CONSTABLE, Sir John (1526-79), of Burton Constable and Halsham, Yorks.

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



Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. 1526, 1st s. of Sir John Constable of Burton Constable by Joan, da. and coh. of Ralph Neville of Thornton Bridge. educ. ?G. Inn 1544. m. (1) Margaret, da. of John, 8th Lord Scrope of Bolton, 5s. inc. Henry; (2) Katherine Neville, da. of Henry, 5th Earl of Westmorland, 1s. suc. fa. by Oct. 1542. Kntd. Oct. 1553.

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (E. Riding) Feb. 1553, rem. 1562, rest. by 1569; sheriff, Yorks. 1566-7; member, council in the north 1566-7.


Constable was a minor at his father’s death, his wardship being granted to Michael Stanhope, with whom, over the next few years, he probably served in the northern marches. Though he had livery of his lands in 1547, he does not appear on commissions until Mary’s reign, when he was knighted, put on the commission of the peace, and appointed to the 1555 commission to fortify the Scottish borders. He purchased the manor of Hackness from Sir Robert Dudley in March 1564. Constable was omitted from the commission of the peace in 1562, presumably for his Catholic sympathies. In 1564, however, Thomas Young, archbishop of York, thought him a of ‘favourer’ religion and fit to be a justice. and in 1566 he was appointed to the council in the north. Quarrelsome and vindictive, it was said of him by a contemporary that ‘if Sir John takes against a man he does not care what harm he does to him’. When his violent feud with Sir Henry Gates came before the Privy Council in London they ordered Constable’s removal from the council in the north, and bound him over to keep the peace. He did not join his brother-in-law, the Earl of Westmorland, in the rising of 1569-70, and was appointed to a few commissions after that date. Sir Thomas Gargrave classed him as ‘doubtful or neuter’ in religion. Hedon provided him with a parliamentary seat when he required it. He was on the succession committee, 31 Oct. 1566. He died on 25 May 1579, his will being proved at York in 1587. John More and William Paler, both Hedon MPs, were supervisors, the former receiving £40.

Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 68; LP Hen. VIII, xviii(2), p. 238; Reid, Council of the North, 196; G. Poulson, Hist. Holderness (Hull 1840), ii. 227; CPR, 1547-8, p. 141; 1555-7, p. 54; 1563-6, p. 132; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 71; Lansd. 10, ff. 2-4; 13, f. 127; CSP Dom. Add. 1568-79, p. 42; HMC Bath, ii. 19; J.J. Cartwright, Chapters in Yorks. Hist. 66; D’Ewes, 126; C142/185/40; York wills 23, ff. 539, 1000.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe