FOWKE (FOWKES), Roger (by 1528-75/76), of Gunston, Staffs.

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 1528, 1st s. of John Fowke of Gunston by Anne, da. of John Bradshaw of Windley, Derbys. m. Margaret, da. of Richard Moreton of Haughton, Staffs. 5da. suc. fa. 1547.2

Offices Held

Dep. bailiff, duchy of Lancaster, new liberty, Staffs. in 1572-3.3


Of a cadet line of the family of Brewood, Staffordshire, Roger Fowke of Gunston must be distinguished from two namesakes and kinsmen, both of the senior branch. One of these, buried at Brewood in 1546, was an attorney to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and brother-in-law to William Whorwood, and the other, his grandson, also buried at Brewood in 1594, married Jane, Fowke’s eldest daughter.4

Fowke’s return to two Parliaments for Newcastle-under-Lyme is probably to be ascribed to the influence of the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury: in 1572-3 he was to be deputy to Shrewsbury’s son and successor in a Staffordshire bailiwick of the duchy of Lancaster. The 5th Earl, a Privy Councillor under Edward VI and a close associate of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, signed the instrument settling the crown on Lady Jane Grey, but speedily made his peace with Mary. Talbot influence could therefore have operated on behalf of Fowke in both reigns, as it did for his fellow-Member in Mary’s first Parliament, James Rolston, and local support have been forthcoming from influential neighbours, the Giffards of Chillington, one of whom, Sir Thomas, whose will Fowke was to witness, sat as senior knight for Staffordshire in October 1553. In 1564 Fowke was to be one of three gentlemen chosen by Bishop Bentham to advise him on his answer to the Privy Council’s inquiry about the religious attitudes of justices of the peace: of Fowke himself the bishop reported that, although not ‘a justice as yet’, he was one of ‘the best learned’ and a ‘favourer of religion’. Such an outlook, if Fowke had already adopted it a dozen years before, would have made him more at home in his first Parliament than in his second, but he is not to be found among the Members of the Parliament of October 1553 who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, for Protestantism; he may, however, have been the ‘Foucq’ whom the imperial ambassador reported to Charles V on 19 Oct. 1553, two weeks after that Parliament opened, as having spoken disobligingly of Spaniards.5

Fowke was a sick man when he made his will on 3 Oct. 1575. After asking to be buried in Brewood church near his ancestors, he made ample provision for his wife, daughters and son-in-law, and for the maintenance of Gunston Hall until his nephew came of age. As executors he appointed his wife, his brother Thomas and his son-in-law, and as overseers his father-in-law Richard Moreton, Thomas Waring of Wolverhampton and James Fowler, the husband of his wife’s sister. He added a codicil on 18 Nov. 1575 and the will was proved on 26 July 1576.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from appearance in 1532/33 with younger brother and sisters, Staffs. Rec. Soc. (ser. 4), viii. 113. Shaw, Staffs. ii. 60; Staffs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxiii), 94; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), i. 331.
  • 3. Somerville, Duchy, i. 549.
  • 4. Shaw, ii. 60; LP Hen. VIII , xiii, xiv, xviii, xx.
  • 5. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 42-43; CSP Span. 1553, p. 305.
  • 6. PCC 23 Carew.