ESTOFTE, Christopher (d.1566), of Ellerker, Scarborough and South Burton, Yorks.

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

b. ?1516, 2nd s. of William Estofte (d.1532) of Eastoft by Joan, da. and coh. of Robert Fitzstephen of Keldick or Heldick. educ. I. Temple, bencher 1556. m. (1) Elizabeth (or Mary), da. of Sir Humphrey Hercy of Grove, Notts., wid. of Sir Francis Hotham, ?1da.; (2) Isabel, da. of Richard Smethy of Yorks., wid. of Sir John Ellerker.2

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Yorks. (E. and W. Ridings) 1554, 1555; j.p.q. (E. Riding) 1554, (W. Riding) by 1559; j.p.q. bpric. of Durham from c.1561; member, council in the north from Dec. 1558; feodary, Yorks. (W. Riding) by 1558; custos rot. Yorks. (E. Riding) c.1562.3


Estofte’s family apparently originated from Reedness in the West Riding, but by the time his name appears on a pardon roll of 1553 he is described as of Ellerker and Scarborough. As he made his career as a common-law member of the council in the north, he must have had some legal training, and so was presumably the Christopher Estofte of the Inner Temple aged 31 who deposed in a Chancery case in 1547, and the ‘master Estofte’ who became a bencher in May 1556. In August 1559 he was appointed to a commission for the visitation of the clergy in the northern circuit, he and one other being specially chosen to attend the visitors because of ‘their knowledge of the common laws of the realm’. Two years later he was named in a commission (renewed in 1564) to inquire into offences against the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity, and also—as one of the quorum—in an extraordinary commission of the peace, exercising wide powers in York, Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, the bishopric of Durham and in York, Carlisle, Kingston-upon-Hull, Newcastle and Berwick. He was several times a commissioner for inquisitions post mortem in Lincolnshire and in Yorkshire.4

Estofte’s links with Hull were strong. His niece Grace married Alexander Stockdale, mayor of Hull, and his wife’s family home was at Ellerker nearby. He sat in Parliament once only, and died shortly after the end of the first session. He was described in 1564 as one of the justices ‘favourers of religion’. He acquired a certain amount of Yorkshire property, much of it in the East Riding. In 1557 he received a grant of lands under licence from the and Earl of Rutland, consisting of four houses, 240 acres of land, 130 acres of meadow, 164 acres of pasture, 8 acres of woodland, 20 acres of heath and a common of pasture for 500 sheep in several different parts of the East Riding. In 1562, together with a number of others, he bought the manors of Ingmanthorpe and Kirk Deighton in the West Riding, with 60 houses, a windmill and lands; he held other property in Hedon, Preston and Beverley. As a reward for services, in 1563 he was granted lands near Wilton, East Riding, for 40 years, and a 30-year lease from 1579 of the manor of Bishop Burton, also in the East Riding. This he did not live to enjoy as he died 14 May 1566. The grant of administration (14 June) describes him as of South Burton.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. C24/9/31; Yorks. Peds. (Harl. Soc. xciv), 170; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 335; Venn, Al. Cant. ii. 106; Foster, Vis. Yorks. 110.
  • 3. CPR, 1553-4, pp. 26, 35, 439; 1554-5, p. 109; 1560-3, p. 445; Lansd. 1218; Reid, Council of the North, 181, 493; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 9; C66/958.
  • 4. Reid, 284 n; CPR, 155-7, pp. 371, 372; 1558-60, p. 146; 1560-3, p. 170, 187-8; 1563-6, pp. 124-4.
  • 5. Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 71; CPR, 1555-7, p. 329; 1560-3, p. 508; 1563-6, pp. 334-4; Yorks. Fines (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. ii), 268, 302, 312; Reid, 493; Yorks. Peds. 171.