CONINGSBY, Richard (d.c.1620), of London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

s. of Henry Coningsby by da. of one Calcott. m. (1) (d. by 1603), da. of one Barker of Hurst, Berks. Kntd. 1603.1

Offices Held

Gent. usher by 1592; keeper, Easthampstead park, Berks. 1593; j.p. Berks., Wilts. 1594; feodary, Herefs. bef. 1599; gent. usher of black rod, order of the Garter by 1601-17; gent. usher of Parliament Chamber 1604.2


Through his father, an illegitimate son of a Richard Coningsby of Leominster, this Member was related to an ancient family with branches both in Shropshire and Herefordshire, and no doubt owed his return to Parliament to his kinsman Sir Thomas Coningsby, who was steward of Leominster and sat for Herefordshire in the same year. Coningsby spent most of his career in London in royal service, but acquired some property at Hurst in Berkshire and other lands in Wiltshire through his marriage to a relative of another gentleman usher. He acquired several grants from the Crown, including the feefarm of Henton, Somerset, in 1592 and the office of feodary of Herefordshire, which he offered to resign in 1599 in favour of one of his kinsmen. The previous year he had been given authority to license and tax merchants exporting tin from Devon and Cornwall. He surrendered the licence on a promise of £1,000, changed in 1607 into permission to collect recusant penalties. Eight years later, in 1615, he was granted a patent to impose a tax on playing cards, but after protests by the merchants involved and consideration of the matter by the Privy Council, the patent was cancelled. Instead, Coningsby and his wife were granted a £200 annuity because

he hath been an ancient servant in court continually attending ... with good approbation of his service, as also in satisfaction of some other pretences he maketh concerning a debt owing unto him from His Majesty about the business of the tin.3

Coningsby accompanied the King to Scotland in 1617, but was probably old or ailing by then, as he surrendered most of his offices in that and the following years. On 11 Mar. 1620, John Chamberlain reported:

Coningsby the oldest gentleman usher is likewise dead, and his places belonging to the Parliament and the Garter bestowed on Maxwell of the bedchamber.

Neither will nor inquisition post mortem has been found.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 131; APC, 1616-17, p. 300; St. Ch. 5/C23/36.
  • 2. HMC Hatfield, iv. 216; ix. 205; APC, xxii. 592; xxxi. 180; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 531; 1603-10, p. 84; 1611-18, pp. 444, 596.
  • 3. St. Ch. 5/C23/36, C43/30; HMC Hatfield, iv. 216; ix. 205; xv. 241; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 65; 1603-10, pp. 383, 402, 443; 1611-18, pp. 296-7, 420; 1615-17, passim.
  • 4. Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 539; ii. 293.