LASHER, James II (1579-at least 1638), of All Hallows, Bread Street, London; later of Fairlight, Suss.

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. 27 Apr. 1579, 1st s. of James Lasher I, innholder, of Hastings, Suss. and 1st w. Elizabeth Durrant of Hastings.1 educ. appr. Francis Shute, Goldsmith 1594.2 m. 19 Nov. 1604, Anne, da. of John Chambers, Grocer, of Lewisham, Kent, 1s. d.v.p. 2da.3 suc. fa. 1623. sig. James Lasher.

Offices Held

Freeman, Goldsmiths’ Co. 1602-13;4 liveryman, Blacksmiths’ Co. 1613, asst. 1614, steward (jt.) mayor’s feast 1616, upper warden 1626-9.5

Capt. militia ft., Tower Street ward, London by 1608-at least 1616,6 Hastings trained band by 1619-?23; member, Hon. Art. Co. London 1611, treas. 1614;7 freeman, London by 1612,8 Hastings 1620.9

Dep. exchanger by 1628.10


The eldest son of a prosperous member of the Hastings corporation, Lasher was apprenticed at the age of 15 to a London Goldsmith for eight years. Following the completion of his training in 1602, he was made a freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company, and the following year he took on his first apprentice.11 In 1604 he married the daughter of a London Grocer, John Chambers, who then lived in St. Mary Woolnoth, in which parish Lasher’s former master also resided. He may have lived with his father-in-law for a short while - his first child was baptized there in 1605 - but by 1608 he seems to have taken up residence in the parish of All Hallows, Bread Street.12 In January 1609 he was threatened with imprisonment by the rulers of his Company after he failed to attend the renter warden’s dinner the previous month as instructed. He seems to have escaped confinement, however, after explaining that ‘upon that day he had just occasion to go forth of the town about his ironworks’. These ironworks were probably located in his native county, as his principal work-master, Edward Tanworth, dwelt at River Park, Sussex.13

Lasher’s involvement in the iron industry may have left him with little time or inclination to devote to the Goldsmiths’ Company, and in September 1611 he paid a fine rather than be enrolled as one of the Company’s yeomen bachelors. In May 1613, just six months after he took on another apprentice, he asked to be turned over to the Blacksmiths’ Company, an organization which better reflected his commercial concerns than did the Goldsmiths. After paying a release fee consisting of six gilt spoons,14 he was transferred to the Blacksmiths, which made him a liveryman in early June. The following February Lasher was also appointed to the court of assistants, but the decision to advance him was not unanimous, and after the meeting one member of the court angrily swore that if ever he came before Lasher in an official capacity ‘he would thrust him or show him into the kennel’.15 In October 1616 Lasher tried to avoid serving as the Company’s steward at the lord mayor’s feast, but his colleagues refused to accept his offer of a fine and he was made to perform his duties. Over the next ten years he probably served in each of the Company’s junior wardenships, but it is impossible to be certain as the records for this period are missing.

Although no longer a Goldsmith, Lasher, together with his younger brother William and another man named Thomas Clark, proposed in January 1620 that the office of king’s exchanger should be revived. The suggestion was bitterly opposed by the Goldsmiths’ Company, however, and the Crown’s law officers were also unenthusiastic. Consequently, following a debate before the king and Privy Council, it was decided to let the matter drop.16 Nevertheless, these doubts were eventually overcome, for in 1627 the office of exchanger was revived and conferred on the earl of Holland (Henry Rich*), who employed Lasher as one of his deputies.

Although he no longer resided there, Lasher evidently kept in close contact with the borough of Hastings. The corporation, doubtless having heard that he was active in the London militia and a member of the Honourable Artillery Company, appointed him captain of the town’s trained band sometime before March 1619. Moreover, in June 1620 he was called upon by the corporation to help arrange the printing of ‘briefs’ in connection with the raising of money for repair of the town’s pier.17 Not surprisingly, therefore, in December 1620, Lasher was admitted a freeman of the borough and returned to the third Jacobean Parliament in place of his father, who had served in the two previous assemblies. On 15 Mar. 1621 he complained to the Commons of the protection afforded to a bankrupt London Grocer named Richard Lovell by two Members, Sir Richard Grosvenor and Sir Thomas Jermyn.18 Six weeks later, on 24 Apr., Lasher called for the committal of the bill to preserve fish fry. This was perhaps rather surprising, as the bill sought to outlaw the use of trawl nets, which nets the fishermen of Hastings favoured. It may be, however, that by appearing to support this measure Lasher hoped to gain a place on the committee in order to oppose it. If that was the case he need not have worried, as the Members for the Cinque Ports were subsequently appointed to the committee en masse.19 Over the autumn, while Parliament stood adjourned, one of Lasher’s servants was arrested for debt, prompting the Speaker to write to the Hastings corporation ordering that he be discharged from Lasher’s service.20 After the session was resumed in November, Lasher presented two petitions from merchants whose ships had been seized by the French authorities.21

