LISTER, Martin (c.1569-1646), of Great St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield, London, Middle Clayton, Bucks. and Thorpe Arnold, Leics.

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.1569,1 7th s. of William Lister (d.1582)2 of Midhope, Craven, Yorks. and his 2nd w. Bridget, da. of Bartholomew Pigott, of Aston Rowan, Oxon. and wid. of Thomas Banister of Brogden, W. Riding, Yorks.; half-bro. of Lawrence†.3 m. c.1590, Dorothy, da. of Robert Pigott of Colwich, Staffs., wid. of Thomas Keble of Newbottle, Northants., s.p.4 bur. 7 Sept. 1646.5

Offices Held

Cornet, Brittany by 1592-4,6 ?Ire. c.1596-1601.7


The Listers of Midhope, Thornton, and Westby, Yorkshire, could trace their pedigrees back to the fourteenth century.8 Their various estates, located around Gisburne and Craven in Yorkshire’s West Riding, lay close to the Lancashire border.9 Lister’s eldest brother, Lawrence, stood for Appleby in 1588, but lost his seat when the election was declared void. This episode, and the shortage of parliamentary seats within the West Riding, may partly explain why in 1604 Lister looked to Clitheroe, a borough nearer to his ancestral home than any of the Yorkshire constituencies.

As the seventh of nine sons, Lister seems to have received no formal education, but pursued a military career with at least one of his brothers. He was probably among the officers under Sir Anthony Wingfield’s command captured at the Ambrieres massacre in October 1592, for in 1593 he carried letters from the Privy Council to Sir John Norris† in France, in which Norris was asked to prefer Lister ‘to any place you may think fit for him, because he hath been, as he informeth us, cornet of your horse troop, and one of those taken at the late defeat in Brittany, and hath not as yet paid his ransom’.10 In the following year Lister was mustered among the Brittany regiment of Colonel Anthony Shirley, with 74 men under his command. He probably also served in Ireland; the ‘Captain Lyster’ on the army payroll at Galway in 1596 and Connaught in 1599 was either this Member or his younger brother, Edmund, who died there in 1601.11

Lister undoubtedly owed his election for Clitheroe to local ties; his brother Lawrence’s son-in-law, Giles Parker, was bailiff of Clitheroe in 1604, and as such was one of the borough’s returning officers. Once elected, Lister’s only contribution to the Commons’ proceedings was to petition on behalf of his cousin, Sir Christopher Pigott*, the controversial Buckinghamshire Member who was expelled by the House on 16 Feb. 1607 for making an outspoken attack upon the Union. On 27 Feb. Lister read out an apologetic letter from Pigott, who was in the Tower and ‘in danger of his life’ from a fever.12

Following his marriage to Dorothy Pigott, perhaps a relative of his mother’s family, Lister rented lands in Towcester, Northamptonshire, and acquired the lease of the manor of Middle Clayton in Buckinghamshire, which he had sold by 1620.13 His main residence, however, seems to have been in London prior to 1627. He enjoyed a share in an annuity of £100 derived from a deed dated 1608 between his sister Rosamond’s husband, Thomas Southworth of Salmesbury, Thomas Ireland* of Bewsey, and his eldest brother, Lawrence, who died in 1609.14 In 1627 Lister purchased, with the assistance of his brothers Matthew and Michael, the estate of Thorpe Arnold, near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, and he again joined with his brother Matthew, who outlived him, to purchase the wardship of Richard Monck in 1635.15

It is unknown whether Lister continued his military pursuits after 1610, but he travelled abroad again in 1616, when he obtained permission to visit the Spa.16 He died childless in 1646 and was buried at Thorpe Arnold. In a will dated 19 July 1644 he left his Leicestershire estate to his brother Michael’s son, Sir Martin, who sat for Brackley in the Short and Long Parliaments.17 Another nephew, Sir William, was returned for East Retford in 1646. The family’s electoral associations with Clitheroe continued into the next century, two further Listers from the West Riding representing the borough between 1690 and 1715.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. IGI.
  • 2. C142/198/47.
  • 3. Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 212.
  • 4. H.L.L. Denny, Mems. of an Ancient House, 200-1.
  • 5. Leics. RO, Thorpe Arnold par. reg., DE774/1.
  • 6. SP78/33, f. 204v.
  • 7. HMC Hatfield, vi. 544, ix. 146; APC, 1597-8, pp. 616-17.
  • 8. Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 191; Familiae Minorum Gentium (Harl. Soc. xl), 1255.
  • 9. W.S. Weeks, Acct. of Court Rolls of Manor of Gisburne, 1-2; Lancs. IPMs ed. J.P. Rylands (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. iii), 117.
  • 10. Denny, 201; APC 1592-3, pp. 148, 155; J.S. Nolan, Sir John Norreys and the Eliz. Military World, 197-201.
  • 11. CSP For. 1593-4, p. 274; HMC Hatfield, vi. 544, ix. 146; APC, 1597-8, pp. 616-17.
  • 12. CJ, i. 343b.
  • 13. VCH Bucks. iv. 33; Northants. N and Q, iii. 120.
  • 14. W.A. Abram, Hist. Blackburn, 661.
  • 15. WARD 9/163, f. 52v; Denny, 201.
  • 16. APC, 1615-16, p. 621.
  • 17. Denny, 201.