RADCLIFFE, Alexander (d.1617), of Gray's Inn, London.

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

4th s. of Charles Radcliffe of Todmorden, Lancs. by Margaret, da. of Thomas Savile of Ecclesall, Yorks. educ. Staple Inn, G. Inn 1581. m. Grace Savile, wid. of William Vernon, s.p.

Offices Held


If Radcliffe was the Mr. Radcliffe who acted as counsel to Isabel, Countess of Rutland, in March 1589 in her suit against the young Earl, it would explain the return of a London lawyer for the borough of East Retford, where, after the death of the 4th Earl, the continuance of Rutland influence had been assured by the election of Sir George Chaworth (cousin and namesake of the other 1589 East Retford MP) as high steward. All that is known about the Gray’s Inn man, except for his will, relates to an incident which took place in June 1595. Radcliffe leased a house in Holborn in common with another Gray’s Inn lawyer, one Stibbin, whom Radcliffe described as ‘a common brawler, quarreller, and a sower of sedition’. According to Radcliffe’s subsequent Star Chamber case, Stibbin wished to force him out of the house, to which end he ‘daily troubled and molested’ him, made a woodyard ‘in the fairest walks, alleys and arbours’ of the garden, pulled up plants, hedges and fences and finally on 11 June, together with his wife and armed servants, pulled down fences that Radcliffe had erected that morning. When Radcliffe came out to take the air they beat him so ‘that the strokes and blows so given were heard by neighbours and others walking in [their] gardens’, who, ‘doubting that he should be murdered amongst them, came over the fence to save him’. The upshot is unknown.

Radcliffe made his will 20 Mar. 1616. It was proved by the executors, Samuel Radcliffe, principal of Brasenose College, and George Radcliffe of Gray’s Inn, the testator’s cousin, 4 July 1618. After expressing the hope that he would, following his death, live ‘in everlasting felicity with the blessed saints in heaven’, Radcliffe bequeathed £20 to the poor of Todmorden, and listed those who were to be provided with ‘blacks’ for the funeral. The principal bequest was £400 to the dean and chapter of St. Paul’s. The interest on £200 was to be used towards the payment of such ‘gentlemen scholars of Oxford and Cambridge as shall willingly bestow their pains in preaching the gospel at St. Paul’s Cross’, while the other £200 was to be used to purchase a pension, the yearly product of which should be divided between the gentlemen choristers and ministers of the choir in St. Paul’s. Charles Greenwood, vicar of Thornehill (?Lincolnshire), and the supervisor of the will, was bequeathed £20.

Radcliffe was presumably the Alexander Radcliffe buried at St. Dunstan-in-the-West 5 Nov. 1617.

C. P. Hampson, Book of the Radclyffes, 268-9; HMC Rutland, i. 269; St. Ch. 5/R39/33; PCC 74 Meade; St. Dunstan-in-the-West par. reg. Guildhall 10342, f. 229.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière