MARKHAM, Sir John (by 1486-1559), of Cotham, Notts.

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. by 1486, s. of Sir John Markham of Cotham by Alice, da. of Sir William Skipwith of Ormsby, Lincs. m. (1) Anne, da. and h. of Sir George Neville, 2s.; (2) Margery, da. of Sir Ralph Longford, 1s. 3da.; (3) Anne (d. 12 Oct. 1554), da. and coh. of Sir John Strelley of Strelley, wid. of Richard Stanhope of Rampton, 2s. Thomas and William 3da. suc. fa. 1508. Kntd. 25 Sept. 1513.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Notts. and Derbys. 1518-19, 1526-7, 1534-5, 1538-9, 1545-6, Lincs. 1532-3; j.p. Notts. 1521, q. 1559.

Chamberlain and receiver of court of general surveyors 1545; lt. of Tower of London 1549-Oct. 1551.1


Markham was the descendant of a family long established in Nottinghamshire. His father had fought beside Henry VII at the battle of Stoke and afterwards was much at court, while Markham himself served Henry VIII both as soldier and courtier, continuing a member of the royal household until the Duke of Somerset’s fall, when he appears to have retired from court. As early as 1537 his old friend Archbishop Cranmer wrote, ‘Sir John of long season hath unfeignedly favoured the truth of God’s word’, and later he was described by Edward Underhill as ‘both wise and zealous in the Lord’. His daughter Isabella and his son Thomas entered the Princess Elizabeth’s household at Hatfield during Mary’s reign.2

Markham’s local standing had already earned him election as knight of the shire before the accession of Elizabeth. It was to be expected that such a man, prominent in his own locality, a protestant and a friend of the protestant 2nd Earl of Rutland, would be elected to the crucial first Parliament of the new reign; and while Sir John sat for the county, his son sat for the city of Nottingham.3

Markham made his will in April 1559. Only the necessary minimum was left to his heir, Robert, the son of his deceased eldest son John. A disposition was made of his movable property to the prejudice of Robert. The executors of the will were Markham’s sons, Thomas and William, his friend Henry Needham, and his servant Nicholas Blouston. They were to hold lands in East Markham and Tuxford for 20 years for the payment of debts and legacies. Among these was a bequest of £100 to Thomas Cranmer, son of the archbishop, ‘for a due debt that 1 am bound in my conscience’. Markham appointed as supervisors (Sir) Gervase Clifton and his cousin Ellis Markham. The will was proved in October 1559.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy


This and the next two biographies are largely based upon C. R. Markham, Markham Memorials, vol. i and D. F. Markham, Hist. Markham Fam.

  • 1. Genealogist, n.s. vii. 18; Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 24; North Country Wills (Surtees Soc. cxxi), 15-16; LP Hen. VIII, i(2), p. 1028; xx(2), p. 555; CIPM Hen. VII, iii. 325-6; APC, ii. 371; iii. 401.
  • 2. Jenkyns, Remains of Archbishop Cranmer, i. 153-5, 224-5; Narratives of the Reformation (Cam. Soc. lxxvii), 173; I. Grimble, Harington Fam. 92.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xi. p. 223 et passim; xvii. p. 332.
  • 4. PCC 50 Chaynay; N. Country Wills (Surtees Soc. cxxi), 15-16.