COLSHILL, Robert (by 1534-79/80), of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Mdx.

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 1534, s. of William Colshill by Catherine, da. and coh. of John West; bro. of Thomas.2

Offices Held

Exigenter in ct. of common pleas 5 Oct. 1558-1 Feb. 1561; gent. pens. by 1563-d.; sheriff and bailiff, Glastonbury, Som. 1568; ?keeper, Exmoor forest by 1570; j.p.q. Devon, Dorset, Mdx. and Som. 1579.3


Although he was probably brought up in Essex nothing has come to light about Robert Colshill’s early career, but it was as ‘a servant of the King and Queen’ that in April 1557 he was commissioned to provide labourers and building materials for the crown. It was in consideration of his service that Colshill was appointed exigenter in the court of common pleas the following year. The office was normally in the gift of the chief justice and Colshill’s patent stated that the appointment was made during the vacancy caused by (Sir) Robert Broke’s death. Broke’s successor, Anthony Browne II refused to admit Colshill, granting the office to his own nephew Scroggs, and when the dispute came to trial at the end of 1559 the judges upheld Browne’s claim. Elizabeth tried to set the judgment aside, and it was not until February 1561 that Colshill finally surrendered his patent.4

Colshill probably owed his return for two Sussex boroughs to the Parliaments of 1555 and 1558 to his relationship with Sir Thomas Palmer of Parham, Sussex, a servant of the 12th Earl of Arundel. Nothing is known of his role in the Commons at this time save for the negative evidence that in the Parliament of 1555 he was not among those who followed the lead of Sir Anthony Kingston in opposing one of the government’s bills. In the following reign, although he may have owed his three further returns to Arundel’s patronage, Colshill also attached himself at court to the Earl of Leicester and later to Sir Christopher Hatton. He was dead by 21 Apr. 1580 when administration of his property was granted to Hatton and to his brother Thomas Colshill.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Presumed to be of age at election. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiv), 562.
  • 3. CPR, 1557-8, p. 460; 1566-9, pp. 207-8, 321; E407/1/3-12.
  • 4. CPR, 1555-7, pp. 314, 370; M. Hastings, Ct. of Common Pleas, 151; J. Dyer, Reports, ed. Vaillant, 175.
  • 5. F. Chamberlain, Elizabeth and Leycester, 171-2; E. St. J. Brooks, Hatton, 68-69, 158, 389; PCC admons. act bk. 1580, f. 195.