MANSELL (MANSFIELD, MANSFELT), Sir Robert (1570/1-1652), of Pentney, Norf.; Marquess House, Broad Street, London; and Church Street, Croom's Hill, East Greenwich, Kent.

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. 1570/1,1 4th (or 6th) s. of Sir Edward Mansell† (d.1585) of Penrice, Oxwich and Margam, Glam. and Jane, da. of Henry Somerset, 2nd earl of Worcester; bro. of Sir Thomas*. educ. Staple Inn 1585; Brasenose, Oxf. 1587; L. Inn 1615. m. (1) ?by 1593, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Nicholas Bacon†, ld. kpr., of York House, London, Redgrave, Suff. and Gorhambury, Herts., wid. of Sir Francis Wyndham† (d.1592) of Pentney, s.p.; (2) 11 Mar. 1617, Elizabeth Roper (d.1658), s.p.2 kntd. 27 June 1596.3 bur. 21 Aug. 1652.4 sig. Robert(e) Mansell.

Offices Held

Capt. of privateer, W. Indies expedition 1591;5 capt. RN, Cadiz expedition 1596, flag capt. Is. Voyage 1597, v.-adm. 1597, adm. Irish sqdn. 1599, Fleet to the W. 1601, Narrow Seas 1602-3, escort of Danish King 1606, Algiers expedition 1620-1;6 treas. of Navy 1604-18, lt. of Admty. 1618-?d.;7 member, Council of War 1624-6,8 1637.9

J.p. Norf. by 1593-1600, 1601-26, Kent by 1605-26, 1628-37;10 commr. to license passage overseas, Norf. 1599,11 v.-adm. 1600-18,12 commr. sewers, Norf. and Cambs. 1601-4,13 musters, Norf. 1601,14 capt. militia ft. 1601,15 commr. subsidy 1608,16 piracy, London and Mdx. 1609-at least 1619, London, Mdx., Kent and Essex 1614, London, Mdx., Kent, Essex and Surr. 1615, Mdx. Kent and Surr. 1617, oyer and terminer, Kent 1615;17 vestryman, E. Greenwich, Kent by 1629;18 freeman, Portsmouth, Hants 1631;19 commr. array, Kent 1642.20

Gent. of privy chamber by 1604-at least 1615;21 commr. Union 1604-6,22 privileges, New Merchant Adventurers 1614,23 export of iron ordnance 1619-?20.24

Freeman, Merchant Taylors’ Co. 1607;25 cttee. Virg. Co. 1607,26 NW Pass. Co. 1612,27 New Eng. Council by 1622-35, auditor (jt.) 1622;28 member, Muscovy Co. by 1608,29 ?E.I. Co. 1609,30 Somers Is. Co. 1615,31 Africa Co. 1618,32 Fishing Assoc. by 1636.33

Patentee, glass monopoly 1615-42.34


Bishop Goodman described Mansell as ‘honest’, ‘open-hearted’ and ‘valiant’, but with a tendency towards bluntness which others found offensive.35 Modern historians however, have been less generous, roundly condemning Mansell for his misdemeanours as treasurer of the Navy. Corbett judged that he ‘stands without a rival in our naval history for malversation’, while McGowan has concluded that his appointment as treasurer ‘proved to be a near disaster for the Navy’.36

I. Naval Career and the First Jacobean Parliament, 1603-12

In 1603 Mansell was admiral of the Narrow Seas. After attending the queen’s funeral he was ordered to transport the Spanish and French ambassadors across to England.37 Taking charge of the Spaniard himself, who gave him a leather jerkin,38 he left the Frenchman to his vice admiral, Sir Jerome Turner. France’s representative, aggrieved at this apparent snub, took ship in a packet boat and refused to haul in his flag, whereupon Mansell ordered Turner ‘never [to] leave shooting at him’ until he did so. France’s friends at Court subsequently sought Mansell’s dismissal, but Mansell ‘maintained the act, and was the better beloved of his master ever after’.39

Although secure in his place, Mansell, in April 1603, solicited preferment ‘to some place of attendance’.40 By October he and the corrupt surveyor of the Navy, Sir John Trevor I*, his associate in a recent privateering venture,41 were plotting to displace the reform-minded treasurer, Sir Fulke Greville*. While Mansell obtained a reversion of the treasurership, Trevor and the other members of the Navy Board would hound Greville out of office by incessant questioning of his accounts. Crucially, Mansell enjoyed the support of the lord admiral, Charles Howard†, 1st earl of Nottingham, to whom he was distantly related and whose authority would be diminished if Greville’s reforms were implemented. When the king’s chief minister, Lord Cecil (Robert Cecil†) refused to countenance reform without Nottingham’s support, a disappointed Greville agreed to sell his office to Mansell, whose patent was enrolled on 26 Apr. 1604.42 In the midst of this intrigue, Mansell conveyed Sir Walter Ralegh† to Winchester for trial.43 A few months later it was rumoured that the convicted traitor Bartholomew Brookesby would give him £2,500 to prevent the seizure of his estate, but whether Mansell received payment is unknown.44

In March 1604 Mansell was returned to Parliament for Carmarthenshire, where he may already have held a lease of Laugharne Castle and Kiffig Park.45 As a dependent of the lord admiral he readily served Nottingham’s turn, securing nominations to committees for bills to naturalize Nottingham’s new Scottish wife (2 Apr. 1604), and to restore Nottingham’s relative, Lord William Howard (15 May 1604).46 Mansell was also among a number of Nottingham’s clients who were appointed to consider the bill for granting the lord admiral’s daughter the use of the estates of her attainted husband, Lord Cobham (Henry Brooke II alias Cobham†, 30 May).47 Whether Nottingham’s membership of the Board of Greencloth influenced Mansell’s nomination to two committees concerned with the abuses of purveyors (27 Apr. 1604 and 30 Jan. 1606) is uncertain.48

It was as a spokesman for the Navy, rather than as Nottingham’s servant, that Mansell made, perhaps, the deepest impression on the Commons. Among the measures which interested him were bills to stimulate the growth in the maritime population, such as one to revive decaying coastal towns (12 Apr. 1604) and another to encourage fishing (20 June 1604). His views on this subject were briefly recorded during a free trade debate on 6 June 1604, when he asserted that small vessels, rather than great ships, were ‘the nurseries of mariners’, and that ports such as Harwich and Ipswich were just as important as London as breeding grounds of seamen. Providing the conditions under which the maritime community would flourish was all very well, however, but Mansell, like any experienced naval seaman, understood that it was necessary to compel merchant seamen to serve the Crown when occasion demanded, and that existing powers to enforce such service were inadequate. Thus he and his colleague, Sir John Trevor I, were named to a committee for a bill to prevent mariners from absconding with their press money (29 June 1604), a measure which either he or Trevor perhaps introduced.49 Other committees of a naval interest to which Mansell was nominated included those for piracy (3 Mar. and 21 Apr. 1610) and the preservation of timber (22 Mar. 1610).50

As the Navy’s new treasurer, Mansell was professionally interested in any measures that might affect the Navy’s funding. In June 1604 he was named to consider Chester’s request for exemption from the provisions of the Tunnage and Poundage bill, while in January 1606, after the bill became law, he was nominated to the committee to consider repealing a clause in the Act. In June 1610 he opposed Richard Martin’s proposal to delay voting subsidies as this might jeopardize the payment of £30,000 due to the Navy before Michaelmas.51 On 17 Mar. 1606 Mansell complained that the Navy was being overcharged for goods bought in Russia. He blamed the Muscovy Company,52 although, by 1608 at least, he owned shares in that organization worth £500.53 The worry that mariners were scarce outside London also meant that Mansell took a close interest in free trade. Indeed, on 6 June 1604, he declared that the subject ‘partly concerneth his own element’. Named to a committee for a free trade bill on 3 Apr. 1606,54 he was sufficiently concerned about the measure to complain to the Speaker one week later that many of those who appeared as committee members in the clerk’s notes had not been so named in the House, ‘and some of them such as are interested in the corporations by the bill desired to be dissolved’.55 Trade and maritime matters in general concerned Mansell, who was named to consider bills concerning London’s docks (20 June 1604), watermen (28 Jan. 1606), the faithless dealings of seamen (1 May 1607), Minehead harbour (23 Feb. 1610), shipping and seamen (28 Feb. 1610), the city of Rochester (22 June 1610), and the export of cloth (17 Mar. 1606) and beer (27 Mar. 1606).56 In 1607 he formed part of an 11-strong subcommittee which investigated the claim by several London merchants that they had been mistreated by the Spanish.57

Mansell was named to many committees during the first Jacobean Parliament, not all of which can be touched on here. As a veteran of the Elizabethan war with Spain, he was an obvious choice to consider how to prevent English subjects from serving the archdukes (6 Feb. 1606), and as the knight for a Welsh shire he was naturally named to a bill committee concerning the government of Wales (21 Feb. 1606). His Norfolk landholdings doubtless explain how his name found its way onto the committee lists for two bills relevant to that shire (23 Jan. and 13 Feb. 1606).58 On 1 June 1610 Mansell was teller for the yeas during a vote to recommit a bill concerning logwood, which was used in the dyeing of cloth (1 June 1610).59

On 15 June 1604 Mansell ‘did rise up and contest with Mr. Speaker in matter of honesty of accountants’ after the Speaker instructed all receivers and accountants to leave the chamber while the bill to explain an Elizabethan Act making their lands liable for the debts of their offices was put to the vote.60 His protest was self-serving, for as treasurer of the Navy he had probably already begun to enrich himself at the Crown’s expense. Certainly he perpetrated the most outrageous fraud in the following year, when he accompanied Nottingham on the latter’s embassy to Spain.61 As Navy treasurer he hired for the Crown the Resistance, a new ship of which he was a part-owner. Ostensibly freighted to carry biscuit for Nottingham’s fleet, and crewed, munitioned and victualled at the Crown’s expense, the ship’s real cargo was 50 tons of lead, which was carried on behalf of a private merchant. The only biscuit shipped as cargo was taken aboard in Spain and was sold for private profit, as was a bronze demi-culverin and some powder. None of the ship’s rigging, worth £379, was ever returned to the Navy’s stores, while the king was charged freight for a ship of 300 tons, whereas she was actually only 130 or 140 tons.62 Such brazen dishonesty did not mean, however, that Mansell would tolerate being robbed himself. While in Madrid he was robbed of his hat, which was decorated ‘with a very rich jewel’. He chased the culprit to the grounds of a local magistrate and forcibly recovered his property, despite the magistrate’s protests.63

Mansell’s corruption was one of the main reasons why a commission of inquiry into the Navy was established in 1608. Its driving force was the lord privy seal, the earl of Northampton, who suspected Mansell of embezzling £14,000. According to one near contemporary account, Northampton’s inquiry completely vindicated Mansell, as the only fault which could be imputed to him was that one of his subordinates had received a pair of stockings as a New Year’s gift. The king, incensed that he had been troubled by such a trivial offence, ‘swore very deeply’, whereupon Mansell offered on his knees to take responsibility for his subordinate’s fault. However, this version of events was highly coloured and inaccurate, and probably originated with Mansell himself. Its author, Francis Osborne, was master of the horse to the 3rd earl of Pembroke, with whom Mansell was associated from at least 1626.64 In reality, the Navy commission gathered a wealth of damaging evidence against Mansell, whose fraud involving the Resistance was exposed, and who was shown to have regularly extorted gifts from suppliers. One mast-dealer owed £600 had given Mansell a couple of fine cloths and his wife two sugar loaves in the hope that he would thereby secure payment, but had then been told to deduct more than £21 from his bill, ‘which was the condition Sir Robert Mansell made for the delivery of his money’. Another deponent complained that, having waited over a year for payment of £100, he had inquired ‘whether a hogshead of wine would serve the turn’, only to be informed ‘that one hogshead of wine would do well, but two would do better’. Extortion, however, was the least of Mansell’s faults, as he almost certainly treated the Chatham Chest as his own private bank account; certainly he repeatedly failed to provide it with accounts.65 Yet, despite the volume of evidence against him, Mansell went unpunished, and may even have emerged from the inquiry with his authority enhanced, having come into contact with Prince Henry who, unlikely though it may seem, hoped to enlist Mansell in his own campaign of naval reform. In May 1611 Henry inspected the ships at Chatham, where he took ‘private information’ from Mansell and the shipwright Phineas Pett.66 Mansell supported the prince’s bid to discover a North-West Passage, and Henry in turn gave Mansell £40 in June 1612 to invest in the Virginia Company.67

II. Somerset, the Addled Parliament and the Fall of the Howards, 1612-19

Prince Henry’s death in November 1612 deprived Mansell of an important patron, but he suffered no immediate loss of favour. Indeed, in February 1613 he was charged with staging a mock sea-fight on the Thames to celebrate the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine, a project over which he took ‘great pains’.68 Three months later, however, Mansell was imprisoned in the Marshalsea after he tried to persuade Nottingham to query the legality of a second commission of inquiry into the Navy obtained by Northampton. His action was construed as questioning the royal prerogative, but the immediate cause of his commitment was his refusal to identify the lawyer whose written opinion he had sought, James Whitelocke*. After more than two weeks in gaol, Mansell was brought before the Council (12 June). On the advice of his friend Sir John Holles*, Mansell, who was by nature hot-headed, stuck to a pre-prepared text, and spoke ‘more temperately than was expected from a soldier’. Confessing his fault, he pleaded that he had been motivated by affection towards the king, for whom, he said, he would willingly die, adding ‘some other such martial strains, which became him well’. The following day, after stating in writing that he had not meant to question the royal prerogative, he was freed.69

Shortly after his release, Mansell attached himself to the royal favourite, the earl of Somerset.70 He quickly became a route to Somerset’s favour,71 gaining access to the earl’s out-going correspondence: in May 1616, during Somerset’s trial, it was revealed that he had seen an important letter from Somerset to Sir Thomas Overbury.72 Mansell undoubtedly became acquainted with Somerset through the earl’s wife, Frances Howard, the daughter of the earl of Suffolk. As Thomas, Lord Howard, Suffolk had led a privateering expedition to the West Indies in 1591 in which Mansell had served as a captain. Although Suffolk had opposed his appointment as Navy treasurer, his wife had maintained friendly relations with Mansell, who appeared as a combatant on the side of Truth in Ben Jonson’s Masque of Hymen, which was performed in January 1606 to celebrate her first marriage, to the 3rd earl of Essex.73

In February 1614 Mansell was one of Somerset’s agents for the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Writing to the earl from Cannon Row on 23 Feb., he enclosed a ‘tender’ for the senior seat at Rochester, and explained that, had the corporation not been approached ‘by several gentlemen of good quality’ for the borough’s second seat, ‘your lordship should have commanded the nomination of both’. He also expressed the hope that ‘at your next return hither your lordship will make some time of stay, as well to receive an account how things move, as to yield your direction, counsel and countenances, in cases needful for the advancement of this great work’.74 The task of finding seats for Somerset’s clients proved extremely difficult. In mid-March Chamberlain reported that ‘Sir Edwin Sandys* sinks in his pursuit for Kent and means to give it over, seeing his chief agent Sir Robert Mansfield for the Navy, and Sir Dudley Digges* for the country, undertook with more courage than success’.75 Given these difficulties, Mansell may have been grateful that he himself was not reliant upon Somerset for a parliamentary seat. As in 1604 he was returned for Carmarthenshire, but he also achieved election as junior burgess for Harwich, whose townsmen were anxious to reward him for assisting them in their efforts to obtain the right to local admiralty jurisdiction.76

