FAIRFAX, William (by 1531-97), of Gilling Castle and Walton, Yorks.

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 1531, 1st s. of Sir Nicholas Fairfax by 1st w. m. (1) Agnes, da. of George, Lord Darcy, s.p.; (2) c.1572, Jane, da. and h. of Brian Stapleton of Burton Joyce, Notts., 1s. Thomas. Kntd. 21 July 1560. suc. fa. 30 Mar. 1571.2

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (N. Riding) 1562-d., (E. and W. Ridings) 1579-d.; chief steward, former lands of St. Mary’s abbey, York and surveyor, Exchequer, Yorks. (N. Riding) 1571-d.; member, council in the north Nov. 1577-d.; commr. musters 1596.3


Boroughbridge lay within the duchy of Lancaster honor of Knaresborough but its parliamentary patronage was shared between the duchy and the council in the north. William Fairfax, a relatively young man who had held no office, must have owed his election there to his father, a member of the council of nearly 20 years’ standing. Nothing is known of Fairfax’s role in the House; a circle which stands against his name, and those of 29 other Members, on a copy of the Crown Office list has so far eluded explanation. There were conflicting opinions of his religious sympathies but they did not prevent his employment under Elizabeth. He was not, however, to be returned again to Parliament until shortly before his death on 1 Nov. 1597 and may indeed have died before he could take his seat.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xix. 133-4, 192. The report of his marriage in May 1537 (LP Hen. VIII, xii) suggests an earlier date but this may have been only a childhood betrothal. Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 118; Glover’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 39; Gooder, Parlty. Rep. Yorks. ii. 37-38.
  • 3. CPR, 1560-3, p. 437; 1569-72, p. 16; R. R. Reid, King’s Council in the North, 495; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 167; 1598-1601, p. 19.
  • 4. Wm. Salt Lib. SMS 264; T. Wright, Q. Eliz. and her Times, i. 273; H. Aveling, Northern Catholics, 104; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xix. 192.