FERRERS, George (c.1510-79), of Markyate and Flamstead, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1510, 1st s. of Thomas Ferrers of St. Albans by Alice, da. of John Cockworthy of Cockworthy, Devon. educ. Camb. BCnL 1531; L. Inn Nov. 1534. m. (1) 1541, Elizabeth, wid. of Humphrey Bourchier; (2) Mar. 1546, Jane, da. of John Southcote of St. Albans, 1s.; (3) 1569, Margaret Preston, wid., of St. Albans; at least 3 other s. and 2da.1
Servant of Thomas Cromwell† by 1538; page of the chamber by 1542-aft. 1547; j.p. Herts. 1547-54; master of the King’s pastimes Christmas 1551, 1552; lord of misrule Christmas 1553; escheator Beds. and Bucks. 1562-3, Essex and Herts. 1566-7.2
A courtier under Henry VIII and Edward VI, Ferrers served Queen Mary until 1555 after which there is no trace of him in the records of her reign. Probably he retired to his estates or went abroad. He held no office in Elizabeth’s reign and was not restored to the commission of the peace. For his one Elizabethan Parliament he sat for his local borough of St. Albans where his father and grandfather owned property. He was appointed to the subsidy committee (7 Apr.) and to one concerning juries (14 May). Favouring Mary Stuart’s claim to succeed Elizabeth, he corresponded with the bishop of Ross, who thought that Ferrers was the author of an unpublished Latin work advocating Mary’s claims.3
Documents survive in two Star Chamber cases brought by Ferrers. The first in 1562, concerned a riot in Flamstead ‘bury ground’, over the right to collect wood. The defendant accused Ferrers of packing a general sessions with his ‘assured friends’ in the county. The other case, dated 1573, followed the marriage of Elizabeth Preston, Ferrers’s stepdaughter, to Thomas Seale, a servant of the Earl of Leicester. Ferrers and his wife claimed that they had not consented to the marriage, and that Rowland Carew, who had given away the bride, was not a relative. The defendants answered that the contract, which had been signed in the presence of Mary and Jane Ferrers, daughters to the plaintiff, was legally binding. Further details of the case are lacking.4
Ferrers was the author of translations of Magna Carta and of a number of medieval statutes, and part author of the pretended collection of historical poems entitled A Myrroure for Magistrates. He no doubt composed masques and plays for the court ‘pastimes’, and Nichols attributes to him the verses spoken by the Lady of the Lake at the Kenilworth pleasures in 1575.5
He died intestate at Flamstead, where he spent most of the last years of his life, early in January 1579, and was buried there 11 Jan. On 18 May letters of administration were granted to the widow.6
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 359; Vis. Herts.(Harl. Soc. xxii), 141-2; PCC 16 Alenger, 45 Alen; Herts. Gen. and Antiq.iii. 108-9; Mar. Lic. Fac. Off. (Harl. Soc. xxiv), 7; Mar. Lic. Bp. London (Harl. Soc. xxv), 44; Par. Regs. St. Albans Abbey (Brigg 1897), 129; C3/153/11; C142/186/2; St. Ch. 5/F4/36; Req. 2/1/67.
- 2. LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xiv; Holinshed, Chron. (1808), iii. 824 seq.; Loseley Mss, ed. Kempe, 19-35; APC, ed. Nicolas, vii. 332; Folger L. b. 257; LC/2/2, f. 64.
- 3. Antiq. Coll. (1770), v. 156; PCC 45 Alen; CPR, 1547-8, p. 314; 1550-3, p. 378; Narr. Ref. (Cam. Soc. lxxvii), 163; Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 187; APC, v. 142; Herts. Gen. and Antiq. i. 1, 5; iii. 239; Add. Ch. 18160, 18162, 18164; Le Neve, Fasti (1854), ii. 489; CJ, i. 83, 89; Murdin, State Pprs. 30-51.
- 4. St. Ch. 5/F5/4; 4/8/4; 5/F4/36.
- 5. Nichols, Progresses Eliz. i. 491-2.
- 6. VCH Herts. ii. 189-91, 195, 200; PCC admon. act bk. 1579, f. 169.