PARKINS (PERKINS), Richard (?bef.1539-1603), of Bunny, 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. bef. 1539, ?2nd s. of Richard Parkins of Ashby in Bottesford, Lincs. by his w. née Atkinson. educ. I. Temple, called 1568. m. Elizabeth (d. June 1570), da. of Adam or Aden Beresford of Fenney Bentley, Derbys., wid. of Humphrey Barlowe of Stoke, Derbys., 4s. inc. George 4da.1

Offices Held

Recorder, Leicester from 1575, Nottingham from c.1582; master of Plumptre’s hospital, Nottingham; sheriff, Nottingham 1599-1600.


Parkins is said to have been descended from Thomas Parkins of Ufton Court, Berkshire, and if so was probably related to Christopher Parkins, the diplomat and dean of Carlisle, who appears in an indenture concerning the disposal of Richard’s property and is also thought to have originated in Berkshire. Richard, however, had no other connexion with that county, and in a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury claimed descent from ‘divers of the ancient houses’ of Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and elsewhere. He was brought up in the household of a ‘Mr. Mountsexens’ of Peterborough, who was probably John Mountsexen, registrar of the bishop of Peterborough. Mountsteven may have been responsible for launching Parkins on his legal career. At any rate, while still at the Inner Temple, ‘Mountsexens’ introduced Parkins to Mrs. Frideswide Strelley, a wealthy widow of Ulverscroft in Leicestershire, and gentlewoman of the privy chamber under Mary. His entry into Mrs. Strelley’s household was of considerable importance in Parkins’s career, for it brought him to the notice of the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. On the lady’s death in 1565, Parkins became one of the executors of her will, a position he was accused of abusing, in conspiracy with the Earl, who was said to have favoured the lawyer ‘for his protestannical [sic] religion’. How much truth lay in these charges is uncertain, but Parkins’s religious beliefs and the Earl’s patronage afford an explanation for his appointment as recorder of Leicester in 1575.2

The strength of Parkins’s position at both Leicester and Nottingham was shown in the parliamentary election in 1584. When news of the issue of the writs reached Leicester, the mayor urged him to accept nomination there rather than at Nottingham, even in the face of a request for nomination of both Members from Sir Ralph Sadler, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. The intervention of another candidate supported by Sir George Hastings, representing the Earl of Huntingdon’s interests, further complicated the election, and it was possibly to extricate the mayor from an embarrassing position that Parkins decided to sit for Nottingham, near his estate at Bunny, which he had acquired through his marriage.3

Parkins continued to sit for Nottingham but his son George was returned for Leicester in 1597. Despite ill health, and a vague threat to resign his office at Leicester in 1592, Parkins remained in office in both towns right up to his death. His last important duty at Nottingham was performed on 21 Apr. 1603, when he gave an address of welcome to the new King’s wife and son. On Thursday, 23 June that year he welcomed them at Leicester. He fell ill on the same day, rode home to Bunny on the Sunday and died there 3 July, being buried in the chancel of the parish church. By his will, drawn up in June 1602, he made provision for his three younger sons, John, Adam and Adrian and his daughters Margaret, Frances, Anne and Elizabeth. His wife Elizabeth was sole executrix. Bunny passed to the eldest son.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: B.D.


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 759; Vis. Notts. (Thoroton Soc. rec. ser. xiii), 3; Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 159-60; J. T. Godfrey, Notes on Churches of Notts. Hundred of Rushcliffe, 31.
  • 2. Leicester Recs. iii. 160; J. Blackner, Hist. Nottingham, 137; Nottingham Recs. iv. 422 and n; Coll. of Arms, Talbot mss, transcribed by G. R. Batho, H, f. 507; Thoroton, Notts. ed. Throsby, i. 95; C142/280/79; HMC Rutland, i. 308-9; PCC 34 Morrison.
  • 3. Leicester Recs. iii. 208-10; J. Thompson, Hist. Leicester, 273-6; Neale, Commons, 171-2; Annals Nottingham, ed. Barley, ii. 549.
  • 4. Leicester Recs. iii. 276, 278-9; iv. 3-4; Nottingham Recs. iv. 411; York prob. reg. 29/121; C142/280/79.