MORE, Richard I (d.1595), of Grantham, Lincs.

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

s. of William More of Lichfield, Staffs. educ. ?G. Inn 1557. m. (1) a da. of Gabriel Armstrong of Notts., 1s.; (2) Godetha or Goodeth Green (d.1608), 4s. 2 or 3da.

Offices Held

Receiver-gen. Lincs. and Lincoln 1569; j.p. Lincs. (Kesteven) from c.1573.


So far as can be discovered, Richard More of Grantham had no direct connexion with Plympton, but if he was the man of this name who entered Gray’s Inn during the same year as Francis, 2nd Earl of Bedford, he presumably knew the Earl, who until his death in 1585 sometimes nominated at Plympton, less than 20 miles from his manor at Tavistock. Bedford’s widow, who was still living in 1586, had earlier been married to the 2nd Earl of Rutland, and More, as a Grantham man, must have known Rutland’s family. A letter survives from him to the 3rd Earl, written in January 1584, asking to be allowed to change the position of his pew in Grantham church as it was ‘most unfriendly placed ... amongst boys and apprentices’.

Since no Richard More of Devon of suitable date and status to be the Plympton Member has been found, it has been assumed that More of Grantham represented both Plympton and, in the following Parliament, his home town. His 1586 colleague, Jasper Cholmley, was legal adviser to the widowed Countess of Bedford and her son, and it looks as if she, or Bedford’s son-in-law the Earl of Warwick on her behalf, exercised patronage at Plympton in the first election after her husband’s death. At Grantham in 1589 the position was somewhat similar, since the young Earl of Rutland was a minor and the Rutland patronage of the borough was in abeyance. In this case More’s local prominence was presumably sufficient to gain him a seat. He owned property in and around Grantham, including the manor of Earl’s Fields, which he bought in 1571 from Arthur Hall.

Late in 1579 he accused Hall of slandering the bishop of Lincoln, and himself. In November More was ordered to bring before Privy Councillors his witnesses to Hall’s statements, but since he and Hall were known to be at loggerheads and Hall could not produce witnesses, the Council would not accept his charges as proven. After more than ten years the disputes were still continuing. Early in 1591 Hall complained to Burghley that More ‘a beggar’s brat, a mere upstart’ had written defamatory letters about him. If, as is likely, the Catholic recusant Hugh More of Lincolnshire who was executed in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in August 1588 was his son, it appears that it was More who denounced him to the authorities.

More’s will, drawn up in March 1595 and proved that October, describes him as ‘a miserable and wretched sinner, having God before mine eyes’. He bequeathed his soul to God, ‘fully hoping that He will receive the same to His mercy in the merits of His Son Jesus Christ, my Redeemer and most merciful Saviour’, and his body to the earth, whence he hoped it would rise and be joined to his soul to appear before ‘the tribunal seat of Christ my Judge’, and hear that his portion was to be ‘everlasting joy and felicity ... amongst the elect vessels of God. Amen’. A long section of the will concerned legacies to four sons and three daughters. One, Mary, (possibly a step-daughter, or illegitimate, as she does not appear in the pedigrees), had evidently shown too much independence. She was to have only 40s. for her wedding if she married Raphael Wiseman, a silkman of London, to whom she might ‘have contracted herself’ without her father’s permission. However, the executor, her brother Alexander, was to pay Wiseman £200, provided he made reasonable provision for his wife. If Mary married anyone else considered suitable—presumably by More’s widow and the executor—she herself could have the £200 as a dowry. The other unmarried daughter, Susan, was to have the same amount, and her sister Ursula, wife of John Fisher, £100 if her husband predeceased her. The younger sons were provided for: Thomas was to be apprenticed, and Gabriel to go to a university. The widow, ‘Goodeth More, now my wife’, received a life interest in various lands and in the family house at Grantham. The only significant charitable bequest was £10 to the poor of the town.

More died 10 Aug. 1595, and was buried at Grantham next day.

Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 687; CPR, 1566-9, p. 335; Lansd. 14, f. 9; 29, f. 179; SP12/145; HMC Rutland, iv. 207; E. M. Unsworth, ‘Hugh More of Grantham and the More Fam.’, Lincs. Historian, ii. no. 12; Maryat, Hist. Desc. Grantham, 46; Cath. Rec. Soc. v. 10, 154, 158, 159, 289; APC, xi. 313, 326-7; xvii. 326; xxii. 93; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 12; PCC 64 Scott.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.C.H.