LAWLEY, Robert (c.1550-1636), of Much Wenlock, Salop; later of Wilbrighton, Gnosall, Staffs.

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. c.1550, 2nd s. of Thomas Lawley† (d.1559) of Wenlock, merchant of the Staple, and Beatrice, da. and coh. of Griffith Hinton of Hinton, Whitchurch, Salop;1 bro. of George*. educ. Shrewsbury g.s. 1562.2 ?unm. bur. 27 July 1636.3 sig. Rob[er]t Lawley.

Offices Held


Lawley lived his life in the shadow of his brother Thomas†, owner of the site and demesnes of Wenlock Priory, upon whose interest he was returned to Parliament twice. On the second occasion, in 1604, he was accompanied by his younger brother George, and while ‘Mr. Robert Lawley’ was specifically named to five bill committees, the clerk of the Commons often failed to distinguish between the two men, leaving unresolved the identity of the man who was named to another 10 committees and spoke at the first reading of the wool broggers’ bill on 23 May 1610.4 Their nephew Edward Lawley was returned to the next two parliaments in their stead.

Lawley was involved in the management of the family estates as early as 1578, and was probably the man his brother Thomas attempted to nominate to a reversion on an unknown office in 1582. Between 1614 and 1618 he supported Thomas’s efforts to secure the inheritance of the manor of Wilbrighton, Staffordshire, where he lived for some of the latter part of his life.5 He secured administration of his brother’s estate in 1626, and was buried at Wenlock as ‘Robert Lawley gent., an aged man’ on 27 July 1636.6

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Vis. Salop (Harl. soc. xxix), 313.
  • 2. Shrewsbury Sch. Regestum Scholarium ed. E. Calvert, 4.
  • 3. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (o.s.), xi. 29.
  • 4. CJ, i. 431a.
  • 5. REQ 2/293/26; Egerton Pprs. ed. J.P. Collier (Cam. Soc. xii), 89-90; STAC 8/217/26.
  • 6. PROB 6/12, f. 81v; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (o.s.), xi. 29.