ANDERSON, Sir Henry (1582/3-1659), of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb. and Haswell Grange, co. Dur.; later of Long Cowton, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press

Family and Education

b. 1582/3, 1st s. of Henry Anderson†, merchant and alderman of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and his 2nd w. Fortune, da. of Sir Cuthbert Collingwood of Eslington, Northumb.1 educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1599, aged 17; G. Inn 1602.2 m. (1) by 1614, Mary, da. of Richard Remington of Lockington, Yorks., archdeacon of E. Riding, 4s. 1da.;3 (2) Frances (bur. 27 Oct. 1652), ?s.p.;4 (3) Elizabeth, da. of Constance Hopkins, wid. of ?Pinour, ?s.p.5 suc. fa. 1605;6 kntd. 4 Aug. 1608.7 d. bet. 7 Mar. and 29 June 1659.8 sig. Hen[ry] Anderson.

Offices Held

J.p. co. Dur. 1606-34;9 member, Hostmen’s co., Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1606-d.;10 commr. subsidy Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1608, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and co. Dur. 1621-2, 1624, piracy, Cumbs., Northumb. and Westmld. 1614;11 mayor, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1613-14;12 sheriff, Northumb. 1615-16;13 commr. gaol delivery, co. Dur. 1618-34, sewers, Yorks. (N. Riding) 1623;14 collector (jt.), Privy Seal loan, co. Dur. 1625-6;15 commr. feudal tenures, co. Dur. 1626, Forced Loan 1626-7, subsidy, N. Riding 1641-2, Poll Tax 1641, assessment 1642, scandalous ministers, co. Dur. 1642.16


The Andersons established themselves as Newcastle merchants in the 1520s, trading in both of the main Tyneside commodities, cloth and coal. They served on the corporation for much of the sixteenth century, and were returned as MPs for the borough regularly from 1529. Anderson’s father, Henry, made his fortune during the vast expansion of the coal trade under Elizabeth, being a party to the Grand Lease of the lucrative Wickham and Gateshead mines in 1583 and a founder member of the Newcastle Hostmen in 1600. When the Hostmen formed a cartel for the sale of coal in 1603, Henry was allocated a share of 4,200 tons annually, equivalent to around 2 per cent of the total production quota. At his death in 1605 his son inherited a thriving business and significant landed estates on both sides of the Tyne, and quickly became a Hostman and joined the Newcastle corporation.17

Anderson was elected to the Commons for the first time in 1614, even though he was then serving as mayor of Newcastle. During this session Robert Berry* was ejected for returning himself while serving as bailiff of Ludlow, but no general investigation was ordered into mayoral returns, and in any case, Anderson had been returned not by himself, but by the sheriff of Newcastle. Anderson’s maiden speech, delivered on 9 Apr., concerned the other northern election dispute, over the return of Sir George Selby as knight for Northumberland during his tenure as sheriff of county Durham. Anderson subsequently supported Sir Edwin Sandys’s call for Durham to be granted parliamentary representation, on the grounds that, since 1610, the freeholders had been ‘bound to pay subsidies, and yet have no benefit of the general pardon’. A petition was submitted, but on 14 May, Sandys reported that a draft enfranchisement bill had been vehemently opposed by Bishop James of Durham. Anderson protested that he had been ‘charged by some great ones to have been the only occasion of this innovation’, and lambasted the bishop, whose tyranny he compared to that of the pope, insisting that enfranchisement

was the desire of most of the gentlemen of the county, and that they pressed it the last Parliament but [were] hindered by the bishop. He showed divers reasons what commodity it would be to the country, that they were not only more charged in their goods and more straitened in their liberty than any other country, but less secure of their lives.

Speaker Crewe quickly shut down a potentially turbulent debate, but at the bill’s second reading on 31 May, Francis Ashley asked that Bishop James be given leave to clear his name, whereupon Anderson retorted that he was welcome to do so, ‘for that there should be a bill of grievances preferred against him’.18 The abrupt dissolution of the session a week later precluded any further salvoes, but in the meantime the antipathy towards the bishop doubtless explains why, during a debate on the bill against clerical non-residence and plurality, Anderson mounted an attack against the Durham clergy:

they have, as their hereditary possessions, the greatest part of the country [i.e. Durham]: many great parsonages therein left without able teachers: hereby more recusants than in any part of England; for [clergy] so much take charge of the businesses of the country. Will sometime have two livings, and have no preacher in either.