During the Parliament, in which he opted to serve for Carmarthenshire,77 Mansell expressed concern for a former client of Somerset’s, Sir Henry Neville, by endeavouring to quash the rumour that Neville had concocted a secret plan to manage Parliament. On 14 May he proposed that Neville should be cleared of being an ‘undertaker’. Earlier (12 Apr.) he had claimed that rumours of undertaking ‘proceeded from the fire of some popish spirit’,78 an oblique reference, perhaps, to his old enemy, the crypto-Catholic Northampton, whose supporters were widely believed to be trying to sabotage the Parliament. Mansell returned to the threat of popery on 6 June, when he remarked that, unless God prevented it, the impending dissolution ‘would be a great danger to the religion and state of the country’, not least because of ‘the great correspondency that all the Irish hold with our English papists’. Popery was not the only peril facing the country, however, for Mansell also declared that the Navy was fundamentally weak. Although the nation’s shipping was ‘never stronger or better’, its maritime population was in terminal decline, so that ‘all the kingdom is not able to furnish the king’s ships with mariners, all the river of Thames not able to man two of them’. This concern to preserve the seafaring community, which echoed the views he had expressed ten years earlier, also informed Mansell’s contribution to discussion of the French Company’s patent in April,79 and probably explains his subsequent nomination (24 May) to consider a bill to repeal an Elizabethan statute on the fishing industry, which he sought to foster in the face of Dutch exploitation of English fishing grounds. Another problem faced by the Navy highlighted by Mansell was the shortage of timber suitable for shipbuilding. He desired that an order be issued to prohibit its export, as there was ‘scarce any left to build a small ship’.80 Mansell failed to obtain the desired ban, and was equally unsuccessful in obtaining stricter controls over the export of iron ordnance. This problem had concerned him in the first Jacobean Parliament,81 although as part-owner of the Resistance he himself had illicitly sold a bronze cannon at Lisbon in 1605.82 On 11 May 1614 he claimed that ‘the Low Countries and all other countries [are] furnished and armed against us with our own ordnance’. He added that this was a recent development, for as a former admiral of the Narrow Seas he had been able, with just one vessel, to ‘bring in 40’ of the best ships of the Dutch, whereas ‘now they claim to be master of the sea’. However, having recently been imprisoned for questioning the royal prerogative, Mansell was aware that any attempt to limit the export of artillery by statute would deprive the king of his rights, ‘which might stop the bill’.83 He must also have realized that any reform was extremely unlikely, as the Crown benefited financially from the export of iron ordnance. However, the issue vexed Mansell so much that in 1619 he obtained a commission of inquiry, which proved ineffective and shortlived.84 As late as 1629 he was still attempting to secure legislation.85

On 8 Apr. 1614, Mansell debated the Stockbridge election (11 May), disagreeing with Sir Samuel Sandys, who claimed that Sir Richard Gifford’s decision to surrender his seat necessitated the return of the defeated candidate, Sir Walter Cope*. Mansell argued that, since Gifford was a freeholder in Hampshire, he could not refuse to serve. On 13 May Mansell defended his distant relative, Sir Robert Killigrew, who had been sequestered for menacing the chairman of the committee on undertakers, Sir Roger Owen, claiming that Owen’s version of events might have been selective or coloured.86 During the course of the Parliament, Mansell was named to eight bill committees,87 five non-legislative committees (one being the committee for privileges) and one joint conference. 88

Following the dissolution, Mansell accompanied the Danish king on an inspection of the Navy’s yards. Eleven months later, in July 1615, he entertained Archbishop Abbot aboard the Prince Royal with a banquet of sweetmeats.89 His Court connections were strengthened in March 1617 when he married his mistress, Elizabeth Roper, one of the queen’s maids of honour, at Denmark House. A report that he was given £10,000 as a wedding present by the king is evidently groundless.90

By 1615 Mansell was a member of Lord Zouche’s glassmaking syndicate. That summer he bought out his partners with annuities amounting to £1,800.91 Mansell’s new-found role as a glass monopolist amused the king, who wondered why Mansell, ‘being a seaman, ... should fall from water to tamper with fire, which are two contrary elements’.92 However, for Mansell, who paid James an annual rent of £1,000, the glass monopoly was a serious business. He abandoned the glassworks at Lambeth as being too expensive to run, and scaled down the production of a second works at Southwark, developing in its place a new factory at Broad Street, in London. To replace the Lambeth works, he attempted to establish a new furnace outside the London area, but successive attempts to do so at Wollaston (Nottinghamshire), Kimmeridge (Dorset) and Milford Haven (Pembrokeshire) all ended in costly failure. Eventually he discovered the ideal location at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which offered a ready source of cheap fuel and immediate access to the sea, but by then he had spent £28,000, ‘almost to the exhausting of all his estate’.93 Given this enormous drain on his finances, he understandably proved quick to act if his rights were threatened, petitioning the Privy Council to close down illegal glassworks and prevent the poaching of the workforce he had recruited in Venice with the help of his agent, James Howell*.94

Mansell’s glassworks may have become fully operational at the end of April 1618. In the following month he sold the treasurership of the Navy to a fellow Muscovy merchant, Sir William Russell*, allegedly for ‘more than two such offices are worth’.95 He probably had warning that a new commission of inquiry into the Navy would soon be established, and that its members would include John Coke*, former deputy treasurer to Sir Fulke Greville. Indeed, in November 1617 he had attempted to head off an investigation of the Navy’s finances, which would inevitably involve questions concerning his management, by offering to reduce the Navy’s annual cost by £7,000 by the simple expedient of cutting the number of ships in the Channel squadron from seven to four.96 He may also have foreseen the imminent collapse of the Howards, for rumours that the aged Nottingham would soon be replaced as lord admiral by the youthful George Villiers, earl of Buckingham, and that lord treasurer Suffolk was shortly to be tried for corruption, were circulating as early as December 1617. It is even possible that Mansell helped to hasten the demise of his Howard patrons, for in March 1626 Buckingham recalled having been persuaded to become lord admiral by Mansell himself, who assured him of the good he might do ‘in procuring due payment for that charge’ owing to the favour he enjoyed with the king.97 Inadequate funding of the Navy had certainly been a problem for Mansell in the years following Salisbury’s death. One thousand pounds which was supposed to have been issued to him in 1613 had, in fact, been diverted to the Wardrobe with the blessing of the corrupt teller Sir John Bingley*, whose practice of crediting Mansell with larger sums than were issued was exposed in 1619.98 By 1616 the Navy’s arrears amounted to £50,000.99 Faced with inadequate funding, Mansell may have concluded that the Navy would fare better under Buckingham than Nottingham.

Before Mansell agreed to sell the treasurership he took care that he would not be held legally accountable for the misdemeanours he had committed in office, while at the same time ensuring that he would retain some influence in the Navy. In return for surrendering the treasurership, he demanded appointment as lieutenant of the Admiralty. This office, whose occupant was also known as vice admiral of England, carried a salary of more than £322, and although little more than a sinecure it ranked in the Navy’s administration second only in status to the lord admiral. Moreover, Mansell insisted that a legal opinion be written into his grant stating that he could not be removed from office for any offences which he might have committed as treasurer.100 Surprisingly, it was not Buckingham who attempted to torpedo this scheme but Suffolk. The latter may have been angry that Mansell blamed the Exchequer for underfunding the Navy, or he may have been resentful that Mansell would escape prosecution for his financial mismanagement, while he would not.101 However, Suffolk proved unable to prevent Mansell’s elevation, for according to Osborne, Nottingham made Mansell’s promotion to the lieutenancy a condition of his own resignation.102

III. The Expedition to Algiers and Attacks on the Glass Monopoly, 1620-1

Although Mansell had shrewdly extricated himself from the collapse of the Howard interest and had secured legal immunity from prosecution, he could not escape altogether from financial liability for his annual accounts as Navy treasurer, five of which remained undeclared on his resignation. It was presumably to prevent the newly installed Navy commissioners, under the de facto leadership of his enemy John Coke, from closely examining these records that Mansell, after prodding from the king, submitted uncertified abstracts in November 1618 rather than the ledger and vouchers he had originally promised.103 His intentions were defeated, however, for in February 1620 the commissioners reported on the irregularities contained in Mansell’s accounts.104 Mansell attempted to rebut the charges in detail by highlighting the problems of underfunding and shortage of materials, which, he alleged, explained the excessive cost of rebuilding two warships. He also accused the commissioners, perhaps not unjustly, of malicious intent, for their findings were submitted soon after Mansell was given the task of suppressing the pirates of Algiers, whereas they ‘might as easily have presented these six months since ... and freed me from the secret censure of being too unworthy a person for so worthy a service’.105 However, it was not until shortly before he left England for north Africa that Mansell played his trump card. He presented a claim for travelling expenses amounting to £10,000, which sum, he said, he had incurred as treasurer. Presumably he hoped that this sum would be set against the supposed irregularities identified by the commissioners in his accounts.106 Not surprisingly, perhaps, nothing more was heard of either this claim or the charges against Mansell, whose outstanding accounts were not finally declared until 1639.107

The Algiers expedition proved an expensive failure. Although some captives were released, an unfavourable wind prevented the English fireships from breaching Algiers’ defences.108 On his return to England in September 1621, Mansell was accused by the Spanish ambassador of having aided rather than suppressed the Algerine corsairs. However, England’s ambassador in Madrid, Sir Walter Aston, had already reported that the charges were groundless.109 Besides, according to Sir Anthony Weldon, who knew Mansell,110 the king declared that he would ‘never believe’ that a man as ‘valiant, honest and nobly descended’ would ‘do so base an act’.111 The further accusation by Coke that Mansell had exceeded his authority in taking three prize ships and selling slaves was also dismissed.112 James’s continued confidence in Mansell is suggested by the Venetian ambassador’s belief in 1622 that Mansell would command a contingent of royal warships in a second expedition to Algiers.113

Mansell’s year-long service in the Mediterranean prevented him from defending his glass patent when it came under parliamentary attack in 1621, a task which fell instead to his wife, Dame Elizabeth, who urged the Commons not to pursue its inquiry ‘too hard’ in view of her husband’s absence.114 However, although the Glaziers’ Company had earlier informed the Council that Mansell’s glass was cheap, well made and plentiful,115 Mansell’s patent was condemned as a grievance in mid-May. The House, which was ill-disposed towards monopolies in general, had observed that the offending patent, far from yielding the king an income, actually cost him money, for not only was Mansell’s annual rent eaten up in annuities to former patentees but between £150 and £200 was wasted each year in purchasing poor quality glass which had to be rejected. It was also noted that, although Mansell was only authorized to use coal, his patent unreasonably prevented other, would-be manufacturers from using wood. As Sir Edward Coke remarked, this was like trying to prevent brewers and cooks from using wood ‘if one should devise a new trick to roast’.116 In addition to this parliamentary censure, Mansell was dealt a further blow in June, when the king authorized the import of Scottish glass. James tried to compensate Mansell for his expected losses by remitting the £2,800 paid by him in rent and annuities,117 but this did not solve the principal difficulty faced by Mansell, the poaching of many of his workmen by the Scottish patentees. Although he secured the brief imprisonment of his rivals in June 1623, Mansell was eventually constrained to buy them out at an annual cost of £250.118

The immediate effect of Parliament’s condemnation of Mansell’s patent was to increase the incidence of its infringement. As early as July 1621 Dame Elizabeth complained that the farmers of the glassworks on the Isle of Purbeck refused to pay their rent because the patent had been condemned,119 despite a Council ruling that no consideration would be given to revoking Mansell’s grant until he had returned from Algiers.120 It was not until May 1623 that the Council finally cancelled Mansell’s patent, but this concession to Parliament was more apparent than real, for the board, concluding that Mansell was ‘a well deserving servant to His Majesty’ who had been ‘abused in that business’, issued him with another grant which was virtually identical to the first.121

IV. The Parliament of 1624

The grant of a fresh patent led to renewed attacks on Mansell’s monopoly in Parliament, which met again in 1624. By then, however, Mansell was better placed to defend his interests, having been elected knight of the shire for Glamorganshire. Arguing that his patent both preserved wood and created employment for 4,000 people, he obtained an exemption from the Act of Monopolies, despite complaints that he kept the price of glass artificially high.122 The glass monopoly was not the only source of complaint against Mansell in the 1624 Parliament. In May his title to Laugharne Castle and Kiffig Park in Carmarthenshire was challenged in a petition to the Lords by Anne Toy, whose father, Rice Phillips, had died before completing the sale of the property to Mansell.123 On Phillips’ death in 1615, only £700 of the agreed purchase price of £2,700 had been paid, and although Mansell had parted with a further £1,000 shortly thereafter he was soon locked in dispute with the Phillips family over settlement of the balance. By 1617 he had engaged three lawyers, including Thomas Crewe* and William Jones I*, to prosecute them for seizing the castle and disturbing his tenants.124 He also mounted a suit in Star Chamber for an alleged assault on the keeper of his deer park at Kiffig.125 The Lords failed to resolve the question of title in 1624, however, for in 1626 Toy again petitioned the Upper House, presumably about the same issue.126

Mansell’s primary concern in the 1624 Parliament was not with his Carmarthenshire property interests, nor even with the threats to his glass patent, but with the impending breach with Spain, a matter on which he was apparently consulted by Buckingham in December 1623.127 On 1 Mar. he was one of 12 Members appointed to draw up a list of reasons for breaking off the Spanish marriage negotiations.128 His naval background allowed him to speak with authority on the subject of war with Spain. On 11 Mar. he expressed a desire for peace while conceding ‘that there must be a war’ because the Palatinate could not be restored without one. England’s quarrel was just, and a war would be fought ‘for the honour of the royal blood and for the honour of Christ’s blood too’. He had no doubt that a war was practicable, for he regarded Spain ‘but as a Goliath before David’, and ‘if we take our time and opportunity we may let Spain see he holdeth his greatness from the courtesy of our master’. However, he struck a note of caution by seeking an estimate of the war’s likely cost.129 In a second speech, delivered eight days later, Mansell urged military preparations to be hastened, arguing that Spain had stolen a march on England by preparing for war while negotiating for a marriage treaty.130 The main purpose of this speech, however, was to outline the size and composition of the forces he believed were required. Arguing that it would be a mistake to commit land forces to the defence of the Low Countries,131 he proposed instead to equip 15 of the king’s ships and 30 merchantmen, a work which he described as ‘more profitable than 100,000 men’.132 This fleet could be used to carry an army of 20,000 men specially raised ‘upon all occasions’.133 He did not specify what these ‘occasions’ might be, preferring instead that the military objectives should be discussed only by the king, Prince Charles ‘and some few more’.134 Nor did he favour raising additional fleets, as this would harm trade and inflate the cost, which he put at just £25,000. This figure excluded expenditure on the army, which he thought would amount to between £300,000 and £400,000. Mansell assured his listeners that a single fleet of 45 ships would not only ‘do great service’, but become self-financing, claiming that ‘within seven years we should war with ease, pleasure and profit’.135

Mansell’s concern to combat the Spanish enemy abroad did not blind him to the popish enemy at home. When, on 26 Feb., (Sir) Humphrey May urged the House to disregard the advice of Sir John Jephson, to have a 200-strong guard placed on the Commons, he was condemned by Mansell for showing ‘great want of judgment for not fearing what desperate papists might attempt’. All the same, Mansell was unhappy that Jephson had uttered his fears in the course of making his motion, ‘for it opened the enemies eyes, and gave him courage to attempt what peradventure he never thought of’.136 Mansell’s suspicions of the Catholic community may explain why he was named to the joint conference on recusancy on 3 April.137

Mansell was appointed to only a handful of committees during the Parliament, including the committee for privileges (23 February). On 14 Apr. his name was put on the committee list for the bill to naturalize the marquess of Hamilton, and on 12 May he was appointed to consider a measure to prevent the receiving of secret pensions from foreign states. On 26 May he was added to the committee for considering the Eastland Company’s patent. Two days later he was required to help present the House’s grievances to the king.138 As a knight for a Welsh county, he was entitled to sit on the committee for a bill to reverse a decree in the Court of Requests (Edwards v. Edwards), but he attended only one of its four meetings.139 On 14 Apr. he was appointed to the joint conference for repealing a clause in an Act concerning his native Wales.140

Before Parliament was adjourned, Mansell was appointed to the newly formed Council of War, over which he quickly established his seniority, claiming precedence over the soldier Sir John Ogle.141 He initially proved to be an enthusiastic member of the Council, perhaps because it was rumoured that he would soon be given a sea command.142 However, in February 1625 he withdrew from the Council for reasons which only became public six months later.

V. The Parliaments of 1625 and 1626 and the Attack on Buckingham

Mansell carried a banner at James I’s funeral in May 1625.143 Returned to Parliament once again as Glamorganshire’s knight of the shire, he took little part in the Westminster sitting, remained silent for most of the Oxford meeting and was appointed to just one committee, concerning London’s poor (11 August).144 However, after Buckingham asserted in the Lords (9 Aug.) that the forthcoming military and naval expedition had been planned with the advice of the Council of War, Mansell was invited to comment by Sir Robert Phelips.145 Mansell thereupon ‘utterly disclaimed all knowledge of the action or any consultation had upon it’, but conceded that ‘there had been some meetings and some propositions spoken of for the Navy’ (10 August). He complained that the government had presented its decision to raise an army of 10,000 men as a fait accompli, for on protesting that this number of troops was ‘such as would rather gall the enemy than hurt him’, he had been told by Sir Edward Conway I* that ‘the resolution would admit no debate’. He also grumbled that discussions had been conducted in the presence of his old adversary, the Navy commissioner Sir John Coke, who was then ‘no councillor of war, nor of state’.146

Mansell continued his oblique assault on Buckingham the next day after one Member complained of the continuing depredations of the Sallee pirates. He brazenly claimed that ‘these complaints [were] not usual heretofore’, an extraordinary statement given that he himself only four years earlier had led an expedition to the Mediterranean in response to the damage inflicted by north African pirates. When Coke attempted to defend the Navy’s performance by pointing out that ten ships under Sir Francis Stewart* had earlier put to sea to clear sweep the Channel of pirates, Mansell both derided Stewart’s instructions as ‘naught’ and joined in the chorus of complaint against the quality of the captains employed. He suggested that the king should be petitioned to entrust the Channel’s defence to the Council of War, whose members would take effective action, ‘or else answer it with their lives’.147

It was not until the following day that a government spokesman attempted to refute Mansell’s claim that the Council of War had not been consulted about the formulation of strategy. Concerned that Mansell’s contradiction of Buckingham had ‘bred an ill impression in the House touching the action now in hand’, solicitor general Heath pointed out that Mansell had attended Council meetings on ‘at least 10 or 12 times when, by examination of maps and plots, it was debated how they might best annoy the king of Spain’. According to Heath, Mansell had refused to attend further gatherings because his fellow councillors had not been persuaded by his proposals, for ‘there be those [that] can witness that he said that if he might not have his own desire, he would meddle no more with the business’. In reply, Mansell admitted that he had withdrawn from the Council voluntarily, but explained that he had done so because of the circularity of its proceedings, for having presented his scheme to Buckingham he had then been obliged to lay it before his fellow councillors, who had simply referred him back to the duke. According to one account, Mansell also admitted that he had refused to see Buckingham again because he was angry that the duke had not only secretly obtained a reversion of a Crown property in his possession worth £500 p.a. but had refused to sell it to him.148

The tone of Mansell’s indirect attacks on Buckingham was venomous. Writing to the earl of Mar three days after Parliament was dissolved, the earl of Kellie reported that Mansell, ‘with some violence and more heat than judgment, did show a great deal of spleen and anger against my Lord of Buckingham’.149 The ferocity of his reply to Heath earned him, on 14 Aug., a summons from the Privy Council, ‘where it was generally conceived that he should have received some very heavy censure’. Indeed, Kellie expected that he would soon be committed to prison. However, after his appearance, Mansell gave out ‘that all shall go well with him and this matter be questioned no more’.150 This confidence proved well founded, as Mansell seems to have been shielded by Buckingham’s many enemies on the Privy Council. These included the lord chamberlain (Pembroke), the lord steward (Montgomery), the earl marshal (Arundel), lord keeper Williams and the treasurer of the Household, Sir Thomas Edmondes*, all of whom attended the Council meeting of 14 August.151 By the beginning of the New Year Pembroke had certainly enlisted Mansell in his power struggle against the duke, securing his return for Lostwithiel through his agent, William Coryton*, although Mansell was secretly instructed to deny his association with Pembroke if challenged.152

Although Mansell escaped unpunished by the Privy Council for his behaviour at Oxford, he came under considerable pressure during the 1626 Parliament to remember that his membership of the Council of War imposed upon him an obligation of confidentiality which prevented him from discussing its proceedings in Parliament. Thus on 8 Mar. Secretary Conway informed Buckingham that he and the other members of the Council of War would, when they attended the House the following morning, attempt to prevent Mansell ‘from flying out, or to leave him inexcusable if he do’.153 This pressure appears to have silenced Mansell on several occasions. On 25 Feb. he lamented that, ‘being the king’s servant, he dare not open what he has to say’. Three days later he was invited by Earle to comment on Delbridge’s observation that the Sallee pirates had captured 2,000 of the king’s subjects through ‘the neglect in those that had the place to see it’, but he declined to answer without reference to the other members of the Council of War.154 On 3 Mar. he was asked whether the advice of the Council of War had been followed, but like his fellow councillor Viscount Grandison (Sir Oliver St. John*), he replied that he and his colleagues needed time to agree a common position.155

Despite these constraints, Mansell played a significant part in the attack on Buckingham during the 1626 Parliament. He fired his first salvo on 24 Feb., when he returned to the duke’s alleged mishandling of naval operations. Contrasting ‘the shameful harms done us’ by the Dunkirk privateers with the plentiful naval resources available to combat the threat, he offered ‘to point out all the causes of the errors’, either to the House or to the Privy Council.156 He thereby adopted a position directly opposed to the one he had held in the first two Jacobean parliaments, when he had asserted that the nation’s maritime population was in terminal decline and its timber stocks dangerously limited. He resumed his attack the following day, alleging that Spanish preparations against England were on an unprecedented scale and that the measures announced by Secretary Coke to guard the coasts and rivers were wholly inadequate.157

Mansell repeated this latter claim on 1 Mar., when he asserted that Coke’s proposals were ‘rather an invitation to an enemy’, drawing from Coke the response that he had not offered advice but had merely reported the preparations ‘made by others’. The exchange between the two men became so heated that it was abruptly halted.158 However, they clashed again on 24 Mar., when Coke, acting as Buckingham’s apologist, claimed that the Navy’s failure to guard the Narrow Seas was caused by shortage of money and reminded his listeners that the Privy Council, as well as the lord admiral, was responsible for ensuring the adequacy of naval defence. Mansell retorted that Coke was trying to shift the blame from the duke to the Council, and averred that the volume of complaints against the lord admiral were greater than at any time since the Norman Conquest.159

Mansell’s attacks on Buckingham were not confined to the duke’s handling of the defence of the Narrow Seas; he also joined in the criticism of his role in lending a number of warships to the French king in the previous year for use against the Huguenots of La Rochelle. Taking a more robust line than Digges, who cautiously supposed that the duke might be to blame, Mansell asserted on 20 Apr. that Buckingham was ‘in fault from the beginning to the ending’, adding that, ‘if I had counselled him, he should rather have died in prison than have given way to the sending of these ships’.160 On the following day Mansell claimed that the loan of the ships had been unprecedented, and so dangerous that it demanded ‘an exemplary punishment’.161 He subsequently supported a motion for Buckingham’s imprisonment (9 May),162 and amplified the meaning of the term ‘sea coasts’ during a debate on article five of the impeachment charges on 6 May.163 However, he thought that Buckingham should not be accused of having poisoned the late king as the evidence might be unreliable (28 April).164 On 6 June Mansell asked the House to delay submitting its Remonstrance against Buckingham until after the duke had replied to the impeachment articles as ‘I will have much matter to add to the aggravation of the duke’s charge’.165 However, except for a parting shot delivered on 12 June, when he accused Buckingham of endangering the kingdom by misapplying royal funds,166 Mansell made no further attacks on the favourite before the dissolution, by which time there was little possibility that he would again escape punishment. As early as 3 May he was removed from the Council of War, while on 8 July he was dismissed from the commissions of the peace for Kent and Norfolk.167

VI. Rapprochement with Buckingham, 1626-8

It was probably Buckingham’s reconciliation with the earl of Pembroke shortly after the collapse of the 1626 Parliament, rather than the punishment inflicted upon him, which ultimately persuaded Mansell to abandon his hostility to the duke. In 1628, no longer allied to Pembroke, he was returned to Parliament once again for Glamorganshire, whereupon he adopted an altogether more constructive approach towards the country’s military and naval problems. When, on 2 Apr., Edward Alford opposed the government’s Fourteen Propositions for supply on the grounds that the kingdom was too poor to pay for them, Mansell resisted the opportunity to launch a devastating attack on Buckingham’s handling of the war effort, although he observed that if care had been taken three years earlier ‘we might have been in more safety with less trouble’. Rather, he asserted, ‘it is no time now to plead disability’. Members, he said, should be willing to meet the king’s financial demands, for they had been permitted to discuss the subject’s liberties without interruption, while ‘the king’s demands are for our safety’. However, since he was anxious to avoid burdening the commonwealth with the cost of all Fourteen Propositions at once, he suggested deferring consideration of the seven least pressing items until a future session of Parliament, which he suggested should meet during the winter. Among the most urgent requirements was the defence of the Narrow Seas, the repair of the coastal forts, which he described as ‘no great charge’, the relief of La Rochelle, which he described as ‘but a summer’s charge’, and the blockading of the Elbe, on the grounds that ‘our safety lies in it’. In view of the recent Franco-Spanish alliance it was also essential to build 20 new ships for the Navy, and given the complete cessation of shipbuilding activity among merchants it was vital for the government to pay owners all arrears of freight. The final item on Mansell’s list of urgent requirements was the payment of the 6,000 English soldiers in Danish service, although one diarist substitutes the provision of a magazine of victuals. This was not a top priority, and indeed another account states that he described it as a work ‘fit for the next winter’.168

Mansell’s speech signalled the beginning of a rapprochement with Buckingham. On 6 June he made common cause with the duke’s client, Sir Robert Pye, when he proposed legislation to preserve shiptimber for the Navy. Pye, a former Navy Commissioner, had expressed concern at the sale of royal forests,169 as had Mansell himself on 23 and 24 April. On the latter occasion Mansell had cast envious eyes on Spain, where there are ‘now ten trees where they had one formerly’, and where ‘no orchard is kept as they keep their oaks and crooked timber’.170 Yet if Mansell and Buckingham’s allies were now adopting similar positions, faint traces of criticism of the duke remained. Speaking on 7 May, Mansell lamented England’s losses at sea, which he imputed to ‘other men’s errors’, and wished the king ‘would hear men who are able to do him service’. Moreover, he was among those Members who objected to the king’s message of 5 June which, inter alia, prohibited the House from laying aspersions upon government ministers.171 Nevertheless, Mansell’s criticisms were muted, marking a distinct shift of emphasis. Unlike Sir Edward Coke, Kirton and Coryton, he did not name the duke as the author of the country’s misfortunes on 5 June, while in a scathing speech delivered on the following day he made no mention of Buckingham’s role in the incompetent planning of the Cadiz expedition. ‘Is it possible,’ he asked, ‘that the state of England should set forth an army and not understand the bar of St. Lucar? Not to know what to do before they came to Puntal?’ ‘Why’, he demanded, ‘were they not called that knew it as well as the right hand from the left ...?’ The errors committed were ‘impardonable’, made worse by the fact that the expedition had not put to sea ‘in a fit season’, while ‘the ships were not fit, the number of men in no proportion, nor the victuals in proportion to the men’. Had the Privy Council conducted an investigation, those guilty ‘could never have answered’.172 Three days later Mansell continued his attack on the management of the war effort without identifying those responsible when he returned to the guard of the Narrow Seas. Next to the defence of religion and the maintenance of the subject’s property rights, he declared, nothing was more important yet more neglected. Even when the Navy put to sea to defend home waters, he claimed, its vessels were either forced in harbour by the enemy or sunk. As a result of the failure to defend merchant shipping, customs revenues had fallen, impairing the king’s ability to pay for the war. Yet had the seas been properly patrolled ‘the king’s coffer might have been full with what might have been taken’.173

Mansell’s refusal to name Buckingham as the author of England’s military troubles paved the way for a healing of the breach between himself and the duke. One week after the Parliament was prorogued, Edward Nicholas* reported that the duke and Mansell were reconciled after a two-hour long meeting behind closed doors.174 On the following day the Exchequer was ordered to resume payment of Mansell’s fee as lieutenant of the Admiralty.175 Mansell may have hoped that this rapprochement would permit him to take a more active role in naval administration, which was once again under the management of the Navy’s principal officers. Indeed, he may even have hoped to resurrect the long dormant duties of the lieutenancy by taking his seat on the Navy board.176 However, Buckingham’s assassination put paid to any such thoughts.

Mansell played only a minor role in the debates surrounding the Petition of Right in 1628. His sole contribution to the discussion on martial law, for instance, was to query Sir John Jephson’s assertion (19 Apr.) that martial law had been imposed after the 1596 and 1597 expeditions, on which Mansell himself had served.177 He was also appointed to few committees, and of these many reflected his military interests. Thus he was appointed to help draft a bill to regulate the militia (24 Mar.), and catalogue the losses suffered by the merchant marine (11 and 13 June).178 During the 1629 session Mansell played almost no recorded role in proceedings, being named to just three committees and making a solitary speech, in which he endeavoured unsuccessfully to dissuade the House from ordering the imprisonment of one of the sheriffs of London.179 He took advantage of a day’s adjournment on 2 Feb. to muster London’s watermen for the Navy, but the Lower House was sitting ten days later when he mustered London’s seamen.180

VII. Final Years

Mansell accompanied the king in June 1631 on a visit to Chatham dockyard, inspecting nearly every room aboard each ship with Charles.181 Together with the shipwright and principal officer Phineas Pett, he monopolized the royal ear, just as he and Pett had done 20 years earlier with Prince Henry.182 In the following spring he participated in a debate held before Charles and Buckingham’s successors, the Admiralty Commissioners, about reducing the Navy’s manning establishment, but although he opposed a reduction in crew sizes his views did not prevail.183 He took little part in naval affairs after this defeat, his duties being largely limited to launching and naming new warships,184 but was consulted over the proposed dimensions of the Sovereign of the Seas in 1635.185 That same year it was rumoured that he would command a squadron intended to reinforce the first Ship Money fleet, but though the ships were fitted out they never put to sea.186 In August 1641 Mansell was again suggested for a sea command, this time as admiral of the Channel squadron, a position he had held nearly 40 years earlier. The proposal originated with Samuel Turner* who, like Mansell, had been a Pembroke client in 1626.187 In 1642 the king received the same advice from Admiral Sir John Pennington after Charles decided to displace Robert Rich*, 2nd earl of Warwick, who had been installed by Parliament without his approval. However, the king considered that Mansell was by that time too old, despite ‘his known and great reputation with the seamen’.188

Mansell spent considerable time during the 1630s in defending his glass monopoly. In 1634 he blocked a patent to give (Sir) Percival Hart† the right to manufacture glass in Ireland, arguing that Irish glass imports would destroy his manufacturing operation.189 However, to prevent any future challenge to his monopoly, he agreed to revise the terms of his patent. In exchange for an extension of his monopoly to Ireland, and an addition of six years to his term, Mansell’s annual rent was increased from £1,000 to £1,500.190 This alteration probably left Mansell temporarily short of funds, for a few months later he borrowed £250 from a Fleet Street lender who was acting on behalf of Sir Thomas Puckering*. This transaction may have proved more trouble than it was worth, as the lender died before he could cancel Mansell’s bond, exposing the latter to litigation.191 Further evidence that Mansell was experiencing financial difficulties at this time is that he failed to pay his £200 subscription to the royal Fishing Association, despite being one of the most enthusiastic exponents of an English fishery.192

During his battle against Hart, Mansell sought assistance from Ireland’s new lord deputy, Viscount Wentworth (Sir Thomas Wentworth*), to whom he was already indebted for many favours ‘both in Parliament and at the Council Board’.193 Wentworth certainly proved willing to assist Mansell in 1638, lobbying the king when Mansell applied to renew his patent in the face of powerful opposition from rivals who offered to pay a higher rent.194 The lord deputy’s support was undoubtedly welcome, as by February 1638 Mansell had suffered a mild stroke, which had left him temporarily paralysed down one side.195 Renewal of the patent was subsequently granted, even though the Privy Council was informed by Mansell’s former allies, the Glaziers’ Company, that his glass was too expensive, scarce and badly made. The Council had some sympathy with this complaint, but understood that Mansell had recently lost many of his workmen to plague.196 Problems with his labour force seem to have dogged Mansell, for although he had beaten off his Scottish rivals in the mid-1620s and recruited skilled workmen at Mantua, many of his workers were either poached during the early 1630s, or deserted to start up their own glassworks.197

The English defeat at Newburn in August 1640 had a devastating effect on Mansell’s glass industry. The workmen at his three Newcastle furnaces fled before the advancing Scots and threatened to leave the kingdom unless they continued to be paid. The subsequent English abandonment of Newcastle then threatened to starve Mansell’s London glassworks of coal.198 The successful Scottish invasion of England may have provided Mansell with a compelling reason to want to press the king in Parliament to reach a speedy accommodation with the Scots. If so, this would go some way towards explaining why, despite the fact that he was almost 70, Mansell canvassed his Kentish neighbours for a county seat in the Long Parliament in October 1640. However, although he had lived at Greenwich since at least 1626,199 he was forced to abandon his candidature before the day of the election for lack of support.200

It is not known whether Mansell anticipated that his glass patent would come under renewed attack in Parliament, but if so it would also help to explain why he sought election. In February 1641 his monopoly was challenged in a petition to Parliament by a group of men led by Richard Batson who, despite a prohibition issued by the House of Lords, continued to import large amounts of glass until he was arrested in July.201 The dispute was eventually heard by the Lords’ committee for petitions in August 1641.202 It may have been at this hearing that several peers, knowing Mansell to be hot-headed and fearing that he would be imprisoned for contempt, asked him to keep quiet after he ‘began to speak in some choler’. However, some others who were present ‘let him speak; he speaks like an open-hearted Welshman and like a soldier’.203 It was probably while waiting to be heard by the Lords in May 1641 that Mansell demonstrated those very soldierly qualities when he attempted to rally Members who were fleeing the Commons’ chamber after they mistook the sound of a board breaking for an explosion. Drawing his sword, he cried ‘stand for shame’, but none of the panic-stricken Members stood with ‘the good old knight’.204

Mansell was finally forced to surrender his glass patent in June 1642, after a London merchant complained that he had seized ten chests of imported glass belonging to him.205 Despite this setback, Mansell continued to manufacture glass at Newcastle, but even without his monopoly he was troubled by the activities of an interloper named Edmund Harris, who was ordered by the House of Lords to pay him £100 in damages in 1645.206 In 1643 Mansell and his wife were assessed at £250 each by Parliament’s committee for the advance of money, and in 1644 Mansell’s assessment was mistakenly increased to £800.207 In July 1652 Mansell unsuccessfully attempted to renew the lease on his Newcastle glassworks.208 He died childless in the following month and was buried at St. Alfege, East Greenwich. Strangely, however, licences to export horses were issued in his name in October 1655.209 Letters of administration were granted to his widow on 26 June 1656.210 An anonymous portrait of Mansell, painted in about 1615 and depicting him holding an admiral’s baton, hangs at Penrice Castle, Glamorganshire.211

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


E115/273/32; Lansd. 168, f. 189.

  • 1. HCA 13/30, f. 187.
  • 2. E. Williams, Staple Inn, 190; Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 406; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 62; Kirby, 85.
  • 3. S. and E. Usherwood, Counter-Armada, 1596, p. 147.
  • 4. Soc. Gen. transcript, par. reg. St. Alfege, E. Greenwich.
  • 5. HCA 13/30, f. 187r-v.
  • 6. Naval Tracts of Sir William Monson ed. M. Oppenheim (Navy Rec. Soc. i), 359; ii. 38, 88, 169; E351/2239, unfol.; 351/2241, unfol.; 351/2244, unfol.; T. Rymer, Foedera, vii. pt. 3, p. 165.
  • 7. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 98; 1611-18, p. 541; C54/2374/10.
  • 8. Rymer, vii. pt. 4, p. 149; Procs. 1626, ii. 263.
  • 9. CSP Dom. 1637, pp. 86, 224.
  • 10. Hatfield House, ms 278; Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 13; Harl. 286, f. 297; C231/4, f. 261; 231/5, p. 232.
  • 11. Norf. RO, WLS XVII/1, bk. 2, ff. 12-14.
  • 12. HCA 49/106, packet A, nos. 53, 65.
  • 13. C181/1, ff. 14, 78.
  • 14. APC, 1600-1, p. 227.
  • 15. A.H. Smith, ‘Elizabethan Gentry of Norf.’ (Univ. of London Ph.D. thesis, 1959), p. 310.
  • 16. SP14/31/1.
  • 17. C181/2, ff. 101, 214, 220v, 228, 299v, 339.
  • 18. Kirby, 85.
  • 19. R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 350.
  • 20. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 21. C54/2374/10; SP15/40/28.
  • 22. CJ, i. 208b, 319b.
  • 23. HMC Downshire, iv. 338.
  • 24. CD 1621, vii. 416; CSP Dom. Addenda 1580-1625, p. 629.
  • 25. Memorials of Merchant Taylors’ Co. ed. G.M. Clode, 159.
  • 26. Jamestown Voyages ed. P.L. Barbour (Hakluyt Soc. ser. 2, cxxxvi), i. 74.
  • 27. CSP Col. E.I. 1513-1616, p. 239.
  • 28. CSP Col. 1574-1660, pp. 34, 204; Procs. American Antiq. Soc. 1867, p. 59.
  • 29. Jacobean Commissions of Enquiry, 1608 and 1618 ed. A.P. McGowan (Navy Rec. Soc. cxvi), 229.
  • 30. CSP Col. E.I. 1513-1616, p. 194.
  • 31. A. Brown, Genesis of US, 770.
  • 32. Select Charters of Trading Cos. ed. C.T. Carr (Selden Soc. xxviii), 99.
  • 33. CUL, ms Dd. xi. 71.
  • 34. CD 1621, vii. 362; and see below.
  • 35. Ct. of Jas. I ed. G. Goodman, i. 56.
  • 36. J.S. Corbett, Eng. in the Med. i. 70; Jacobean Commissions of Enquiry, xiv.
  • 37. HMC Hatfield, xv. 6, 42; HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, iii. 19; LC2/4/4, f. 69v.
  • 38. HMC Hatfield, xv. 95, 191; Carleton to Chamberlain ed. M. Lee, 43.
  • 39. Secret Hist. of Jas. I ed. W. Scott, i. 337; CD 1628, iv. 214.
  • 40. HMC Hatfield, xv. 43.
  • 41. Cal. of Salusbury Corresp. ed. W.J. Smith (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Stud., Hist. and Law ser. xiv), 141.
  • 42. R.A. Rebholz, Life of Fulke Greville, 167-70, 175-6, 347, 349; HMC Cowper, i. 52-3.
  • 43. J. Nichols, Progs. of Jas. I, i. 294.
  • 44. Carleton to Chamberlain, 58. See also CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 115.
  • 45. DCO, Letters and Patents 1620-1, f. 4v, and see below.
  • 46. CJ, i. 162a, 211a.
  • 47. Ibid. 229a; R.W. Kenny, ‘Parliamentary Influence of Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham’, JMH, xxxix. 231.
  • 48. CJ, i. 187b, 261b.
  • 49. Ibid. 169a, 243a, 248b, 987a.
  • 50. Ibid. 404b, 413b, 419b.
  • 51. Ibid. 238a, 260b, 438a.
  • 52. Bowyer Diary, 82.
  • 53. Jacobean Commissions of Enquiry, 229.
  • 54. CJ, i. 987a, 292b.
  • 55. Bowyer Diary, 115.
  • 56. CJ, i. 243b, 260b, 285b, 290b, 366a, 399a, 401b, 442b.
  • 57. Ibid. 344b, 355a.
  • 58. Ibid. 259a, 264b, 267b, 272b.
  • 59. Ibid. 434b.
  • 60. Ibid. 993a.
  • 61. NLW, Carreglwyd I/699.
  • 62. Jacobean Commissions of Enquiry, 11, 13-18.
  • 63. Secret Hist. i. 356-8.
  • 64. Ibid. i. 333-5. For Osborne, see Oxford DNB.
  • 65. Jacobean Commissions of Enquiry, 118-19, 242, 246.
  • 66. Autobiog. of Phineas Pett ed. W.G. Perrin (Navy Rec. Soc. li), 88-90.
  • 67. CSP Col. E.I. 1513-1616, p. 238; AO1/2021/1A, unfol.
  • 68. Chamberlain Letters, i. 421.
  • 69. Ibid. 455-6; HMC Portland, ix. 15, 24-5; Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton ed. L. Pearsall Smith, ii. 27-31; APC, 1613-14, pp. 28, 211-18; CSP Dom. 1611-18, pp. 186-7. The rumour that Mansell had been imprisoned for insulting Princess Elizabeth was false: HMC Downshire, iv. 137.
  • 70. Chamberlain Letters, i. 496.
  • 71. HMC Portland, ix. 129.
  • 72. State Trials ed. T.B. Howell, ii. 982.
  • 73. J. Nichols, Progs. of Jas. I, ii. 24.
  • 74. Gent. Mag. (1826), i. 484.
  • 75. Chamberlain Letters, i. 518.
  • 76. Harwich bor. recs. ms 98/3, f. 24; ms 99/1.
  • 77. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 37.
  • 78. Ibid. 67, 246.
  • 79. HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, v. 176.
  • 80. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 332, 429-30.
  • 81. CJ, i. 412b, 434a.
  • 82. Jacobean Commissions of Enquiry, 17.
  • 83. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 200, 207.
  • 84. CSP Dom. 1631-3, p. 386.
  • 85. CD 1628, iv. 83, 179, 186, 191; CJ, i. 922a.
  • 86. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 33, 204, 229-30.
  • 87. Ibid. 85, 176, 228, 257, 268, 308, 320, 332.
  • 88. Ibid. 33, 76, 82, 151, 346, 365.
  • 89. Pett Autobiog. (Navy Rec. Soc. li), 114-15.
  • 90. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 406. The correspondent, Sherburn, also asserted incorrectly that the wedding occurred in Nov. 1616.
  • 91. APC, 1615-16, p. 251; Add. 12496, f. 165.
  • 92. J. Howell, Epistolae Ho-Elianae, 84.
  • 93. D. Crossley, ‘Sir Wm. Clavell’s Glasshouse at Kimmeridge’, Arch. Jnl. cxliv. 343; Add. 12496, f. 165, endorsed 21 Dec. 1621 (?1620).
  • 94. Howell, 19; APC, 1615-16, pp. 444, 469-72; 1616-17, p. 420; 1618-19, p. 329-30.
  • 95. APC, 1616-17, pp. 290-1; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 161.
  • 96. Fortescue Pprs. ed. S.R. Gardiner (Cam. Soc. n.s., i), 31.
  • 97. Procs. 1626, ii. 408.
