OGLETHORPE, Owen (c.1542-1616), of Newington, Oxon.; later of Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks.

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. c.1542, 1st s. of John Oglethorpe of Newington by Alice, da. of John Goodwin of Upper Winchendon, Bucks. educ. L. Inn 1562. m. by 1577, Jane (d.1608), da. of Francis Conyers of Wakerley, Northants., 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 1579. Kntd. July 1603.

Offices Held

J.p. Oxon. from c.1582, sheriff 1584-5, 1595-6, commr. recusancy 1592.


Oglethorpe was the kinsman and namesake of Bishop Oglethorpe of Carlisle, whose appointment to the rectory of Newington in Henry VIII’s reign had introduced his family to Oxfordshire. Soon after he had crowned Queen Elizabeth, the bishop was deprived for his Catholic views. Oglethorpe’s father remained a Catholic, was listed as a recusant and asked in his will that tapers should be carried at his funeral. Oglethorpe himself was listed as a recusant in the diocesan return for Oxford, 1577, but within three years of his father’s death he conformed, and was put on the commission of the peace. In 1592 he was associated with Ralph Warcoppe, a servant of the Knollyses with puritan sympathies, in a commission to decide a dispute between Lady Stonor, Edmund Campion’s protector, and her son and guardian Francis Stonor.

Oglethorpe resided at Chalfont St. Giles during the second half of his life, and in 1588 he and (Sir) James Marvyn stood surety in the sum of £2,000 for one of the Catholic Dormer family. Oglethorpe’s move to Buckinghamshire may have been due to his connexion with the Goodwins, who were perhaps also responsible for his return at Chipping Wycombe. Francis Goodwin was returned with him as junior burgess. At Wallingford in 1597 Oglethorpe presumably needed no patron, for Newington was only four miles away, and much of his property was part of the honour of Wallingford. His return may have been assisted, however, by the high steward of the borough, Sir Henry Norris I, Lord Norris of Rycote, for whose favour he strove in the last years of Elizabeth’s reign. In seeking Norris’s attentions Oglethorpe co-operated with Dudley Carleton, son of another of Francis Goodwin’s relatives. In the Parliament of 1589 Oglethorpe was named to one committee to consider lands in the diocese of Oxford, 13 Mar. In that of 1597-8 he served on committees dealing with private arrangements relating to jointures and lands (8 Nov., 24 Jan., 7 Feb.). On 8 Nov. 1597, he was named to the committee of the bill considering obsolete obligations to provide armour and weapons; on 10 Nov. to that of a bill to regulate the government of Wantage; on 12 Jan. 1598 to the committee of the bill considering the excessive making of malt; and on 27 Jan. to the committee of a bill considering the wear and tear on highways caused by the transport of iron.

Oglethorpe’s knighthood at James’s coronation was the reward for his service in county offices and his cultivation of influential connexions. He spent his last illness at the London house of Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, who had married the widow of Oglethorpe’s friend Thomas Smith, master of requests. Oglethorpe died there on 2 June 1616, ‘leaving little or nothing ... behind him, scant so much as a good name’.

Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 123, 125; C142/186/51; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 276; ii. 7; Cath. Rec. Soc.xviii. 255; xxii. 111, 114; DNB (Oglethorpe, Owen); CSP Dom.1581-90, p. 275; 1598-1601, pp. 34, 52, 409; 1603-10, p. 563; 1611-18, p. 185; HMC Hatfield, iii. 106-7; Lansd. 71, f. 170; Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 64; APC, xvi. 141; D’Ewes, 445, 553, 555, 578, 587, 589, 594; PCC 16 Bakon, 81 Cope.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Alan Harding