COSWORTH, John (by 1516-75), of London and Cosworth, nr. St. Columb, Cornw.

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 1516, 2nd s. of Robert Cosworth of Cosworth by Mary, da. of John Wolver(s)ton or Wolvedon of Golden in Probus. m. lic. 13 Jan. 1545, Dorothy, da. of Sir William Locke of London, wid. of Otwell Hill of London, 7s. inc. Edward and Thomas 1da. suc. nephew John Cosworth Jan. 1568.1

Offices Held

Jt. (with Sir Edward Waldegrave) receiver-gen. duchy of Cornw. Nov. 1553-Feb. 1554, sole Feb.1554-Mar. 1572; portreeve, Mitchell, Cornw. 1553-4.2


The Cosworth family took its name from the village where it had been seated for several generations; not far away at Trerice lived a branch of the powerful Arundell clan, and these two neighbouring families were on excellent terms. John Cosworth was sent to London to make his fortune as a younger son; he became a member of the Mercers’ Company, prospered, married the widow of a wealthy mercer and obtained a grant of arms in 1547. His business was an extensive one, concerned mainly with silks and velvets for the crown and the nobility,who noted him to be ‘a very honest man’. He invested the profits of his trade in land and tinworks in Cornwall, where he leased a manor in Launceston as early as 1537, and was active in a syndicate speculating on the land market. At the beginning of Mary’s reign the crown owed Cosworth over £2,200, and possibly he utilized this debt to procure a joint grant from the Queen of the receiver-generalship of the duchy of Cornwall together with Sir Edward Waldegrave (whose interest in the office he purchased almost outright in 1554) since the money was made payable to him out of its revenues. Within a year of his appointment he was chosen to sit for Lostwithiel, the borough in Cornwall where the duchy had its administrative centre,and it was as a leading duchy official that he was also returned there and at Penryn on three later occasions. He gave up his business in London early in Elizabeth’s reign, but he continued to be active in the affairs of the duchy almost until his death in December 1575.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Cornw. ed. Vivian, 104; Vis. Cornw. (Harl. Soc. ix), 50; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. i), 16; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. cix, cx), 19; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 71; Mar. Lic. Fac. Off. (Harl. Soc. xxiv), 3; E. H. W. Dunkin, Mon. Brasses Cornw. 40-41; PCC 27 Spert.
  • 2. CPR, 1553-4, pp. 206, 235; 1569-72, p. 476; C219/21/31.
  • 3. F. E. Halliday, Richard Carew of Antony, 19, 220, 312; Gent. Mag. xcix(2), 216; LP Hen. VIII, xii-xiv; PCC 27 Spert, 3 Carew; Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 63; Duchy Cornw. RO, E6.1/9v, 228/7; CPR, 1549-51, pp. 201-2; Truro mus. HP1/3.