BORLASE, William (1589-1630), of Bockmer and Little Marlow, Bucks.

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

bap. 28 Dec. 1589,1 1st s. of Sir William Borlase*, of Bockmer and Little Marlow, and Mary (bur. 18 July 1625), da. of Nicholas Backhouse, alderman and Grocer of London; bro. of Henry*.2 educ. Magdalen, Oxf. 1604; travelled abroad, c. 1607.3 m. Amy (bur. 1 Aug. 1661),4 da. of Sir Francis Popham* of Littlecote, Wilts. 3s. 2da.5 kntd. 5 Sept. 1617;6 suc. fa. 4 Sept. 1629.7 d. 15 Dec. 1630.8 sig. Willia[m] Borlase.

Offices Held

Dep. lt. Bucks. 1628-d.;9 j.p. Bucks. 1629-d.10

Gov., Sir William Borlase g.s., Bucks. 1629-d.11

Member, New River Co. 1619.12


Borlase was groomed to succeed his father as the head of the family in Buckinghamshire.13 In 1607, on leaving Magdalen College, and probably as a continuing part of his education, he was licensed to travel abroad for three years with his friends, William Lytton* and John Dunstan. They passed through Rouen but were forced to turn back at La Rochelle, having run out of money. In December 1608 John Chamberlain, a close friend of Borlase’s father, informed Dudley Carleton* that the travellers were ‘at pawn’ in Blois and that he, Sir William, and Rowland Lytton*, were meeting in London to discuss how to get them home again. Eventually, it was decided they should travel via Paris and the Low Countries. They were expected back in England in March 1609.14

In keeping with his family’s wealth and status, Borlase married well, into the prestigious Wiltshire Popham family. He also followed his father into Parliament as soon as he was of age, although he made no impression on the parliamentary record after he was elected at Chipping Wycombe in 1614. In the same Parliament his father sat for Buckinghamshire. Borlase did not serve again until 1628, when, for the second time, he secured a seat at Wycombe. One of the journals of the 1628 Parliament, consisting of a compilation of diary entries, copied speeches and separates, now BL Stowe ms 366, bears Borlase’s name on the title page. The evidence of Borlase’s authorship is not conclusive, but he is the most likely author/compiler.15 The manuscript comprises an often witty and revealing account of debates in the Commons, and seems to have been composed by someone intimate with Buckinghamshire affairs.16 It was perhaps intended to keep Borlase’s father informed of proceedings, as well as to aid Borlase’s own memory of the Parliament. It would have been natural for him to draft such a record, as he was bought up in the Knebworth literary circle in which his father played a leading role.17 No parliamentary activity is attributed to Borlase, in either his own or any of the other records of the Parliament.

Borlase did not long survive to enjoy his inheritance after his father’s death in late 1629. He died on 15 Dec. 1630 and was buried the following day at the feet of his father in Little Marlow church.18 His will, dated 16 Oct. 1629, does not specify his landholdings as these had been settled in trust upon his three sons in 1627, but his estate probably included at least ten manors.19 His widow received a life interest in their residence at Little Marlow as well as the use of the park which Borlase had constructed there; she later married the courtier Gabriel Hippisley.20 The wardship of Borlase’s eldest son, John†, was purchased by his relatives, Sir John Backhouse* and John Popham*.21 John Borlase was elected to both the Short and Long Parliaments of 1640, and was created a baronet in 1642; his younger brother, William, sat for Great Marlow after the Restoration.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Chris Kyle / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Cent. Bucks. Stud. Little Marlow par. reg. transcript, 11.
  • 2. Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 309-10.
  • 3. Al. Ox.; SO3/3, unfol., 20 Dec. 1607.
  • 4. T. Langley, Hist. Hundred of Desborough, facing 317.
  • 5. F. Popham, West Country Fam. 58; The Gen. n.s. ii. 285-7.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 166.
  • 7. C142/451/107.
  • 8. C142/465/48.
  • 9. Cent. Bucks. Stud. Verney Pprs. transcript cat. 9/19.
  • 10. C231/5, p. 18.
  • 11. The Gen. n.s. ii. 233.
  • 12. Select Charters of Trading Cos. ed. C.T. Carr (Selden Soc. xxviii), 111.
  • 13. VCH Bucks. iii. 80.
  • 14. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 254, 272, 277, 282.
  • 15. CD 1628, i. 20-3.
  • 16. Ibid. ii. 37.
  • 17. The Gen. n.s. ii. 234-9.
  • 18. Cent. Bucks. Stud. Little Marlow par. reg. transcript, 21.
  • 19. C142/451/107.
  • 20. PROB 11/159, ff. 179v-81v.
  • 21. WARD 9/163, f. 26.