MERES, Lawrence (d.c.1593), of Lincs.; later of Yorks; ?Suff.
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Family and Education
s. of Sir John Meres of Kirton, Lincs. by his 2nd w. Jane, da. of William Bleasby of Bleasby. educ. G. Inn 1540, called bef. 1552. m. (1) Constance Stegle, 2da.; (2) Faith, da. of Sir William Tyrwhitt of Scotter, Lincs., wid. of Ambrose Sutton† of Wellingore, Lincs., s.p.1
J.p. Suff. from c.1561, Lincs. (Lindsey, Holland) from 1564-87; recorder, Grimsby 1565; member, council in the north by 1568; j.p. Cumb. Northumb. Westmld. and all three ridings of Yorks. by 1574; escheator, Yorks. Jan.-Oct. 1579, Lincs. (Lindsey) 1582.2
Meres probably owed his Orford seat to his family’s connexions with the Duchess of Suffolk and her relatives. One of his brothers, Roger, had been lawyer to her first husband, while another, Anthony, went abroad in Mary’s reign with the Duchess and her second husband Richard Bertie, knight of the shire for Lincolnshire in 1563. By a settlement with the Duchess’s relative Lord Willoughby in 1562, the Berties were confirmed in their possession of the manor of Orford, with Willoughby as their tenant.
It seems possible that by the time he entered Parliament Meres was living in Suffolk. The previous year his name had appeared on the commission of the peace for that county, very near the end of the list, his membership of the quorum presumably depending on his knowledge of the law rather than on social prominence. In 1564 the bishop of Lincoln, commenting on Lincolnshire justices, described him as ‘earnest in religion’—an attitude likely to have commended him to the Duchess, an ardent puritan, and to her family.3
Most of our information about Meres concerns his period as a member of the council in the north. His salary rose from £40 until by about 1586 it had reached £100, half of which came from fines and forfeitures: one reference, presumably later, describes it as 200 marks. The Earl of Sussex wrote to Cecil in March 1569:
I have no cause to mislike any of her Majesty’s council here, but must recommend the great care and upright dealing of Sir Thomas Gargrave and Mr. Meres; in all causes in the court they proceed learnedly to the matter, without respect of the person.
In the following summer, when Meres came to London to renew a suit which Sussex had been ‘moving’ for him at court, the Earl wrote to Cecil that ‘in his desire to her Majesty’s service, [Meres] has determined to leave his habitation in Lincolnshire, and settle in Yorkshire’.4
Apart from the fact that a list of lawyers, drawn up avout 1576, described him as ‘of good living’, almost nothing is known of Meres’s private or domestic life. His will, drawn up in 1591, was proved on 27 May 1593. He was buried in York minster, and his property divided between his two daughters.5.
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 664-5; Genealogist, iv. 257-8; Pens. Bk. G. Inn, i. 499.
- 2. HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 296; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 61; Lansd. 35, f. 134; 121, f. 69; CPR, 1563-6, p. 24.
- 3. W. A. Copinger, Suff. Manors, v. 149; Lincs. AO, Anc. v/b/4; 3 Anc./8/3, p. 72; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 27.
- 4. CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, pp. 61, 74, 309; Lansd. 10, ff. 2-10; 49, ff. 194-5.
- 5. Lansd. 683, f. 64; Lincs. Peds.; York prob. reg. 25, f. 1362.