FARRAR (FERRERS), Robert (by 1528-72/76).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



? Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1528. ?m. by 1568, Mary, da. of Thomas Wanton of London.4

Offices Held

Sec. to Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland by 1549-63.5


Robert Farrar claimed gentle birth, but his parentage and upbringing have not been traced. As he became a freeman of Lincoln on 3 Nov. 1552, he may have lived at nearby Skellingthorpe where a family named Farrar was settled at the beginning of the following century, but his admission was doubtless the work of the Earl of Rutland, whose secretary Farrar had then been for three years, and was meant to qualify Farrar for election to Parliament.6

Early in 1553 Rutland asked Lincoln for the nomination of one of its Members. The common council agreed and gave the earl a barrel of claret, but went on to decide that no one except the recorder should thereafter be elected unless he was an alderman. If Rutland knew of this rider he chose to disregard it and the city proved unable to enforce it. The names of the Lincoln Members in the Parliament of March 1553 are lost, but Farrar was almost certainly one of them as he was to be in all but one of the Parliaments called before the earl’s death. In December 1557 there was a hitch. The common council had already acted on Rutland’s nomination and chosen Farrar to sit with the recorder, George St. Poll, when the earl produced a fresh nominee in Francis Kempe, a servant of Chancellor Heath. Although there is nothing to suggest that Rutland was displeased with his secretary, he may have deferred to official prompting, for Farrar had twice shown himself a dissentient in the House: he had ‘stood for the true religion’ in Mary’s first Parliament and had voted against one of the government’s bills in her fourth. A more prosaic explanation would be that Rutland, who was heavily involved in the war, could not dispense with Farrar: when after the fall of Calais the earl was sent to Dover to prepare for the expected invasion Farrar went with him. Under Elizabeth he was to sit twice more for Lincoln, and after Rutland’s widow married Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford, he was found a seat at Tavistock. He died during the first prorogation of the Parliament of 1572.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. M. Hofmann


  • 1. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 2. Lincoln min. bk. 1541-64, f. 123; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 48.
  • 3. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 4. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. London (Harl. Soc. cix, cx) 85.
  • 5. HMC Hatfield, i. 292; HMC Rutland, iv. 362.
  • 6. G. A. J. Hodgett, Tudor Lincs. 103; J. W. F. Hill, Tudor and Stuart Lincoln, 53; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 351; HMC Rutland, iv. 355-8, 362, 370, 373.
  • 7. Hill, 53-54; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 49; Bodl. e Museo 17; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2; HMC Rutland, i. 62, 63, 65, 68; iv. 380.