HARDGRAVE, John (by 1499-1541 or later), of Stamford, Lincs.

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 1499, prob. s. of John Hardgrave (d.c.1513) of Stamford.1

Offices Held

Alderman, Stamford 1520-21, 1528-9, member of the first Twelve 1522-41/42; commr. subsidy, Stamford 1523, Lincs. (Kesteven) 1524, sewers, Lincs. 1524.2


John Hardgrave has to be distinguished from his namesake, and probable father, who was alderman (equivalent to mayor) of Stamford in 1507-8, but apart from his own two terms in that office, and his discharge of duties in the county, little is known for certain about him. He may have been the John ‘Hartgrave’ of Bolingbroke who stands at the head of the pedigree of the Hartgraves of Wilksby, Lincolnshire; if so, he was the father, by an unnamed wife, of three sons and one daughter. A John ‘Hargrave’ of Bolingbroke appears on the muster lists for 1539, and it was presumably he who in June 1543 received a pardon for a burglary committed at Skirbeck, Lincolnshire, 18 months earlier. A John Hardgrave also had a small property in Surfleet, Lincolnshire, in the reign of Edward VI.3

It was towards the close of his second aldermanic year that Hardgrave was returned to Parliament for Stamford: his fellow-Member Maurice Johnson had been his immediate precursor as alderman, so that the borough may be thought to have been represented by its two leading townsmen. Whether it paid them, wholly or in part, for their service is not known, but their role in the Commons is briefly, if uncertainly, illuminated by the appearance of both their names on a list of Members drawn up by Cromwell early in 1533. It is thought that this records the names of Members opposed to the bill in restraint of appeals, whether out of religious conviction or on the ground of economic expediency. Johnson was a businessman involved in the cloth trade, but lack of evidence of Hardgrave’s attitude in religion and means of livelihood leaves his appearance on the list unexplained. A similar uncertainty attaches to his failure to secure re-election to the Parliament of 1536. On this occasion the King called for the return of the previous Members; Stamford complied to the extent of re-electing Johnson, but Hardgrave was replaced by Henry Lacy. As he lived until at least 1541, last appearing among the comburgesses of Stamford for the fiscal year 1541-2, he must have been passed over either at his own instance or because the town decided to make a change, the royal injunction notwithstanding.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Stamford hall bk. 1461-1657, f. 94.
  • 2. Stamford hall bk. 1461-1657, ff. 104, 105, 129, 134v; F. Peck, Stamford, 27; LP Hen. VIII, iii, iv.
  • 3. Stamford hall bk. 1461-1657, f. 94; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 466; LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xviii; CPR, 1550-53, p. 451.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, ix. 1077 citing SP1/99, p. 234.