s return for Liverpool in 1547 reflected his advancement. He is not known to have had any personal links with Lancashire, but as the lessee of much monastic property near Leicester he was presumably well known in the duchy, which shared the parliamentary patronage of Liverpool with the 3rd Earl of Derby; Cave’s fellow-Member, Thomas Stanley, was a kinsman of the earl. It is likely that Cave was not the duchy’s first choice as his surname is written over an erasure on the indenture in a different hand: there is a slight presumption that the man originally named was Francis Goldsmith, a servant of Queen Catherine Parr, and later, like Stanley, a mint official, who was to sit in the Parliament for the Queen’s borough of Chippenham. Cave himself may have been superseded with like rapidity. On the list of Members revised for the final session of the Parliament in 1552 the second Member for Liverpool is given as Richard Taverner, the Protestant writer and preacher in favour with the Protector Somerset and the Duke of Northumberland. The reason for this second apparent replacement is not known. On the list Stanley is marked ‘mortuus’ but he outlived the Parliament, as did Cave by 31 years.4

Cave was to sit in one Elizabethan Parliament and as a supporter of the Anglican settlement he was active in Leicestershire affairs until his death. He died between 19 Mar. 1583, when he made his will, and the following November, when it was proved.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from that of younger brother. Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 11-12; Vis. Leics. (Harl. Soc. ii), 126; Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 107; D. G. Squibb, Doctors’ Commons, 147; Fac. Off. Reg. 1534-49, ed. Chambers, 170.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xii, xiii, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 85; 1550-3 to 1572-5 passim; information from Norah Fuidge; Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc. xxvi. 88.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xii-xiv, xvii; Squibb, 26; M. L. Robertson, ‘Cromwell’s servants’ (Univ. California Los Angeles Ph.D. thesis, 1975), 459-60.
  • 4. C219/19/50; Hatfield 207.
  • 5. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 30; PCC 15 Butts.