CAPELL, Christopher (c.1559-1626), of Gloucester, Glos.

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



1626 - bef. 13 May 1626

Family and Education

b. ?c.1559,1 6th s. of Edward Capell (d.1567/8) of Sollershope, Herefs. and Alice, da. of Thomas Goodere.2 m. (1) 17 June 1581,3 Grace (d. 21 Dec. 1620), da. of Richard Hand, 3s. 1da.;4 (2) Ellen (d. 16 Dec. 1652), da. of Richard Hill of Dymock, Glos. wid. of William Lane of Gloucester, s.p.5 bur. 13 May 1626.6 sig. Christopher Capell.

Offices Held

Freeman, Gloucester 1579/80,7 common councilman 1591,8 sheriff 1594-5,9 alderman 1598-d.,10 mayor 1598-9, 1619-20, Jan.-Oct. 1621,11 dep. lt. by 1604-d.,12 commr. subsidy 1608,13 collector of Privy Seal loan 1625-6.14


Capell’s ancestors held the Herefordshire manor of How Capell from at least the fifteenth century. Capell himself was the younger son of a younger son, and inherited only £20 from his father, but prospered as a mercer in Gloucester. His father was a Catholic, bequeathing his soul to ‘our blessed lady St. Mary and to all the holy company of heaven’.15 Capell, on the other hand, was described as ‘a good friend to such ministers that had suffered for nonconformity’, and was the father of the puritan divine Richard Capell, who was presented to the Gloucestershire rectory of Eastington by Nathaniel Stephens* in 1613.16

Capell was nominated by the corporation of Gloucester for election to the second Jacobean Parliament but was unsuccessful.17 Between 1621 and 1624 he was engaged in a bitter dispute over precedence with alderman John Jones*, during which time he was accused of using bribery to secure his re-election as mayor in 1621.18 There may have been a religious element to this conflict, as Jones was registrar of the diocese and was opposed to changes in the ‘spiritual jurisdiction’.19 He was elected Gloucester’s senior Member in 1625, but left no mark on the records of the first Caroline Parliament. Re-elected in 1626, he subsequently fell ill, and after being excused from a call of the House on 5 Apr. he was given leave to return home on 1 May.20 However, he never returned to Gloucester, but died shortly afterwards in Fetter Lane, where he had presumably been lodging during the Parliament.21 In his will, drafted on 11 Apr., he left property to his children and grandchildren, and a house to his wife, ‘because she lost her house by marrying of me’. He also required that she should take charge of a grandson, ‘and breed him a scholar’.

I would not that his father should have to do with him by no means; he have other children enough to look to. For Ned Caple to be with my wife, his grandmother, is best, for she will love him, and there be no children in her house.

He named as his executor his son-in-law John Hanbury* and asked to be buried with his first wife in his parish church of St. Nicholas, Gloucester. However, the funeral was held in London, at St. Dunstan-in-the West. He bequeathed St. Nicholas’ a communion cup, such as the one ‘as is in the church by Westminster where the House of Parliament did receive the sacrament’.22 No other member of the family was elected to Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. STAC 8/4/9.
  • 2. Vis. Herefs. ed. Weaver, 17; PROB 11/50, f. 122.
  • 3. Soc. Gen. St. Nicholas, Gloucester par. reg.
  • 4. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 36; T.D. Fosbrooke, Original Hist. of City of Gloucester, 183.
  • 5. Vis. Glos. ed. Fenwick and Metcalfe, 106; Fosbrooke, 136.
  • 6. GL, ms 10344, unfol.
  • 7. Glos. RO, GBR F4/3, f. 201.
  • 8. Glos. RO, GBR B3/1, f. 131v.
  • 9. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 185.
  • 10. Glos. RO, GBR B2/1, ff. 39v, 61v.
  • 11. Fosbrooke, 209.
  • 12. C66/1618; Glos. RO, GBR H2/2, p. 67.
  • 13. SP14/31/1, f. 15.
  • 14. SP16/44/9; APC, 1625-6, p. 419.
  • 15. PROB 11/50, ff. 121v-2.
  • 16. Ath. Ox. iii. 423.
  • 17. Glos. RO, GBR B3/1, f. 253v.
  • 18. Glos. RO, GBR B3/1, ff. 494v, 496v; STAC 8/109/19; 8/188/12.
  • 19. STAC 8/207/25.
  • 20. Procs. 1626, ii. 431; iii. 108.
  • 21. GL, ms 10344, unfol.
  • 22. PROB 11/149, ff. 127v-8v; W.H. Medland, ‘St. Nicholas’ Church, Gloucester’, Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxiii. 125.