RADCLIFFE, Sir Henry (by 1533-93), of Portsmouth, 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

b. by 1533, 2nd s. of Henry Radcliffe, 2nd Earl of Sussex, by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk; bro. of Thomas. m. lic. 6 Feb. 1549, Honor, da. and coh. of Anthony Pound (d.1547) of Drayton in Farlington, 1s. Kntd. 2 Oct. 1553; suc. bro. as 4th Earl of Sussex 9 June 1583; KG 22 Apr. 1589.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1560.

Sewer to the Queen by 1556; PC [I] 1557; lt. of Leix and Offaly 1557-64; constable of Portchester castle and lt. of Southbere forest 1560; jt. steward, crown possessions in Essex 1561; warden and capt. of Portsmouth from May 1571; burgess, Portsmouth bef. 1575, high steward from 9 Sept. 1590; j.p. Hants from c.1573, commr. musters by 1576, jt. (with William Paulet , 3rd Mq. of Winchester) ld. lt. from 1585.1


Radcliffe went to Ireland when his elder brother was made lord deputy in 1557. He was returned to Parliament for Chichester, perhaps through the influence of his relative the 12th Earl of Arundel, but whether he was in England during the session is not clear. All the information found about him in these years refers to Ireland, until, in 1564, charges of corruption were brought against him by commissioners dealing with the government of Ireland. He was imprisoned in Ireland in January 1565, but the English Privy Council ordered his release on bail, and he left Ireland soon afterwards on leave from which he never returned. He next settled in Hampshire, where his wife had inherited estates giving him sufficient status to be elected for the county to the 1571 Parliament. He became captain of Portsmouth in May that year and was returned there to the Parliament of 1572. There is no record of his speaking in the House, but he was appointed to committees on ports (13 Feb. 1576), small arms (17 Feb.), sheriffs (18 Feb.), wine (21 Feb.), unlawful weapons (2 Mar.), land reclamation (6 Mar.), removing benefit of clergy from rapists and burglars (7 Mar.), justices of the forest (8 Mar.), Lord Stourton’s bill (13 Mar.), London goldsmiths (13 Mar.), the subsidy (25 Jan. 1581) and navigation (17 Mar. 1581). After succeeding to the peerage he was appointed a trier of petitions in the Lords in the Parliaments of 1586, 1589 and 1593.2

By 1587 he was writing to the Queen about his own and his family’s debts, and his deteriorating financial situation was exacerbated by a dispute with the dowager Countess of Sussex. He also had differences with his fellow lord lieutenant about the Hampshire defences. He made his will a few days before his death on 14 Dec. 1593. The son and heir, Robert, was executor and residuary legatee.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. C142/210/84; CPR, 1553 and App. Edw. VI, p. 6; 1555-7, p. 516; 1558-60, p. 390; CP, xii(1), pp. 526-8; Lansd. 4, f. 156; 56, f. 168 seq. CSP Carew, 1515-74 passim; CSP Ire. 1509-73 passim; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 413; 1581-90, pp. 245-6; 1591-4, p. 418; Portsmouth Recs. 133, 137.
  • 2. APC, iv. 431; vii. 200, 270, 271; Essex RO, Maldon recs. DB/3/3, 256, 257; CSP Ire. 1509-73, pp. 252-4, 339, 344; 1586-8, p. 126; R. Bagwell, Ireland under the Tudors, ii. 72-5; D’Ewes, 247, 252, 262, 288, 306, 307; CJ, i. 105, 106, 107, 110, 111, 112, 115, 119, 134; LJ, ii. 113, 145, 169.
  • 3. VCH Hants, ii. 150; iii. 189, 331; N. and Q. (ser. 10), iv. 184, 268, 472; Lodge, Illus. ii. 319; CSP Dom. 1581-90, pp. 144, 245, 261, 319, 458, 497-8; Northants. RO, Stopford Sackville mss 239; PCC 19 Dixy; C142/98/58, 241/109.