ZOUCHE, John II (1534-86), of Codnor, Derbys.

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. 27 Aug. 1534, 1st s. of George Zouche of Codnor by Anne, da. of Sir John Gaynsford of Crowhurst, Surr. educ. St. John’s, Camb. matric. Easter 1549; ?G. Inn, adm. 1552. m. Eleanor, da. of Richard Whalley of Kirton, Welbeck and Sibthorpe, Notts. and Wimbledon, Surr. 3s. inc. John 1da. suc. fa. 30 Aug. 1556. KB 15 Jan. 1559.1

Offices Held

J.p. Derbys. 1558/59-d., q. by 1569; sheriff, Notts. and Derbys. 1561-2, Derbys. 1571-2, 1580-1; commr. musters 1569, 1573, 1577, subsidy 1581; other commissions 1564-d.; dep. lt. 1585-d.2


John Zouche of Codnor came of a cadet branch of the noble family seated at Harrington, Northamptonshire. His father was a gentleman pensioner 1540-c.1544. Zouche had livery of his lands in May 1557, so that his election as knight of the shire at the close of the year, when still in his early twenties, was an early recognition of his emergence; in this he resembled his fellow-Member Godfrey Foljambe, who although some years older had yet to succeed to his patrimony. If, as is likely, Zouche was one of the executors of Sir John St. John’s will of April 1558, he was probably already connected with St. John’s son-in-law Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford, who 20 years later was to recommend him as custos rotulorum of Derbyshire; his cousin Thomas Randolph, who sat with him in the Commons, was a protégé of the earl.3

The accession of Elizabeth brought Zouche the knighthood of the Bath, membership of the Derbyshire bench and his first shrievalty. His acceptability to the new regime was confirmed by a favourable judgment from his bishop in 1564 and by his choice in June 1569 to assist the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, who was ill, in his custody of Mary Queen of Scots at South Wingfield. This episode may have helped to turn Shrewsbury against Zouche, whom the earl later denounced as both a troublemaker and a mishandler of public funds, and whom he appointed his joint deputy lieutenant in 1585 only ‘to please others’; Zouche’s failure to succeed Sir Francis Leke as custos rotulorum in 1580, despite the Queen’s promise to that effect, also owed something to Shrewsbury’s intervention. A further cause of dissension with his neighbours was the leading part which Zouche played in the exploitation of the Derbyshire lead deposits. If he sought election to any of the early Elizabethan Parliaments these various enmities clearly balked him, but as sheriff of Derbyshire he made the return in 1572 and 12 years later he and John Harpur sought to engineer the defeat of Sir Charles Cavendish.4

Zouche died on 19 June 1586. In 1566 he had sued out a licence to alienate the manor and castle of Codnor, other Derbyshire manors, and lands in Northamptonshire and Yorkshire, but in the inquisition taken in September 1586 he is recorded as holding these Derbyshire properties, which are said to have been sold by a descendant in 1634. By his will of 6 May 1586 Zouche bequeathed all his lands, apart from the remaining years of a lease in a Nottinghamshire parsonage, to his wife and his eldest son John, whom he appointed executor. He named as supervisors his friends John Harpur, Ralph Sacheverell and Michael Willoughby.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: C. J. Black


  • 1. Date of birth given at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/109/18. Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 12, 91-93; The Gen. n.s. viii. 180; Harl. Soc. 5809, f. 7; CPR, 1555-7, p. 248; 1563-6, p. 399.
  • 2. CPR, 1563-6, pp. 38, 42, 114, 489, 491; 1569-72, p. 223; 1572-5, pp. 146, 153; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 341, 346, 460; HMC Rutland, i. 112, 126, 168, 176, 190, 214.
  • 3. CPR, 1555-7, p. 248; HMC Rutland, i. 120; information from W. J. Tighe.
  • 4. Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 370; APC, ix. 374; x. 115-270 passim; xi. 350; xii. 357; CPR, 1558-60, p. 165; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 470; 1581-90, p. 74; CSP For. 1561-2, p. 635; CSP Scot. ed. Thorpe, 1589-1603, pp. 876-7, 975; HMC 6th Rep. 450; HMC Hatfield, ii. 150; HMC Rutland, i. 120-1, 176; HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot, ii. 92-375 passim; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 43; Strype, Annals, ii(2), 138-9; M. B. Donald, Eliz. Monopolies, 148-75, 201-7.
  • 5. C142/210/90(1); Wards 7/21/179; CPR, 1563-6, p. 362; PCC 31 Windsor.