Anderson also spoke out against the recent grant to the London alderman Sir William Cockayne of a monopoly of the export of English cloth. Indeed, he seconded Nicholas Fuller, who criticized the Privy Council for deciding this matter when it more properly belonged within the purview of Parliament, and protested that clothiers could not afford to feed themselves due to the high price of corn. Most of Anderson’s speeches in the Commons concerned local issues, but at the start of the session he intervened in the debate about supply, when he observed the thinness of the House, claimed that no more than four northern MPs were present, and urged that the question be postponed.19

Anderson was pricked as sheriff of Northumberland in November 1615, spending much of his time in dealing with disorders along the Scottish border.20 In November 1620, shortly after the summons of another Parliament, he was one of the signatories to a fresh petition for the enfranchisement of county Durham. Re-elected to the Commons, he and three other northern MPs delivered the petition to the king in January 1621, and he was named to the committee for the bill tabled in the Commons (6 Mar. 1621), which passed both Houses, but was lost at the dissolution. As the new bishop of Durham, Richard Neile, did not oppose the bill, Anderson felt no need to repeat his anti-clerical outbursts of 1614. The bill was revived in 1624, when Anderson, who had again been returned for Newcastle, attended both committee meetings. At the report stage he supported the enfranchisement of Barnard Castle, a duchy of Cornwall manor, revealing that (Sir) Talbot Bowes* had the predominant interest there; the proviso was adopted, but the bill was vetoed by the king.21

Another local cause Anderson backed in Parliament during the early 1620s was the attempt to obtain an exemption for coarse northern wools from a bill to ban the export of wool. At the second reading of this bill on 30 Apr. 1621, he supported a proposal by Sir Thomas Riddell of Newcastle for such a proviso, insisting ‘that the Scottishmen else will buy them [northern wools] and carry them away’. This amendment was rejected in committee, but at the report stage on 26 May a group of northern MPs, including Anderson, unsuccessfully attempted to have it reinstated. The bill was revived in 1624, and at the second reading on 6 Mar. Anderson moved once again to exclude the northern counties. He subsequently attended the meeting of the bill’s committee, but the proviso was again rejected. However, the bill was delayed in the Lords, and never reached the statute book.22

Aside from these two major issues, Anderson joined in several other debates concerning local affairs in 1621 and 1624. When Ralph Featherstonhalgh moved that the bill against holding secret inquisitions post mortem be extended to the Chester and Durham palatinates, Anderson was named to the committee (30 Apr. 1621); four days later he made a similar call to include the Durham courts in the bill for legal fees. He was named to the committee for the bill to restrict the removal of lawsuits from local courts by writs of supersedeas (9 Mar. 1624), and when the measure was reported on 23 Mar. he urged ‘that it may not be restrained to the courts at Westminster only’, but be extended to cover the Council in the North and the Durham palatine courts.23 At the second reading of the estate bill for the northern peer Lord Wharton, he moved for both parties to be represented by counsel, and was named to the committee (17 Mar. 1624), while on 3 May 1624 he tabled a petition against John Cradock, chancellor of Durham diocese. As a burgess for a port town, he attended two meetings of the bill for customs fees (appointed 24 Mar. 1624), and he later offered a proviso, the precise terms of which were not recorded. Finally, at the end of the 1624 session he was one of a committee appointed to draft a petition against a patent for surveying Newcastle coals (25 May), a grant he had warned would cause trouble at its inception in 1616.24

With local issues his main concern, Anderson was less involved in questions of high politics during the 1621 and 1624 sessions. When Thomas Sheppard delivered an intemperate tirade against puritans at the second reading of the Sabbath bill (15 Feb.), Anderson recalled that the measure had passed the House in 1614, and moved to have Sheppard called to the bar. On 1 May, when the Catholic barrister Edward Floyd was attacked for insulting the king’s daughter and son-in-law, Anderson was one of those who called not only for Floyd to be taken into custody by the Commons, but also insisted that he be publicly humiliated in London, ‘and the apprentices whoop at him if they will’. In 1624 he was named to the committee to vet the presentments of recusant officeholders by the knights of the shire (24 April). When Sir Thomas Hoby reported the committee’s conclusions on 12 May, Anderson ‘moved that we might only represent these things to the state, and do no more’, whereas Hoby wanted to have the offenders removed from office.25 As for the key question of a breach with Spain in 1624, Anderson, perhaps with one eye on his business interests, was reluctant to rush into a war. On 11 Mar., when the Commons came under heavy pressure to offer supply, he was only prepared to contemplate a vote once the king had broken off the Spanish Match. Eight days later, when a formal proposal was made for a vote of £300,000, he still considered ‘the very report of subsidies dangerous in the country’, but admitted the necessity to pay for defensive preparations and to support the Dutch in advance of any declaration of war.26

