ROGERS, Richard (c.1527-1605), of Bryanston, Dorset.

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. c.1527, 1st s. of Sir John Rogers bro. of Thomas. m. (1) Cecilia (d. 1566), da. of Andrew Luttrell of Dunster Castle, Som., 2s. Andrew and John I; (2) Mary, da. of Owen West, bro. and h. of Thomas West, 9th Lord La Warre, wid. of (Sir) Adrian Poynings, 1s. suc. fa. 1565. Kntd. 1576.

Offices Held

J.p. Dorset from c.1570, sheriff 1573-4, 1587-8, commr. piracy 1581, col. of musters, Blandford division 1587-1600; lt. of the Isle of Purbeck 1588, dep. lt. by 1601.


Rogers took one turn as knight of the shire, for the long-lasting Parliament of 1572. He was put on a committee, 30 Jan. 1581, concerning wrecks. Described by a modern historian as ‘a very great landlord ... and a very great pirate promoter’, Rogers was deeply involved in the Dorset piracy scandal of 1577, being fined £100 and bound over to return his loot. Four years later, on the Elizabethan principle of setting a thief to catch a thief, he was granted a commission to eradicate piracy. In 1584 he was again in trouble, the Privy Council making him cool his heels at Windsor for 15 weeks before he was allowed to depart to attend the Dorset assizes. Yet the government knew he could be relied upon in time of danger. When the Armada threatened he travelled the county to inspect defence arrangements, submitting a detailed report to the Privy Council on forts and castles. From 1587 to 1600 he commanded one of the five Dorset defence divisions, and his estate near Blandford was used for training the musters and was designated an assembly point in case of invasion.

Rogers’s second marriage to the widow of Sir Adrian Poynings probably coincided with the marriage of his eldest son Andrew to Poynings’s daughter. Andrew’s second marriage—to the daughter of the Duke of Somerset—led to her nephew, Lord Beauchamp, marrying Andrew’s notorious sister Honora. The Earl of Hertford, Beauchamp’s father, was opposed to the marriage and deputed one George Ludlow to discuss the situation with the Rogers family. According to Ludlow, who called Honora ‘a baggage’ and Sir Richard ‘a fool’, Beauchamp had originally intended to have ‘but a night’s lodging with her’. The Earl’s opinion of Sir Richard was that, ‘though outwardly he did nothing’, either to oppose the marriage or to bring it about, his daughter had ‘inwardly his goodwill’. Rogers’s stepdaughter married George More, the match being ‘first moved by the good lord of Lincoln’, and John Wolley. travelled to Dorset to arrange matters. This marriage led to an action in Chancery brought by Edward More and his wife Mary against Sir Richard and Lady Rogers.1

Bryanston was a regular stopping place for the justices of assize on circuit, and Rogers entertained them until just before he died. In 1598 he was described as being over 80 years of age (an exaggeration), sick and bedridden, and no longer able to do the Queen service. Nevertheless, when his heir Andrew died he entered into a last controversy over his daughter-in-law’s jointure, this time with her brother, the Earl of Hertford. The old man died in 1605, leaving a will in which he cut out his son Richard and his servants and said that only his daughter-in-law Jane—married to his second son John—had not displeased him.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


  • 1. R. Lloyd, Dorset Elizabethans, passim; Roberts thesis; Hutchins, Dorset, i. 250, 284; ii. 455; Harl. 3324, ff. 40, 59; 6993, f. 107; HMC Bath, iv. 191-3; HMC 7th Rep. 633, 634, 650; APC, ix. 329; x. 61, 72, 87, 106, 146, 216; xii. 241; D’Ewes, 289.
  • 2. VCH Dorset, ii. 201; SP12/158/73; Cam. Misc. iv(2), pp. 29, 40; HMC Hatfield, ix. 77; xi. 28; APC, xxix. 432; PCC 31 Hayes.