LYTTELTON, George (d.c.1603), of Holbeach, Staffs. and Shelford, Warws.

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

2nd s. of (Sir) John Lyttelton of Frankley, Worcs. by Bridget, da. and coh. of Sir John Pakington; bro. of Gilbert. m. Margaret, da. and h. of Richard Smyth of Shelford, 8s.

Offices Held


The Lyttelton family had considerable influence in Droitwich, where Gilbert Lyttelton was an elector, and it is therefore highly likely that the man identified above was the 1586 Droitwich Member. However, in the absence of any conclusive evidence an alternative identification is suggested below.

When Gilbert was imprisoned by his sons he turned for support to George, who came to his assistance despite the fact that his own sons had sided with Gilbert’s. Their father, in his will, left George a substantial estate in tail male. This was presumably in part intended as compensation for his loss of his wife’s estates: she had originally been contracted to his younger brother William, and her estates settled, in default of issue by William—who in the event died before the marriage—on Sir John’s heirs. George, therefore, had only his wife’s life interest in those lands; but his immediate right to the estates which his father bequeathed him temporarily augmented his income in 1590 at Gilbert’s expense, and was the cause of his only dispute with this short-tempered man, though there were plenty with others. He had trouble over the possession of lands with his father-in-law’s widow and his uncle’s widow, both quarrels leading to violence and ending in the Star Chamber. It is not surprising that he could claim in 1596 that he had spent most of term time for the past two years in the courts at Westminster. He survived both his brother Gilbert, and his nephew John. Neither had completed the execution of his father’s will, and in October 1601 he obtained a commission for the administration of goods, which led to a suit against his nephew’s widow, Muriel. In December 1600 his house at Shelford was searched by a justice on suspicion that he, or one of his family, was concerned in treasonable activities. His sons, Stephen and Humphrey, were both disastrously involved in the Gunpowder Plot after his death.1

A possible alternative candidate for the seat is a lawyer, George Lyttelton of Grovely, Worcs., first son of Roger, the uncle of George Lyttelton of Holbeach, by his wife Elizabeth Stanley. He was born c.1550; educated at Oxford (BA); entered the Inner Temple 1574, called 1583. He inherited Worcestershire property from his father, and in 1590 was left lands in Grovely by his uncle, Sir John. He is to be found engaged in various suits over money, and was evidently a reasonably prosperous man, for he purchased further property near his home. On his death s.p. in 1600, his estates descended, as he had arranged, to his cousin William Lyttelton.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Nash, Worcs. i. 493; C142/229/140, 257/71; Lansd. 83, f. 6 seq.; APC, xix. 448; xx. 224; St. Ch. 5/L9/20, L14/16, L43/2, L46/23, L47/6; C2/L1. 12/32; C3/280/44; CSP Dom. Add. 1580-1625, p. 474.
  • 2. Gabriel thesis; PCc 26 Drury, 52 Wallop; Nash, i. 162-3, 493; Habington’s Worcs. i. 91-4; St. ch. Ch. 5/L9/20 L14/35, L27/26; C2/L1.5/5; C142/302/95.