In the 1625 Parliament few bills of local interest were submitted to Parliament, and consequently Anderson was named to only two committees, one for privileges (21 June) and the other for the drunkenness bill (24 June). On 21 June the session began with an extraordinary motion from William Mallory for an immediate adjournment, a ploy to avert investigation of Sir Thomas Wentworth’s return for Yorkshire. Anderson was one of the few backwoodsmen who spoke out against this motion, which was rejected. The Yorkshire dispute came to a head on 5 July, when Wentworth’s election was judged void: Sir Thomas, caught unprepared, moved to delay a final decision until the House was fuller, and was supported by Anderson, but in the event a writ for a fresh election was moved.27

The outbreak of war with Spain in the autumn of 1625 hit Tyneside hard, with many local ships captured by the Dunkirk privateers, and more kept in port for lack of an escort. Hence when Anderson returned to Westminster again in 1626, his first speech, during the supply debate of 25 Feb., painted an understandably bleak picture: ‘the question is not what we shall do but what we are able to do. We are able to do nothing, and [he] sees no remedy’. Two days later he complained bitterly of the lack of defences along the east coast:

There have been 400 sail of ships in this river of Tyne and nothing to defend them ... two men of war of Holland ... almost put all the country in alarm. Those countries poor, and the recusants planted on the river; all along the people apt to stir ... the people [of Northumberland] unarmed and disaffected, and the county of Durham ill armed ... Moves that the river of Tyne may be better regarded - the country not able to assist.

Harking back to the views he had expressed in 1614, he went on to blame Durham’s weakness upon the domination of the county’s government by the clergy; he was later named to the committee for a bill barring clergymen from the commission of the peace (10 March). On 16 Mar., petitions were received about the growing trade dispute with France, but Anderson regarded this as a distraction, offering fresh reports of Spanish privateers off the Humber: ‘no ships dare stir for fear of the Dunkirkers’.28

On 4 Mar. Anderson was named to attend a conference to persuade the Lords to allow the duke of Buckingham to appear before the Commons to explain his seizure of a French vessel, while three days later he was included among the delegation which heard Archbishop Abbot and the lord chamberlain, the 3rd earl of Pembroke, make the case for war. Following this latter conference, there were fresh calls for a vote of supply, which some attempted to deflect by calling for an examination of the accounts of the 1624 subsidies. Anderson, however, insisted that it was ‘no new thing to tell us of preparations abroad’, and backed those who called for a subsidy debate. Nor, despite his frustrations with course of the war, was Anderson prepared to join those who wished to use maritime woes as a pretext for attacking lord admiral Buckingham. Once the Commons focused upon the impeachment of the favourite, Anderson dropped out of the debates. Indeed, his only recorded speech after 16 Mar. was an innocuous intervention in a disciplinary hearing against John More II. Held to have implied that King Charles was a tyrant, More insisted he had been misinterpreted, but as Anderson observed, ‘when words are out of the mouth, they are no longer his’.29 Under the highly charged circumstances of this session, local issues took a back seat, but Anderson was named to two committees in which he had a personal interest, one for the increase of seamen’s wages (22 Mar.), the other for a bill to punish Sir Robert Sharpeigh for reviving the patent for survey of Newcastle coals (1 June).30

Perhaps partly because of the impact of the war upon his business, Anderson sold much of his Tyneside land in the later 1620s, purchasing an estate at Long Cowton in the North Riding. He is not known to have stood for election at Newcastle in 1628, and in the following year he was reprieved from a second term as sheriff of Northumberland. In 1637 he persuaded two of the queen’s courtiers, Henry (Rich*), earl of Holland and Sir Thomas Jermyn* to secure him an audience with the king, to whom he delivered

a most parliamentary speech, disliking the ways they went in these times, dissuading the king wholly from further taking the Ship Monies, and moving His Majesty to return to the old way by Parliaments. The king grew very angry at his boldness and sauciness, rebuked him sharply, and bid him be gone.31

Re-elected at Newcastle in the extraordinary circumstances of October 1640, with much of the corporation absent and the town under Scots occupation, Anderson was an opponent of Wentworth (now earl of Strafford) in the early days of the Long Parliament.

