MUSGRAVE, Richard (1524-55), of Hartley, Westmld. and Edenhall, Cumb.

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



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. Aug. 1524, o.s. of Sir William Musgrave of Hartley and Edenhall by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir Thomas Curwen of Workington, Cumb. m. by 1547, Agnes, da. of Thomas Wharton, 1st Baron Wharton, 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 18 Oct. 1544. Kntd. by Aug. 1552.1

Offices Held

J.p. Cumb. 1547-d.; commr. to receive and deliver treaty on debateable land Nov. 1552, goods of churches and fraternities, Cumb. 1553; capt., Carlisle castle, Cumb. Nov. 1552, Dec. 1553-Feb. 1554; sheriff, Cumb. 1554-5; constable or keeper, Bewcastle, Cumb. Jan. 1555-d.2


Richard Musgrave’s wardship and marriage were granted to the 1st Baron Wharton on 12 June 1546, little more than a fortnight before he received livery of his lands, and at about the same time he married Wharton’s daughter. Musgrave’s mother was a Curwen so that he already belonged to the cousinage, headed by Wharton, which was contesting the traditional mastery in the north of the Cliffords, Dacres and Percys. Sir William Musgrave, Richard’s father, had challenged the Dacres, with the approval of the crown. When he failed to bring down the 3rd Lord Dacre, unsuccessful pressure was brought upon him by his father, Sir Edward Musgrave, and by the 3rd Duke of Norfolk to marry Richard to Lord Dacre’s daughter.3

Musgrave’s return as knight of the shire for Cumberland was a sign of his allegiance to the Wharton faction. His family had held land there of the crown since the 15th century and his father had twice been sheriff of the county, as had other Musgraves before him, but they had always in the past sat in Parliament for Westmorland, where they had long been tenants of the Clifford family. In 1547 the senior knight for Cumberland was Musgrave’s brother-in-law, (Sir) Thomas Wharton II, and in March 1553 the junior knight was his cousin Henry Curwen. In January 1549, during the second session of the Parliament of 1547, Musgrave gave a signal demonstration of his disaffection from the Cliffords when he brought in a bill to deprive the 2nd Earl of Cumberland of his hereditary shrievalty of Westmorland, an action which, as the earl’s servant Thomas Jolye reported to his master, ‘could not be otherwise than by the procurement of the Lord Wharton’. It was Jolye who organized a prompt and successful resistance to the measure: one of his proposals was that, if necessary, Wharton and Musgrave should be summoned before the Star Chamber to answer to an earlier grievance. It was evidently a revival of Dacre influence in Cumberland, rather than any opposition to the new regime, that led to Musgrave’s exclusion from the three Marian Parliaments that met before his death, although it may be noted that he had been able to sit in the second Parliament of Edward VI’s reign when the younger Wharton was excluded as a servant of Princess Mary.4

Musgrave purchased from the crown the rectories of Kirkby Stephen and Warcop, both in Westmorland, in June 1549 for £1,441, but later sold that of Kirkby Stephen to Baron Wharton, reserving to himself certain tithes. He died on 10 or 11 Sept. 1555 at Edenhall when his son Thomas was aged eight years and more. His widow received a grant of Thomas’s wardship on 1 May 1556 but the boy died in 1565. Musgrave’s daughter Eleanor married Robert Bowes of Aske, Yorkshire. Henry Curwen, Musgrave’s fellow-Member, had been pre-contracted to Agnes Wharton and in 1566 Simon Musgrave, Richard’s uncle and heir male, claimed that Henry and Agnes had been lawfully married and that therefore she and Richard had lived in unlawful wedlock and their children were bastards. A commission headed by the archbishop of Canterbury was appointed in July 1566 to decide the matter with reference to the rights of the surviving child. Whatever the decision (apparently against Simon), there was no lasting quarrel between the families: Simon Musgrave’s son Christopher Musgrave married a Curwen and his grandson Richard Musgrave married a Wharton.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/73/16. CP; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xi. 54-55; Vis. Westmld. ed. Bridges, 9.
  • 2. CPR, 1547-8, p. 82; 1550-3, pp. 266, 394; 1553, p. 414; 1553-4, pp. 18, 66; 1554-5, pp. 106, 221; CSP Scot. i. 102; Cal. Scottish Pprs. i. 191.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, vii, xxi.
  • 4. Clifford Letters (Surtees Soc. clxxii), 102-3.
  • 5. CPR, 1548-9, p. 231; 1555-7, p. 8; 1563-6, p. 487; Nicolson and Burn, Westmld. and Cumb. i. 535; C142/105/8, 70; Jefferson, Cumb. i. 415; J. F. Curwen, House of Curwen, 123.