PETRE, William (1575-1637), of Ingatestone, Essex.

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. 24 June 1575, 1st s. of Sir John Petre, 1st Baron Petre, by Mary, da. of Sir Edward Waldegrave of Borley. educ.Exeter Coll. Oxf. 1588, BA 1591; M. Temple 1593. m. 8 Nov. 1596, Katherine (d.1624), 2nd da. of Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester, 7 surv. s., 3 surv. da. Kntd. 1603; suc. fa. as 2nd Baron 1613.

Offices Held

J.p. Essex 1623-5.


Elected knight of the shire at the age of 22, Petre could have attended committees on enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5, 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), the subsidy (15 Nov.) and draining the fens (3 Dec.). He was less successful than his father in walking the tightrope between the demands of the state and his family religion. Though Lord Burghley was his godfather, he was brought up by a Catholic tutor and eventually, in 1625, ‘disarmed’ and removed from the commission of the peace. In 1626 he was presented for non-attendance at church; and in 1628-9 he was saved from being tried for recusancy only by the intervention of Charles I. He died 5 May 1637, and was buried at Ingatestone a week later. In his will, dated January 1633 and proved 23 June 1637, he left bequests to the poor of local parishes, to prisoners in Colchester gaol and to his ten surviving children. He hoped he would go ‘where I can no more offend God’.

CP; Essex RO, D/DP, F. 35; 2/SR 242/124, 250/28, 252/37, 266/117; D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 567; APC, 1625-6, p. 228; C. T. Kuypers, Thorndon; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 412; PCC 92 Goare.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.H.