HOPTON, Sir Arthur (1488-1555), of Cockfield in Yoxford, Suff.

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. 1488, 2nd s. of Sir George Hopton of Cockfield by Thomasin Southill (or Sotehill) or Anne. m. (1) Maud da. of Sir Robert Dymoke of Scrivelsby, Lincs., s.p.; (2) by 1518, Anne, da. of Sir David Owen of Cowdray, Suss., 5 or 6s. inc. Owen 4da. suc. bro. 20 Jan. 1490. Kntd. 13 Oct. 1513.2

Offices Held

J.p. Suff. 1514-d.; commr. subsidy 1512, 1523, 1524, chantries 1548, relief 1550; other commissions 1530-d.; knight of the body by 1533-d.3


The Hoptons of Suffolk owed their landed wealth to descent from an illegitimate son of Sir Robert Swillington (d.1391) of Yorkshire and Blythburgh, Suffolk; the failure of legitimate Swillington heirs brought property in Derbyshire, Kent, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and Yorkshire to the illegitimate branch. Arthur Hopton’s grandfather married into the Wentworth family and became treasurer of the household to Richard III; his father died in 1489 leaving John and Arthur, who was only about 18 months old when he succeeded his brother. His wardship was granted to Thomas Eyre, Richard Methwold, Sir Ralph Shelton and Richard Southwell to the use of Sir Robert Clere and William Eyre, the executors of Sir George Hopton. Their custody of the heir and his lands involved the executors in a suit in Star Chamber with Sir Robert Curzon and his wife Anne, the widow of George Hopton, concerning her rights in the manor of Westleton and household goods to the value of 4,000 marks.4

At the age of about 25 Arthur Hopton served in the French campaign of 1513, being knighted for his valour at the battle of the Spurs. A year later he was named to the Suffolk bench where he sat until death. He combined local duties with attendance at court. He went with the King and Queen to the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 and was present at the reception of Charles V in 1522, the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1533 and the christening of Prince Edward in 1537. As was to be expected, he was called upon to take a prominent part in the suppression of the northern rebellion in 1536. Under the arrangements for defence it was planned that he should attend the King’s person with 100 men: in the event he led his band into Lincolnshire with the Duke of Suffolk, having first levied the duke’s tenants in his home county. It was at this time that he removed from one of Norfolk’s servants the four horses later complained of by the duke as having been used for transport by Lady Hopton and as plough horses by Sir Arthur. In November 1536 Hopton heard depositions against the insurgents and later was chosen by Cromwell as a juror at the trials of Sir Robert Constable and other rebels.5

For his services to the crown Hopton received in November 1538 a grant in tail male of the house and site of the dissolved priory of Blythburgh with the manors of Blythburgh and Hinton Hall, the rectories of Blythburgh, Bramfield, Thorington and Wenhaston and the chapel of Walberswick; this grant rounded off his property in east Suffolk, and must have given him a special interest in the charge he received in 1539 with the 1st Lord Wentworth and Sir Anthony Wingfield to search and defend the Suffolk coast. Hopton’s inheritance comprised a group of manors in Yoxford, the manor of Westwood in Blythburgh and numerous other manors in the county; under Blythburgh for the subsidy of 1524 he had been assessed at lands worth £400 and he is said to have built a new residence at Cockfield where he was visited by Henry VIII on at least one royal progress. It was perhaps because the family interests were centred on Suffolk that Hopton saw fit to relinquish his property in Yorkshire; between 1541 and 1543 he conveyed his rights in Swillington and elsewhere in Yorkshire to Sir George Darcy and (Sir) Edward North.6

Hopton’s name appears beside Suffolk, with that of Sir Philip Tylney, on a list of nominations prepared by Cromwell late in 1532 to fill vacancies in the Parliament then in prorogation. Although Tylney was a kinsman of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk and thus a connexion of Anne Boleyn, it was Hopton whom Cromwell recommended to take the place left unfilled since Sir Thomas Wentworth I’s ennoblement; the outcome of the by-election remains unknown, but if Tylney was returned his death on 8 Jan. 1533 could have let in Hopton, who would then probably have been re-elected in 1536 in compliance with the King’s general request for the return of the same Members. He was elected to the Parliament of 1539 with Sir Anthony Wingfield and after its dissolution he was the recipient of a letter about the collection of the subsidy which he had helped to grant. He was to sit again in 1542, this time with a knight whose name, obliterated on the return, is prefaced by the title ‘the right worshipful’. If this style can be taken as indicating Wingfield, who was by then a Privy Councillor, the two may be thought of as having sat together for Suffolk in three or four successive Parliaments.7

In 1544 Hopton captained 100 soldiers in the French campaign. Thenceforward nothing has come to light about him except his work on local commissions. He died on 15 or 16 Aug. 1555. No will has been found. His inquisition post mortem stated that his widow Anne would enjoy a substantial property for life. Owen Hopton, his heir, aged 36 and more, had already received a settlement of Blythburgh and other manors in August 1542 at the time of his marriage to Anne, daughter of Sir Edward Echingham of Sussex, and in July 1556 he obtained licence to enter into his inheritance.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at i.p.ms of father and brother, CIPM Hen. VII , i. 589, 644. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lv), 1205; C142/106/62; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 44; Add. 19156, ff. 105v-12; Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 126; W. L. Rutton, Ped. Hopton Suff. and Som. 2-9.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, i-v, vii, viii, xii, xiv, xviii, xx; C193/12/1, ff. 32-33; E371/300, m. 48; CPR, 1547-8, p. 89; 1548-9 p. 136; 1553, pp. 358, 361; 1553-4, pp. 24, 29.
  • 4. Rutton, 1-2; CFR, 1422-30, pp. 310-19; Vis. Suff. 43; CIPM Hen. VII, i. 589, 644; CPR, 1485-94, pp. 301, 317, 334; St.Ch.2/9/241; 10/48, 49; 17/336, 25/144; 26/83; LP Hen. VIII, i, ii, iv, xiv.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, ii, iii, vi, xi, xii.
  • 6. Ibid. xiii, xiv, xvi; Copinger, Suff. Manors, i. 219-22; ii. 14, 220-1, 281; iii. 205; v. 260, 328, 405; CIPM Hen. VIII, i. 589, 644; Suff. Green Bks. x. 69, 397; Rutton, 2; Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. ii. 95, 107.
  • 7. LP Hen. VIII, vii. 56 citing SP1/82, ff. 59-62; E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2]; C142/56/66. SP1/82, ff. 59-62; E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2]; C142/56/66.
  • 8. SP1/184, f. 114v; APC, ii. 35, 445; iv. 430; CPR, 1553, p. 79; 1555-7, p. 161; C142/106/62; Foxe, Acts and Mons. vi. 191; PCC 74 Cobham, 1 Wallop.