CRADOCK, Matthew (1519/20-90/92), of Stafford.

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. 1519/20, s. of Thomas Cradock of Stafford by Emma, da. of Nicholas Meverell. m. by 1546, Elizabeth, da. of one Peake, 5s. inc. Francis 5da.2

Offices Held

Bailiff, Stafford 1549-50, 1556-7, 1579-80, burgess by 1553; commr. musters 1580.3


Matthew Cradock followed family tradition, as did his brothers, by becoming a merchant of the staple. His father had begun to purchase lands in the vicinity of Stafford, notably at Brocton, and he was to add to them, chiefly after 1570: he may have built the house, of which only the stone chimneys survive, near the present Brocton Hall. For the subsidy of 1545 he was assessed in Stafford at the highest rate in the town, 26s.8d. In the following year he became involved in a lawsuit with one of his own suppliers for refusing some coarse wool which he regarded as poor.4

Both Matthew Cradock and Thomas Cradock, the latter presumably his father or brother, appear as electors on the Stafford indenture for the Parliament of March 1553, although on the next indenture only Thomas Cradock appears. A tear in the indenture for the election to the Parliament of November 1554 leaves only the surname ‘Cradock’ as that of the second Member, but he appears (this time in first place) as Matthew Cradock on a copy of the official list of Members of this Parliament as well as among those who were prosecuted for quitting it before its dissolution. For if, as is likely, Cradock’s election for a borough in the habit of returning nominees was a response to the crown’s directive in favour of resident Members, he did not fulfil the expectation which prompted that initiative. Found to be absent without leave when the House was called early in January 1555, he was prosecuted in the King’s bench. After he had failed to appear during the Michaelmas term and been distrained 40d., he appeared in person in Hilary 1556 to ask for and be given a day in the next term on which to answer. Failing to appear a second time, he was repeatedly distrained. The death of Mary stopped the case.5

After the fall of Calais, Cradock was one of the merchants of the staple who began to ship wool to Bruges: for doing this without a licence he received a pardon on to Aug. 1559 and leave to continue his shipments, a permission which was renewed in September 1560. He remained active in the affairs of Stafford and lived to see his son and heir Francis, whom he had educated as a lawyer, made recorder of Stafford and one of its Members in four Elizabethan Parliaments.6

Matthew Cradock was aged ‘70 years or thereabouts’ when on 31 Aug. 1590 he deposed in a lawsuit at Shrewsbury, but he died within a year or two as his widow was granted the administration of his goods on 30 Jan. 1593. According to the inquisition held in 1594 after the death of his son Francis, Cradock had died in the prebend at Marston, Staffordshire, but he was buried in St. Mary’s church, Stafford, where his father and a brother George also lay.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. The indenture (C219/23/116) is torn and only the surname is legible: the full name is given in Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age on 20 May 1546, ‘26 years or thereabouts’ (City of London RO, Guildhall, jnl. 15, f. 246v), and from that on 31 Aug. 1590, ‘70 years or thereabouts’ (Req.2/96/27). J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), i. 345 is inaccurate. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. 1885, p. 100; Add. 19125; C142/239/97.
  • 3. R. Chs. Stafford, ed. Bradley, 204; APC, xii. 45; Wm. Salt. Arch. Soc. 1882(2), p. 4.
  • 4. Wm. Salt. Arch. Soc. 1882(2), p. 4; 1885, p. 100; VCH Staffs. v. 3, 6, 93; C142/239/97; City of London RO, rep. 15, f. 246v; E179/177/137.
  • 5. KB27/1176-7, 1186-8.
  • 6. CPR, 1558-60, pp. 24, 411; Wm. Salt. Arch. Soc. (ser. 3) 1926, pp. 6-7.
  • 7. Req.2/96/27; PCC admons. act bk. 1581-95, f. 43; 59 Drake; C142/239/97.