PISTOR, Tristram, of Upper Eldon, nr. Stockbridge, Hants.

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

1st s. of Robert Pistor of Upper Eldon by Dorothy, da. of John Fauntleroy of Folke, Dorset. m. (1) Alice, da. of Richard Waller of Stoke Charity, 2s.; (2) Anne, da. of John Wadham of Catherstone, Dorset, s.p.

Offices Held


The Pistors had long held the manor of Upper Eldon, four miles from Stockbridge. Pistor himself claimed to be woodward of nearby property belonging to the duchy of Lancaster, in the face of opposition from William, 3rd Lord Sandys, and Henry Gifford, his fellow-MP for Stockbridge in 1572, who together sued him in the duchy court for interference with their rights of common. Possibly a connexion with the duchy was responsible for Pistor’s return for Stockbridge, possibly he was recommended by one of his influential relatives, Sir William Paulet, or Richard Kingsmill, who was first cousin to Alice Waller, Pistor’s wife. Pistor evidently sympathized with the large puritan faction in Hampshire, of which Kingsmill was a leader, for he was distinguished in the Commons by a single-minded advocacy of puritan ends. Except for the mention of a Mr. Baker on the fraudulent conveyances committee (11 Apr. 1571), which could as well mean John Baker, all his parliamentary activities were to do with puritanism. On 14 Apr. 1571, described as ‘a gentleman betwixt the age of 50 and 60 years ... with a grave and seemly countenance and a good natural eloquence’, he spoke on William Strickland’s bill for the reformation of the Prayer Book. He was sorry, he said, that the Commons neglected measures for the salvation of souls in favour of bills which were ‘terrene, yea trifles in comparison’, such as subsidies, crowns, kingdoms; they should seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. The anonymous diarist of that Parliament considered that Pistor presented his arguments ‘with vehemency that there lacked no modesty, and with such eloquence that it neither seemed studied nor overmuch affected.’ Pistor returned to the charge on 19 May 1572. ‘It grieveth him to hear any mislike so good a bill’ as that for the reformation of rites and ceremonies, which would have exempted puritan, but not Catholic, dissenters from the Act of Uniformity. Somewhat naively he had ‘no doubt of the Queen’s Majesty’s or bishops good inclination to the furtherance of this bill’. He was put on the committee of the bill the next day. On the third reading of the same bill (20 May) he was ‘sorry to see how as well the last Parliament as this we are slow to further religion’ and feared that ‘the rod which hath yet but shaken us will shortly destroy us.’ He still wished ‘the bill to have furtherance and we to give life to the bishops. It shall come to their consideration. He doubteth not that which we have well begun, they will give perfection.’ He spoke again in the debate on the unlearned ministry, 29 Feb. 1576, to move ‘with great zeal’ the drafting of a petition to the Queen against ‘the unlearnedness of the ministry, abuse of excommunication, want of discipline, dispensations, and tolerations for non-residency and such like’, and was put on the ensuing committee. His only recorded activity in the third session is his membership of the committee on the Queen’s safety, 14 Mar. 1581.1

Nothing further has been ascertained about Pistor. The namesake who married the sister of John Fitzjames and died in 1601, leaving an eldest child born about 1579, was probably his son.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Alan Harding


  • 1. Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 3, 140, 148; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 786; Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 216; iv. 180; VCH Hants iv. 470, 477; CJ, i. 84, 96, 109, 134.
  • 2. Som. N. and Q. xvi. 180; C142/268/131.