CONSTABLE, Sir Marmaduke II (by 1498-1560), of London and Nuneaton, Warws.

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 1498, 1st s. of Sir Robert Constable of Flamborough, Yorks. by Jane, da. of Sir William Ingleby of Ripley, Yorks.; bro. of Thomas. educ. ?M. or I. Temple. m. (1) by Apr. 1521, Elizabeth, da. of Thomas, Lord Darcy, 2s. 8da., (2) Margaret, da. of William Booth, s.p. Kntd. 25 Sept. 1523; suc. fa. June 1537.2

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (E. Riding) 1532-41, (W. Riding) 1538, Warws. 1542-5, 1554-d.; sewer extraordinary by 1533; steward, Bridlington priory, Yorks. by 1536; commr. benevolence, Warws. 1544/45, relief 1550; other commissions 1543-d.; gov. Nuneaton g.s. 1552.3


Although he is readily distinguishable in Yorkshire from others of his family who bore the same christian name, it is not clear whether Marmaduke Constable belonged to the Middle or Inner Temple, where persons of his name, but otherwise unidentifiable, were members in 1520 and 1528 respectively. The first unmistakable reference to Constable dates from 12 June 1519, when he was one of six grantees (Marmaduke Constable of Cliffe being another) to whom Francis Hastings and others conveyed the manors of Kingthorpe in Pickering and Roxby as feoffees for Constable’s brother-in-law Roger Cholmley. When, probably in 1521, Constable married Elizabeth Darcy, the bride’s father was at pains to complete the payment of his dowry in view of Sir Robert Constable’s ‘troublous and dangerous’ disposition.4

In 1536 both Constable’s father and father-in-law were involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace, while his uncle also showed sympathy with the movement although avoiding implication in it. Constable himself held aloof and was evidently not at Pontefract when his father and father-in-law espoused the rebel cause. Trusted by the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, he was one of those whom the duke summoned to his side when he was despatched north for the second time after Hallam’s rising. Yet he remained on good terms with his father, who wrote to him after this further outbreak acquainting him with the promises made by the King and desiring him to persuade the commonalty to return to their homes. Among Constable’s services at this stage was his warning to the prior of Bridlington of the approach of the rebels.5

The failure of the rising put the family’s fortunes in jeopardy. Constable’s wife, from whom he had been estranged for upwards of two years, thought the time suitable for a letter to Cromwell complaining of the ill treatment meted out to her by her husband. Then the match which he and his father had recently arranged between his son and heir Robert and Sir William Gascoigne’s daughter seemed in danger of foundering, for Gascoigne was perturbed at the prospective forfeiture of the Constable lands. It was amidst all this that Constable had to try to help his doomed father. While the prisoner petitioned the King, he himself sought the intervention of Queen Jane Seymour, of her brother Lord Beauchamp and of the 1st Earl of Rutland. None of these pleas availed and Sir Robert Constable was executed. Although Constable’s attempt to save his patrimony also failed, the family’s subsequent treatment by the crown was less severe. The lands settled on Constable’s son when he married Dorothy Gascoigne were entrusted to Sir William Gascoigne until the young Robert Constable reached the age of 16, and in 1540 Constable himself had a grant of lands in Warwickshire: some of these he sold almost at once, but he also added to them by purchase. The few Yorkshire lands remaining to him he exchanged with the crown in 1546, and thereafter he seems to have spent little time in the north.6

Constable’s later career was less momentous. He served on commissions in his adopted county but was not pricked sheriff. His two elections as knight of the shire may have owed something to the favour of Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and Duke of Somerset. It was to Seymour and his sister that Constable had turned on his father’s behalf in 1537: Seymour was in the ascendant when Constable was first elected in 1545, and it was during the closing months of Seymour’s Protectorate that he was by-elected in place of Robert Burdett, who died in January 1549 and of whose will he was a supervisor. A newcomer to Warwickshire, he could probably also have relied on local support, especially that of Sir George Throckmorton, who had perhaps secured the return of Burdett: Throckmorton, a Middle Templar, had been Sir Marmaduke Constable I’s associate in the Parliament of 1529 as one of the group which met at the Queen’s Head. Although he did not sit again, Constable was to be the subject of a private Act (1 Mary st.2, no.28) restoring him in blood: one of a number of such Acts passed in Queen Mary’s first Parliament, it was followed by a further attempt on his part to recover his patrimony. Despite a plea by the surviving feoffees that his father had dispossessed them, the attempt came to nothing and Constable had to relieve his growing indebtedness by selling some of his lands and surrendering others to the crown. It was only after his death that his son succeeded in having the claim accepted.7

In March 1560 Constable’s son and heir Robert entered into a bond of £1,000 to his father and stepmother, probably as security for the performance of Constable’s will. If the will was made it has not been traced, but Constable is known to have died in April or May and to have been buried in the chancel of Nuneaton church on 20 June 1560.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Dugdale, Warws. ii. 1069; Vis. N. Counties (Surtees Soc. xli), 68-69; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 65; C142/128/96; LP Hen. VIII, iii.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, v, x, xii-xiv, xvi, xvii, xx; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 20, 75; 1550-3, p. 293; 1553, p. 360; 1553-4, p. 25.
  • 4. M.T. Recs. i. 61, 73; Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 90, 92; LP Hen. VIII, ii, iv, xii; NRA 14941 (N. Riding RO, ZPK/2); VCH Yorks. (N. Riding), ii. 405-6; M. H. and R. Dodds, Pilgrimage of Grace, i. 45-48.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, viii, x-xii; Dodds, ii. 72, 103, 206.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, xi, xiii, xv, xvii, xxi, add.; Dodds, ii. 206; VCH Warws. ii. 69, 220; iv. 166-7; vi. 59, 114, 241; C142/128/96.
  • 7. CPR, 1554-5, p. 256; 1557-8, pp. 275, 390; 1558-60, p. 348; Dyer, Reps. (1794), i. 101b; E314/16 file of debts; 315/111, ff. 62-67; 321/5/27, 13/12, 13; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 148; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, iii(1), 84.
  • 8. Coventry statute merchant rolls 46; CPR, 1558-60, p. 447; C142/128/96; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 234, 238; Dugdale, ii. 1069; VCH Warws. iv. 170.