CHAMBERLAIN, George (by 1533-80 or later).

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1533, 2nd s. of Sir Leonard Chamberlain by 1st w. m. (1) or (2) Philippine, da. of Charles de l’Espinay, seigneur de Linges, at least 1s.; (2) or (1) Mary, da. of Moses Pring of Ghent; 3da.1

Offices Held


It may reasonably be assumed that the George Chamberlain returned for New Woodstock to the Parliament of November 1554 was the younger son of Sir Leonard Chamberlain, himself elected to the same Parliament as one of the knights for Oxfordshire, and not a cousin and namesake of Boddington, Northamptonshire, who seems to have had little to do with the senior line of the family. Nor was he another namesake living at Barnham Broom in Norfolk. The Journal does not mention Chamberlain, who was not one of those prosecuted in the King’s bench during 1555 for quitting the Parliament prematurely without leave.2

Chamberlain is said to have been brought up with Anthony Browne I, later Viscount Montagu, whose ‘servant’ he later became. In 1555 he may have accompanied his father to the Channel Islands, where five years later he obtained the fee-farm of Alderney for 1,000 years. In 1562 he was briefly imprisoned in the Tower and questioned about his contacts with Catholics abroad, particularly with his kinswoman Jane Dormer, Countess of Feria, but on his release he was entrusted with letters to and from his elder brother Francis, then governor of Guernsey, and named to a commission to establish the crown’s rights in Alderney in 1567 and to a panel to settle a dispute in Guernsey two years later. All that is known about his involvement in the northern rebellion is that the 2nd Earl of Southampton sent him to the bishop of Ross ‘for news of Scotland’, but on its collapse he fled abroad. By 5 Apr. 1570 he was at Louvain lamenting the plight of the English Catholics to Jane Dormer, and later in the year he travelled through France to Madrid, where Philip II gave him 300 ducats and sent him back to the Netherlands with letters for the Duke of Alva. He then seems to have settled in Ghent, where in 1580 he helped the Jesuits Campion and Persons to cross to England. No further certain trace of Chamberlain has been found. His son George, consecrated bishop of Ypres in 1626, became heir to the Chamberlain estates on the death (or at least the disappearance) of his cousin Sir Robert in or about 1616 but renounced the inheritance which would probably have been denied him in any case as a priest and an alien.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Presumed to be of age at election. Vis. Oxon. (Harl Soc. v), 236-7; Bodl. Top. Oxon, c. 206, p. 82; Biog. Studies (later Recusant Hist. ), ii. 84-85.
  • 2. Vis. Northants. (Harl. Soc. lxxxvii), 33; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 71; PCC 10 Arundell.
  • 3. La Société Guernesiaise, xvi. 236, 247-53; CSP Span. 1558-67, p. 241;Cath. Rec. Soc. i. 56; xxxix, pp. xiv, xv; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 163; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, pp. 15-468 passim; CPR, 1566-9, pp. 82-83, 443; Bodl. Top. Oxon. c.206, pp. 71-72, 82; HMC Hatfield, i. 562; ii. 26; iv. 8; vii. 474; Strype, Annals, ii(1), 66; ii(2), 549; Recs. Eng. Catholics, ed. Knox, 299; R. J. Stonor, Stonor, 243-8; Biog. Studies, ii. 84-85; Wood, Ath. Ox. ed. Bliss, i. 585.