Despite his outspoken disapproval of the Personal Rule, Anderson aspired to neutrality at the outbreak of the Civil War. He eventually made his peace with Parliament in April 1643, but fled to the royalist camp only weeks later, after his son-in-law John Hotham† failed in an attempt to betray Hull to the king; his estate was plundered by both sides. In 1648 he published a pamphlet advocating a moderate constitutional settlement, and in August 1649 he was imprisoned for distributing royalist propaganda: his estates were sequestrated and even after his discharge, his debts kept him in prison for the rest of his life. His will of 7 July 1658, which stipulated that he be buried ‘according to the discipline of the Church of England as it was used in Queen Elizabeth her time’, provided for his wife and family on the assumption that his lands and goods would be restored to him. A codicil of 7 Mar. 1659 named his wife as executor, and the will was proved on 20 June 1659.32 None of his direct descendants sat in Parliament, but a more distant relative, Sir Francis Anderson, represented Newcastle three times after the Restoration.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Vis. Northumb. ed. Foster, 6, 32.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; GI Admiss.
  • 3. Vis. Northumb. ed. Foster, 6.
  • 4. Soc. Gen., St. Dunstan-in-the-West par. reg.
  • 5. PROB 11/293, ff. 32-3.
  • 6. Northumbrian Monuments ed. C.H. Hunter Blair (Newcastle-upon-Tyne Recs. Cttee. iv), 39.
  • 7. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 146.
  • 8. PROB 11/293, f. 33; 11/294, f. 187.
  • 9. C181/2, f. 16v; C231/5, p. 140.
  • 10. Recs. Co. Hostmen ed. F.W. Dendy (Surtees Soc. cv), 263, 267.
  • 11. SP14/31/1; C212/22/21-3; C181/2, f. 215v.
  • 12. Northumb. RO, ZAN/M13/B34.
  • 13. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 99.
  • 14. C181/2, f. 318; 181/3, f. 96; 181/4, f. 122v.
  • 15. E401/2586, p. 392.
  • 16. Univ. of London, Goldsmiths’ ms 195, i. f. 2v; C193/12/2; SR, v. 83, 107, 150.
  • 17. Recs. Co. Hostmen, 43-7, 266-7; J. Hatcher, Rise of Brit. Coal Industry, 512-16.
  • 18. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 39-40, 235-7, 243-4, 389, 397; A.W. Foster, ‘Struggle for Parliamentary Representation for Durham’, in Last Principality ed. D. Marcombe, 178-85.
  • 19. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 68, 216-21, 300.
  • 20. CSP Dom. 1611-18, pp. 360, 374-5, 389; Northumb. RO, 1DE7/49.
  • 21. Durham Civic Memorials ed. C.E. Whiting (Surtees Soc. clx), 25-6; Foster, ‘Parl. Representation’, 186-91; CJ, i. 539b, 697b; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 211.
  • 22. CJ, i. 597a, 628a, 678b; CD 1621, ii. 394-6; ‘Pym 1624’, ff. 20v-1; C.R. Kyle ‘Attendance Lists’, 224; Kyle thesis, 81-6.
  • 23. CJ, i. 596-7, 606a, 680b, 747a; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 155.
  • 24. CJ, i. 688a, 747b, 782a; ‘Holland 1624’, i. f. 58, ii. f. 70v; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, 218; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 360.
  • 25. CJ, i. 522a, 601b, 774a; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 46; CD 1621, iii. 126; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 180v.
  • 26. CJ, i. 682b, 742b; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 73; Holles 1624, p. 31; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 135; T. Cogswell, Blessed Revolution, 203-15.
  • 27. Procs. 1625, pp. 205, 209-10, 239, 315.
  • 28. Procs. 1626, ii. 130, 142, 246, 298.
  • 29. Ibid. ii. 195, 216, 251; iii. 359.
  • 30. Ibid. ii. 339, 374; iii. 340.
  • 31. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, ii. 56.
  • 32. HMC Cowper, i. 379; M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 87; CCC, 2334-6; R. Howell, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Puritan Rev. 126-7; PROB 11/293, ff. 32-3; 11/294, f. 187.