TATE, Bartholomew (bef.1532-1601), of Coventry, Warws. and Delapré, Northants.

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. bef. 1532, 1st s. of Sir Bartholomew Tate of Laxton, Northants. by Anne (d.1564), da. of Laurence Saunders of Harrington, Northants., prob. wid. of one Befford. m. (1) by 1550, Elinor or Elizabeth, da. and h. of Richard Pauncefote, prob. 1da.; (2) c.1557, Dorothy, da. of Francis Tanfield of Gayton, Northants., 3s. inc. Francis and William, 3 or 4da. suc. fa. 1532.2

Offices Held

Freeman, Northampton.3

Escheator, Northants. 1560-2, j.p. by 1582, q. 1584-d.; sheriff 1585-6.


In the fifteenth century the Tates were London merchants. Tate’s father became a member of the royal household and held office in Calais, probably as vice-marshal or marshal. Tate himself must have been employed by Elizabeth before her accession, as she gave him a grant ‘for his service’ in the reign of Queen Mary.

After his father’s death his mother married Sir Thomas Longueville, but the latter died without surviving issue in 1536 and Tate was probably brought up either on his father’s Coventry manor, Whitley, or by his mother’s family, the Saunders. Some time between 1544 and 1548 his mother married Andrew, a younger son of Nicholas Wadham of Merrifield, Somerset, and on 13 Feb. 1548 they bought Delapré from John Mershe with remainder to Bartholomew. The following day Mershe obtained a licence to alienate the property to Tate’s two Saunders uncles, probably by way of a settlement. Tate and his mother immediately built a range of rooms on the site of the old nunnery and it may have been to these that he brought his first wife, his cousin Elizabeth Pauncefote, granddaughter of Robert Tate, and her father’s heir. She evidently died young, for in 1557 Tate enfeoffed his Kent manor of Stokebury to a group of Tanfield feoffees; and his eldest son, William, was baptized in 1559. Elizabeth Pauncefote has been described as dying without issue, but for two reasons it seems probable that she left a daughter: in the first place Tate retained the Pauncefote estates, and secondly in about 1576 his eldest daughter, Dorothy, married Robert Tanfield, his second wife’s brother.4

Tate had many relatives who might have assisted him to obtain advancement: his cousin, Richard Tate, the ambassador, who left Tate’s brother Anthony a £20 annuity; his second wife’s family, the Tanfields, prominent in legal circles; her cousins the Caves, royal officials; and above all his cousin, Sir Christopher Hatton. His friends, and the marriages arranged for his children show him to have been a member of Hatton’s circle, yet Tate does not himself appear to have derived any benefit from his relatives. The Tanfields undoubtedly promoted the legal career of his son Francis and the connexion with the Hattons probably helped his son William to a seat in Parliament.

In the late 1550s and the 1560s Tate was occupied in reorganizing his Northamptonshire estates, dividing his time between his Coventry manor of Whitley and Delapré. In 1564 he was recommended by the bishop of his diocese for inclusion on the commission of the peace as ‘an earnest furtherer’ of religion—a claim which receives no confirmation from the Catholic sympathies of the husbands he chose for his daughters. He does not appear on the commission until the eighties, and then played only a minor role in county affairs. He served the usual term as sheriff and was occasionally called upon to act on special commissions.5

In Coventry Tate was a well known figure as the owner of one of the principal manors within the city boundaries, and the descendant of prominent benefactors of the borough. A dispute over commons was settled by arbitration in 1569, and there was no quarrel outstanding in April 1573 when Tate was elected to replace Edmund Brownell, deceased, who had represented Coventry in the first session of this Parliament. In 1581 he was named one of the trustees, under Thomas Dudley’s will, of property left for charitable uses. By 1593 there was a further dispute: a reference in the council book to £23 in gold sent to London for Mr. Tate’s suits is presumably the prelude to the argreement in 1594 between Tate and the city concerning lands and tithes at Stivichall and Stretton.6

In Parliament Tate has only one recorded committee, 11 Feb. 1576, on the poor law. It may have been he who, about this time, wrote a treatise, wrongly ascribed to his son Francis, offering advice on the management of the House of Commons to a Privy Councillor—possibly the comparatively inexperienced Hatton, who is known to have been seeking advice.7

Tate died 23 Apr. 1601, and was buried at Hardingstone. He had expanded his estates shortly before his death by the acquisition from the Crown of the manor of Cotton and the purchase of Byfield rectory from Valentine Knightley. The bulk of his estates descended to his eldest son William, for whom in 1597 he had negotiated a splendid match with the eldest daughter, and presumptive coheir, of Edward, Lord Zouche of Harringworth.8

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. PCC 24 Thower, 29 Tashe; Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe:, 45, 198; Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 84; the pedigrees are confused about the numbering and names of his mother’s husbands, Wadham being generally given as her second.
  • 3. Northampton Recs. ii. 45.
  • 4. W. K. Jordan, Charities of London, 137, 271, 299, 300, 352, 405; S. Thrupp, Merchant Class of Medieval London, 369; Chronicle of Calais (Cam. Soc. xxxv), xxxix. 100, 163; PCC 16 Pynnyng; Baker, Northants. i. 27; Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 315; Wards 7/26/44; R. M. Serjeantson, Hist. Delapré;, 33; J. Wake and W. A. Pantin, Northants. Past and Present, ii. no. 5, 230; CPR, 1547-8, p. 332; 1555-7, p. 434; 1556-9, p. 321.
  • 5. CPR, 1558-60, pp. 12, 405; 1560-3, p. 326; Wards 7/26/44; Bridges, Northants. i. 363, 364, 365, 392; ii. 35; E. St. John Brooks, Sir Christopher Hatton, 68-70, 159; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 36; APC, xix. 68; xxii. 546; xxiv. 41; Lansd. 49, f. 171.
  • 6. Jordan, loc. cit.; Coventry Bk. of Payments, ff. 17, 44, 69; Coventry Loans, Benefactions and Charities (1802), p. 61; T. W. Whitley, Parl. Rep. Coventry, 59.
  • 7. CJ, i. 105; Harl. 253, ff. 32 et seq.; Neale, Parlts. i. 422-4; Sir Harris Nicholas, Sir C. Hatton, 216-18, 226.
  • 8. C142/265/58; PRO, cal. and index pat. rolls 31-7 Eliz. 32 (17), p. 24, 37-43 Eliz. 41(11); Baker, ii. 276; CP, xii. 951-2.