WORSLEY, Ralph (by 1464-1529 or later), of Hamworthy and Wimborne Minster, Dorset.

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 1464, ?s. of John Worsley of Dorset. m. by 1507, Ellen.2

Offices Held

Bailiff, duchy of Lancaster, hundreds of Holt and Kingston Lacy, Dorset 1485-1511, Bradbury by 1496-1511; searcher, port of Poole 1493.3


Ralph Worsley was returned for Poole with another port official, Richard Phelips, and both men received 20s. each for ‘their labours’ during the first session. Presumably he sat for the borough again in 1515 since the King asked for the re-election of the same Members, but there is no evidence that he did so thereafter, although he could have chosen again with Phelips in 1523, when the names of the Members are lost.

Worsley had obtained a local appointment in the duchy of Lancaster at the accession of Henry VII and in the following decade he secured several leases from the duchy and the lucrative searchership at Poole, an office in which he was twice confirmed. During 1496 he and his servants were accused of misconduct and embezzlement, and it was perhaps for this reason that he sued out a pardon on 4 June of that year as Ralph Worsley ‘gentleman ... of Wimborne Minster ... alias of Hamworthy ... late of Canford, Dorset’. No further complaint appears to have been made in respect of his duchy office, which he retained for a further 15 years and which was later shared by a namesake (perhaps a son) with Sir John Russell, although he did receive a second (general) pardon in 1510. He was still searcher at Poole in June 1529 when he made a small personal gift to Cardinal Wolsey; this is the last certain reference to him.4

The christian name Ralph was a popular one with the Worsley family of Lancashire, and the allocation of the many references to Worsley or to his namesakes is difficult. He was presumably related to that family, as in 1507 he disposed of some property near Wigan and three years later he was pardoned as of Hamworthy, Wimborne, Holt and Wigan. He could have been the son of John Worsley, customer of Poole in 1466, and a kinsman of Christopher Worsley of Tarrant Launceston, Dorset, sheriff of Somerset and Dorset, who died in 1471.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Poole rec. bk. 1, p. 26.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Lancs. Fines (Lancs. Rec. Soc. xlvi), 162-3.
  • 3. Somerville, Duchy, i. 629; CFR, 1485-1509, no. 451.
  • 4. Poole rec. bk. 1, p. 26. Somerville, i. 629-30; C67/55, m. 2; CFR, 1485-1509, no. 451; CCR, 1500-9, no. 978; LP Hen. VIII, i-iv; St.Ch.3/8/50.
  • 5. CFR, 1461-71, p. 181; Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 574; LP Hen. VIII, ii; Lancs. Fines, 162-3.