Lasher lost his electoral interest at Hastings on the death of his father in 1623. Appointed upper warden of the Blacksmiths’ Company in July 1626 on the death of the previous incumbent, he was re-elected in May 1627, this time for a full term lasting two years. The following summer Lasher was ordered to bring before a Commons’ select committee the earl of Holland’s patent as royal exchanger. He did not impress the committee, whose members regarded him as ‘a very mean man’.22 In May 1629 Lasher was recorded in the Blacksmiths’ minute book as a debtor to the Company, but he perhaps managed to settle his debt as his name has been crossed through.23 His financial difficulties continued, however, and by June 1632 it was being said that he had, ‘of late, grown much decayed and crazed in his estate’.24 By 1638 he had fled to Fairlight, near his native Hastings, to live with his only surviving daughter and her husband, his former apprentice Henry Carleton, son of the late bishop of Chichester, George Carleton. However, at least one creditor tracked him down and prosecuted him for a debt of £189 10s.25 Nothing further is known of Lasher. No later member of his family sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. E. Suss. RO, St. Clement’s, Hastings par. reg.
  • 2. Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, appr. bk. 1, f. 101.
  • 3. Regs. of St. Mary Woolnoth and St. Mary Woolchurch Haw transcribed J.M.S. Brooke and A.W.C. Hallen, 348; All Hallows, Bread Street and St. John the Evangelist, Friday Street, London (Harl. Soc. Reg. xliii), 16; PROB 11/124, f. 86r-v.
  • 4. Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, min. bks. 1599-1604, p. 273; 1611-17, pp. 118-19.
  • 5. GL, ms 2881/2, pp. 96, 127; 2881/3, pp. 4, 28, 53.
  • 6. Lansd. 255, f. 432; G. Goold Walker, ‘Trained Bands of London’, Jnl. of the Hon. Art. Co. xvi. no. 181, p. 3.
  • 7. G.A. Raikes, Ancient Vellum Bk. 4, 16; W.D. Cooper and T. Ross, ‘Notices of Hastings’, Suss. Arch. Colls. xiv. 102; Add. 37818, f. 138.
  • 8. Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, appr. bk. 1, f. 206v.
  • 9. E. Suss. RO, Hastings corp. bk. 1, f. 221.
  • 10. CD 1628, iii. 446.
  • 11. Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, appr. bk. 1, f. 145.
  • 12. All Hallows Bread Street and St. John the Evangelist, Friday Street, London, 16. However, in 1609 he paid subsidy in St. Matthew, Bread Street: E115/240/99.
  • 13. Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, min. bk. 1604-11, pp. 595, 606. For Tanworth’s address, see Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, appr. bk. 1, f. 164.
  • 14. Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, min. bk. 1611-17, pp. 13, 118-19; appr. bk. 1, f. 206v.
  • 15. GL, ms 2881/2, pp. 93, 96, 127, 215.
  • 16. Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, min. bk. 1617-24, pp. 427-9.
  • 17. Cooper and Ross, 90.
  • 18. Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 166; CJ, i. 551a.
  • 19. CJ, i. 588b; CD 1621, iii. 64. For Hastings’ support for trawl fishing, see CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 457; 1623-5, p. 208.
  • 20. HMC 13th Rep. IV, 361.
  • 21. CJ, i. 649b; CD 1621, vi. 204.
  • 22. CD 1628, iii. 446; iv. 425.
  • 23. GL, ms 2881/3, p. 83.
  • 24. C2/Chas.I/H3/36.
  • 25. C2/Chas.I/H32/65; Vis. Suss. (Harl. liii), 140. For Henry Carleton’s apprenticeship to Lasher in 1612, see Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, appr. bk. 1, f. 206v.