STARKEY, Lawrence (by 1474-1532), of Lancaster, Lancs. and London.

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



? 1523

Family and Education

b. by 1474, prob. yr. s. of Geoffrey Starkey of Stretton, Cheshire by Joan, da. and coh. of Roger Darby of Chester, Cheshire and Liverpool, Lancs. m. (1) 1da. (2) c.1519, Anne, da. of Sir Thomas Butler of Bewsey, Lancs., wid. of (?John) Radcliffe (?of Radcliffe Tower, Lancs.) and George Atherton of Atherton, Lancs., 1da.; 1s. illegit.2

Offices Held

Mayor, Lancaster 1495, 1523; dep. or acting sheriff, Lancs. 1497-1523 and 1524-?d.; bailiff, serjeanty of Halton fee in 1501-2; receiver, duchy of Lancaster, Lancs. and Cheshire July 1509-23; commr. subsidy, Lancs. 1512, 1514, 1515; attorney-gen. for city of London in duchy of Lancaster 1515.3


An earlier identification of this Member with the son of James Starkey of Huntroyde and Simonstone, Lancashire, and the suggestion that he was a duchy receiver and mayor of Lancaster but not under sheriff of Lancashire, are alike refuted by the evidence of a number of actions brought in the duchy of Lancaster courts, which show that all three offices were held by the same man and that he came of a different family. In one of these suits, brought before Henry Marney, 1st Baron Marny, probably in 1523, the plaintiff William Tunstall described Starkey as mayor of Lancaster and under sheriff of Lancashire, and in another heard before Sir Richard Wingfield probably later in the same year he called Starkey the father-in-law of William Banester, who is known to have married Lawrence Starkey’s elder daughter Margaret. Finally, in an action brought before Sir William Fitzwilliam I after Starkey’s death, his younger daughter Etheldreda and her husband Humphrey Newton of Newton and Pownall, Cheshire, described him as receiver. Although it cannot be claimed with quite the same certainty that this Lawrence Starkey was the Member for Lancaster, his ubiquitousness in local administration and his close association with the borough clearly point to him, whereas Lawrence of Huntroyde, first son of a marriage assigned to 1506-7, would have lacked both the years and the standing called for in a candidate for election in 1529.4

A further indication of Starkey’s position in Lancaster is provided by the second of Tunstall’s suits. He accused Starkey of having first had his son-in-law Banester made a freeman of the borough ‘and incontinent after caused him to be chosen a burgess of Parliament’ in order to protect him against this action. Banester replied that he had been ‘freely by the desire and good minds of the burgesses of the said town chosen burgess’. At what must have been the election of 1523 Banester’s fellow-Member was probably Starkey himself, who is known to have been in London during the Parliament.5

Starkey was a servant and friend of his kinsman by marriage Edward Stanley, 1st Lord Monteagle. For many years he was Monteagle’s deputy as sheriff of Lancashire, an office to which the then Sir Edward Stanley had been appointed for life in October 1485, and he also became a feoffee of his master’s lands. In 1523 Monteagle appointed Starkey one of his executors, with Richard Bank, Thomas Lord Darcy, Sir John Hussey and Sir Alexander Radcliffe: Starkey was to have ‘all his plate which lies in pledge in mine hands for £40, and to be discharged of the said £40 as my bequest’, to enjoy all such grants as Monteagle had made to him and to be deputy steward of Cockersand abbey. Monteagle died in April 1523 and Starkey proved the will on 25 Aug. 1524. He became involved in disputes with the other executors, which are reflected in a number of letters, mostly addressed to Darcy. On 6 July 1523 Hussey wrote from London to Darcy: ‘Starkey hath been here and hath made very short tarriance. He is home again, as I suppose, to make men ready for to go with my lord treasurer and to gather the King’s money [presumably the Amicable Loan] which is yet ungathered.’ Starkey must therefore have been absent from London during at least part of the second session of the Parliament of that summer, but he was back there by 17 July when he wrote from London to tell Darcy that adversaries of the new Lord Monteagle, a minor whose interests he was defending or at least claiming to defend, had been praying the King to remove Starkey from his office of under sheriff, which here as elsewhere he significantly calls that of sheriff. He was absent again during the third session, writing from Lancaster on 12 Aug. to inform Richard Bank that Starkey’s brother-in-law Thomas Butler had been appointed to lead the Monteagle tenants in war during the minority of the heir. In a letter to Darcy of 25 Apr. 1524, again from Lancaster, Starkey announced his appointment as ‘sheriff’, through the influence of Sir Richard Wingfield, and his hope that young Monteagle would have the office when of age.6

Starkey had received a pardon on 24 May 1509 under the comprehensive designation of Lawrence Starkey of London and Lancaster and Hornby, Lancashire, and ‘Falley’ (?Fawley), Buckinghamshire, gentleman or draper, late mayor of Lancaster. Hornby connects him with Monteagle, and ‘Falley’ may have been a property of his first wife, who left a tenement in Henley-on-Thames to her daughter. A Peter Starkey was a citizen and draper of London at this time and Lawrence Starkey adopted the same style in 1515 when he made a successful application for the post of attorney-general for the City in the duchy of Lancaster.7

Starkey died on 24 July 1532 leaving, besides his daughters, an illegitimate son Oliver (conceivably a cousin of Oliver Starkey, the illegitimate son of a London mercer). He had acquired property in Bolton-le-Sands, Broughton, Lancaster and Preston, Lancashire, and also in Cheshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. The distribution of these estates, favouring the younger daughter as a Butler, led to more litigation. It has been suggested that the lack of a legitimate male heir and the consequent failure to found a ‘noteworthy line’ may be ‘the reason why historians have identified Lawrence Starkey of Huntroyde with the public figure of Henry VIII’s reign’.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Authors: L. M. Kirk / Alan Davidson


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, lxxiii. 188, 192, 194-5.
  • 3. Ibid. lxiii. 176; lxxiii. 190, 193; Somerville, Duchy, i. 462, 495, 513; Statutes, iii. 87, 118, 171; City of London RO, Guildhall, jnl. 11, f. 208v.
  • 4. Pink and Beaven, Parl. Rep. Lancs. 107; H. Hornyold-Strickland, Lancs. MPs (Chetham Soc. n.s. xciii), 96-97; Somerville, i. 495; Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, lxxiii. 190, 193, 196; Ormerod, Cheshire, i. 641; J. B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 608.
  • 5. Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, lxxiii. 193-4; Watson, 609.
  • 6. Surtees Soc. cxvi. 111-16; LP Hen. VIII, iii, iv; SP1/28, p. 106; Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. lxxi. 69.
  • 7. LP Hen. VIII, i. Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, lxxiii. 192, 195-6; C1/442/28.
  • 8. Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, lxxiii. 188, 192, 195-6; Watson, 609.