STANHOPE, Michael (c.1549-c.1621), of Sudbourne, Suff.

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.1549, 5th s. of Sir Michael Stanhope and bro. of Edward Stanhope I, Edward Stanhope II, John Stanhope and Sir Thomas Stanhope. educ. Trinity Coll. Camb. 1561; G. Inn 1568. m. Anne, da. and h. of Sir William Read, 4da. Kntd. 7 May 1603.

Offices Held

Groom of privy chamber by 1594, gent. of privy chamber by 1603; j.p.q. Suff. from c.1593; freeman, Ipswich 1597; keeper of the game in Sherwood forest by 1599; keeper of Hertingfordbury park, Herts. by 1604.


Stanhope no doubt followed his brother John to court in the 1570s, and, like John, he had to wait some time for an office of profit. There were the usual complaints of poverty, but at last, in 1594, he obtained the monopoly of importing Spanish wool for felt hats and he died wealthy. His return for Castle Rising in 1584 was probably secured through his brother-in-law, Roger Townshend of Raynham, Norfolk, whose son John represented the borough in 1593. In spite of his position and his connexions with the Cecils, he did not sit in the next three Parliaments. In August 1596 Sir Robert Cecil wrote to Ipswich recommending Stanhope as the next high steward of the borough: the town council rejected the nomination in favour of the Earl of Essex, but in compensation returned him to the following two Parliaments. As one of the Ipswich burgesses in the 1597 Parliament he could have attended the committee on draining the fens, 3 Dec. He was on the privileges and returns committee in both 1597 and 1601, on a committee concerned with malt, 12 Jan. 1598, and on one for abridging the penal laws, 2 Nov. 1601.

Stanhope married, probably late in life, the daughter of another Suffolk landowner. When she died, in April 1616, John Chamberlain thought

it no ill turn for her after her late disgrace of having a daughter (as is said) by Sir Eustace Hart. But the world talks somewhat suspiciously of her end.

Stanhope made his will 6 Nov. 1621, so ‘disabled by the gout that he could not write his name’. Among many bequests was £100 to the library of Trinity, Cambridge ‘in which college I was once a scholar’. The will was proved 6 Feb. 1622.

Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 7-8; Sales of Wards (Som. Rec. Soc. lxvii), 194; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 556; 1601-4, p. 351; HMC Hatfield, iv. 67, 423; v. 104, 475; vi. 49, 287, 332-3, 463; vii. 344, 500; xviii. 161; N. Bacon, Annals of Ipswich, 390; D’Ewes, 552, 567, 578, 622, 623; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 626; PCC 10 Savile.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe