GARGRAVE, Richard (1575-1658), of Kinsley and Nostell, 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. 1573, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Cotton Gargrave by his 2nd w. Agnes, da. of Thomas Waterton of Walton. educ. Peterhouse, Camb. c.1591; I. Temple 1591. m. Catherine, da. of Sir John Danvers of Danby Castle, 2da. suc. fa. 1595. Kntd. 1603.

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (W. Riding), sheriff 1604-5.


What little we know of Gargrave is to his discredit. On his half-brother’s execution for murder, his succession to the family estates, worth £3,500 p.a., was confirmed by letters patent under the great seal and that of the duchy of Lancaster. He received at least 11 manors apart from other houses and lands. But he was addicted to drinking, gambling and extravagance. An incident long remembered in the neighbourhood was his riding through the streets of Wakefield bestowing largesse upon the mob. The cartulary of Nostell shows him disposing of his lands little by little until all had gone and he was reduced to riding with the pack horses. In that predicament, he wrote to his brother-in-law, Lord Danvers, a letter in which the charitable have detected signs of quality and talent. He sounded penitent, as well he might, having nothing left to squander.

Gargrave presumably obtained his seat at Aldborough through his own family standing. He is not known to have played any active part in proceedings. No record survives of how he acquitted himself as a justice of the peace, and sheriff of Yorkshire. In the disputed county election of 1597 he was a supporter of Sir William Fairfax and Sir John Savile. In October 1601 he was to have been called upon, among other Yorkshire gentlemen, to furnish a horse or horses for Ireland, but he had gone to London. In 1638 he was found dead in an old inn with his head on a pack saddle. The family fortunes never recovered.

CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 111; 1611-18, p. 130; Hunter, S. Yorks. ii. 212; Manning, Lives of the Speakers, 222 seq.; HMC Hatfield, vii. 412-14.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.