MARSHALL, John (by 1515-54 or later), of Carlton, Notts. and Lambeth, Surr.

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 1515, 1st s. of Thomas Marshall of Carlton by Anne, da. and h. of William Muston (?Monson) of Calais. m. Anne, da. and h. of Henry Cave of Cold Ashby, Northants., 4s. 2da.2

Offices Held

Escheator, Notts. and Derbys. 1543-Jan. 1545, 1551-1.


The name Marshall, common enough at the time, was borne by more than one family in or near other Cinque Ports, but no John Marshall is known to have lived at Romney or to have been a jurat in any of the ports, nor did the Member apparently draw any wages from the town. It seems to follow that he must be sought elsewhere, and among a series of more distant namesakes it is John Marshall of Carlton who has the best claim to consideration. This is because of his connexion with Archbishop Cranmer, who wielded influence at Romney through his lordship of the manor of Aldington: at least one of Cranmer’s servants, Peter Hayman, was later to represent the port, and the vacancy created in 1534 by the death of Richard Gibson would have given the new archbishop his first opportunity of intervening there. The by-election does not seem to have taken place until 1535 or early 1536.3

John Marshall and Thomas Cranmer came of families which were not only near neighbours in South Nottinghamshire but which had also been linked by the marriage of Cranmer’s grandfather to a Marshall daughter. John Marshall’s mother, who was perhaps a kinswoman of Robert Monson, was an heiress and he himself was to marry another, but at least on his own showing he was not a wealthy man: when in April 1539 he was called on to furnish four men for military service he protested to Cromwell that his lands were worth but 40 marks a year. Marshall is not to be found at either university or any inn of court, and it seems next to impossible to separate his official career from those of his namesakes: at court there was a gentleman usher in 1509 and later a servant of Wolsey’s; in Kent and Middlesex an escheator in 1513-14 and in the former county a subsidy commissioner in 1524, and in London a collector for Bishopsgate hospital. The only appointments which can confidently be assigned to Marshall are those of escheator for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in 1543 and 1550. The nature of his connexion with Cranmer is also obscure: whether it was one of service, or simply of friendship, has not transpired, but it was at the archbishop’s direction, given to him at Lambeth, that in the spring of 1539 he wrote three letters to Cromwell from Nottinghamshire describing the political situation there, and it was as of Carlton and Lambeth that on 6 June 1554, when Cranmer was in prison, he sued out a pardon.4

If Marshall was Cranmer’s nominee at Romney he may also have been supported by the new lord warden of the Cinque Ports, George Boleyn Viscount Rochford, the Queen’s brother, for Cranmer had spent some time in the Boleyn household before he became archbishop. Such a connexion would in turn raise the question of Marshall’s relationship to another protégé of the Boleyns, the publicist William Marshall. Even if they were not kinsmen—and a London origin seems more appropriate to William Marshall—they can hardly fail to have known one another; but it is no more than an engaging speculation that Marshall may have taken with him into the Commons something of the pamphleteer’s zeal for reform, for of his role there nothing is known. The fall of the Boleyns in the spring of 1536 does not seem to have affected John Marshall, who was probably safe under Cranmer’s wing: thus when Romney received a letter from Chancellor Audley and Cromwell ‘for to choose the burgess[es] to the Parliament that were before’, the port is known to have obeyed it in the case of the other Member, John Bunting, and probably did so in Marshall’s as well. He was not to be elected for Romney again and in 1539 he can hardly have been returned elsewhere, as he wrote to Cromwell from Nottinghamshire on 23 Apr., five days before the Parliament opened, without mentioning that prospect. It is unlikely that he ever sat again. From the nature of the contribution—about plague between Doncaster and Pershore—made by a John Marshall to a conversation at Pershore abbey early in 1538, this may well have been John Marshall of Carlton, perhaps on a mission for Cranmer or Cromwell.5

Marshall’s receipt of his pardon in 1554 is the last trace to have been found of him, so that it is impossible to say what effect Cranmer’s death had on the remainder of his life.

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; Romney chamberlains’ accts. 1528-80, f. 26.
  • 2. Presumed to be of age at election. Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 166-7, 182.
  • 3. Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), passim; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 93; Arch. Cant. xii. 423; xviii. 324-5; lxxv. 71; Hasted, Kent, ii. 263 seq.; 275, 573.
  • 4. Vis. Notts. 70-71; LP Hen., VIII, i-iv, xiv; E179/69/9; Val. Eccles. i. 401; CPR, 1553-4, p. 448.
  • 5. DNB (Marshall, William); Elton, Policy and Police, 129, 186, 210, 215, 329; Reform and Renewal, 62, 76; Romney chamberlains’ accts. 1528-80, f. 29; LP Hen. VIII, xiv.