  • 98. A. Perceval Keep, ‘Star Chamber Procs. against Suffolk and Others’, EHR, xiii. 723; E403/2732, f. 209v; HMC Hatfield, xxii. 97; E125/18, ff. 127v-8.
  • 99. APC, 1615-16, pp. 571-2.
  • 100. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 541.
  • 101. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 158.
  • 102. Secret Hist. i. 432.
  • 103. Letters and Life of Francis Bacon ed. J. Spedding, vi. 377; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 597.
  • 104. Ibid. 1619-23, p. 125.
  • 105. Add. 12504, ff. 17-44v, esp. f. 18r-v; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 113.
  • 106. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 176.
  • 107. M.B. Young, Servility and Service, 259.
  • 108. Cabala sive Scrinia Sacra, 297-9; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 350.
  • 109. Fortescue Pprs. 152-3.
  • 110. Arch. Cantiana, iii. 146.
  • 111. Secret Hist. ii. 7.
  • 112. Young, 81-2.
  • 113. CSP Ven. 1621-3, p. 348.
  • 114. CD 1621, iii. 195.
  • 115. CSP Dom. 1619-23, pp. 243, 247.
  • 116. CD 1621, ii. 366; iii. 255-6; iv. 352-4; v. 170.
  • 117. APC, 1619-21, p. 401.
  • 118. Ibid. 1623-5, pp. 11, 34-5; CSP Dom. 1634-5, p. 476.
  • 119. APC, 1621-3, p. 8.
  • 120. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 266.
  • 121. APC, 1621-3, pp. 406-7; 1623-5, p. 57.
  • 122. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 215; C. Russell, PEP, 191; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 118; ‘Lowther 1624’, f. 25; ‘Pym 1624’, f. 20.
  • 123. HLRO, main pprs. 14 May 1624; E133/84/65. Toy had mounted a legal challenge in the previous year, Cent. Kent. Stud. U269/1/OE731.
  • 124. E.g. E124/24, ff. 2r-v, 119; 124/26, ff. 235, 300; 126/2, ff. 112v, 262, 270v; 134/19Jas.I/Hil.2 and Hil.3.
  • 125. STAC 8/215/2.
  • 126. HLRO, main pprs. 16 May 1626.
  • 127. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 535.
  • 128. CJ, i. 724a.
  • 129. Ibid. 682b; ‘Holland 1624’, f. 46; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 105.
  • 130. CJ, i. 741a.
  • 131. ‘Pym 1624’, f. 33v.
  • 132. ‘Holland 1624’, f. 61.
  • 133. CJ, i. 741a.
  • 134. ‘Spring 1624’, p. 126.
  • 135. Holles 1624, p. 41; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 91v.
  • 136. Holles 1624, p. 5.
  • 137. CJ, i. 754a.
  • 138. Ibid. 671b, 767a, 703a, 712b, 714a.
  • 139. C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 204.
  • 140. CJ, i. 767a.
  • 141. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 559.
  • 142. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 242.
  • 143. Nichols, iii. 1046.
  • 144. Procs. 1625, p. 459.
  • 145. Ibid. 557.
  • 146. Ibid. 453, 562.
  • 147. Ibid. 457, 459-60, 468.
  • 148. Ibid. 472-4, 476-7, 480-1.
  • 149. HMC Mar and Kellie, ii. 233.
  • 150. Procs. 1625, p. 715.
  • 151. APC, 1625-6, p. 134. Mansell’s appearance is unmentioned in the Council register.
  • 152. CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, p. 112.
  • 153. Ibid. 107.
  • 154. Procs. 1626, ii. 127, 131, 150, 154-5.
  • 155. Ibid. 187, 189-90.
  • 156. Ibid. 115-16, 121.
  • 157. Ibid. 127, 131.
  • 158. Ibid. 167.
  • 159. Ibid. 360.
  • 160. Ibid. iii. 36.
  • 161. Ibid. 39.
  • 162. Ibid. 201.
  • 163. Ibid. 184.
  • 164. Ibid. 91, 93.
  • 165. Ibid. 379.
  • 166. Ibid. 426, 429.
  • 167. Som. RO, Phelips ms DD/PH219/66; Harl. 286, f. 297.
  • 168. CD 1628, ii. 245, 255-6, 265, 269.
  • 169. Ibid. iv. 161.
  • 170. Ibid. iii. 45, 62. Mansell was named to a cttee. for a bill to preserve shiptimber (and obtain saltpetre) on 25 Apr. (ibid. 70).
  • 171. Ibid. iii. 273, 308, 310; iv. 115.
  • 172. Ibid. 148, 159-60.
  • 173. Ibid. 202-3, 209-10.
  • 174. HMC Cowper, i. 357.
  • 175. E403/3040, f. 6. It was paid in full four days later: E403/1740, unfol., 8 July 1628.
  • 176. Hollond’s Discourses ed. J.R. Tanner (Navy Rec. Soc. vii), 392.
  • 177. CD 1628, ii. 571.
  • 178. Ibid. 78; iv. 238, 290.
  • 179. CJ, i. 922a, 928a, 932a; CD 1629, p. 188.
  • 180. CSP Dom. 1628-9, pp. 467, 472.
  • 181. Ibid. 1631-3, p. 90.
  • 182. HMC Cowper, i. 439.
  • 183. CSP Dom. 1631-3, pp. 313, 328, 340, 373; SP16/475, ff. 290-1v; 16/221/7.
  • 184. CSP Dom. 1633-4, p. 454; 1636-7, p. 512; Pett Autobiog. 157, 166-7.
  • 185. CSP Dom. 1635, p. 13.
  • 186. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 422.
  • 187. Harl. 5047, f. 53.
  • 188. Clarendon, Hist. of the Rebellion ed. W.D. Macray, ii. 219.
  • 189. SCL, Strafford Pprs. 13/169.
  • 190. W.H. Price, English Patents of Monopoly, 226-32.
  • 191. CSP Dom. 1640-1, p. 488; C2/Chas.1/M65/54.
  • 192. CUL, ms Dd. xi. 71, f. 33v. Mansell may have been the author of a treatise on fishing, written in c.1630: Sloane 26, passim.
  • 193. SCL, Strafford Pprs. 13/165.
  • 194. Ibid. 18/65. It is unclear why Mansell had to renew his grant in 1638.
  • 195. Strafforde Letters, ii. 149. On 23 Feb. 1638 Mansell referred to his ‘long time of sickness’: SCL, Strafford Pprs. 17/296.
  • 196. PC2/48, p. 511.
  • 197. APC, 1629-30, p. 336; CSP Dom. 1634-5, pp. 476-7.
  • 198. CSP Dom. 1640-1, p. 65.
  • 199. Ibid. 1625-6, p. 377.
  • 200. Procs. in Kent ed. L.B. Larking (Cam. Soc. lxxx), 15, 17.
  • 201. HMC 4th Rep. 63, 89, 92, 94; LJ, iv. 248b, 322b.
  • 202. HMC Lords Addenda, n.s. xi. 262.
  • 203. Ct. of Jas.I, i. 56.
  • 204. A. Fletcher, Outbreak of English Civil War, 27.
  • 205. Pvte. Jnls. of Long Parl. 7 Mar. to 1 June 1642 ed. V.F. Snow and A. Steele Young, 156, 178; CJ, ii. 527a, 533b, 534a, 600b. Two other glassmakers also complained to Parl. of mistreatment by Mansell: HMC 5th Rep. 19, 23; LJ, v. 12a, 66a.
  • 206. LJ, vii. 562a, 592a; HMC 6th Rep. 77.
  • 207. CCAM, 223.
  • 208. J. Brand, Hist. Newcastle (1789), ii. 45.
  • 209. Ibid.; CSP Dom. 1655, p. 599.
  • 210. PROB 6/32, f. 132v.
  • 211. J. Steegman, Survey of Portraits in Welsh Houses, ii. 112.