MARSHALL, George (-d.1636), of The Mews, Westminster and Stepney, Mdx.; later of Cole Park, Malmesbury, Wilts. and Putney, Surr.

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

2nd s. of George Marshall, yeoman, of Bickerton, Yorks. and Mary, da. of Robert Ward alias Robinson of Cowton Grange, Yorks. m. (1) by 1599, Cicely (bur. 23 Apr. 1625), da. of Sir Owen Hopton† of Yoxford, Surr., lt. of the Tower 1570-90, 1da.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Robert Arnold of Benson, Oxon., wid. of Edmund Joyner, clothier, of Newbury, Berks. and Robert Angell, Grocer, of London, s.p.1 kntd. 6 Oct. 1615;2 bur. 27 July 1636.3 sig. Geo[rge] Marshall.

Offices Held

Equerry, Royal Stables by 1608-14;4 gent. of the privy chamber by 1618;5 master of the stud, Malmesbury, Wilts. 1618-d.6

Commr. oyer and terminer, the Verge 1617, purveyance, Wilts. 1618;7 j.p. Wilts. 1623-d.; commr. subsidy, Wilts. 1626, 1629, survey, Braydon forest, Wilts. 1627, sewers, Sheppey marshes, Kent 1629, I.o.W. 1631, knighthood fines, Wilts. 1630-2.8


Of a humble family from Tadcaster, Yorkshire, Marshall probably founded his career upon connections his brother Robert made at Gray’s Inn after 1593. These clearly included William Pope of Wroxton, Oxfordshire, who married the widow of the 3rd Lord Wentworth; Marshall married her sister, a Catholic who had arranged for one of her father’s prisoners, the 13th earl of Arundel, to hear mass in the Tower. Lady Wentworth secured Marshall a lease of Stepney parsonage, while her husband Sir William Pope granted him an annuity of £10. They may also have recommended him to the earl of Hertford, whose clandestine marriage he attended in 1601.9

After Queen Elizabeth’s death, Marshall borrowed money and saddlery from Pope and rode for Edinburgh; he claimed to have been the first to bring the news of James’s official proclamation as king of England. Thereafter he was sent to investigate a rumour that Lord Beauchamp (Hertford’s son by Lady Catherine Grey) had been proclaimed king at Northampton. In recognition of his services he was granted the right to nominate two knights of the Bath at the coronation, which he exercised on behalf of Pope and his brother-in-law Arthur Hopton†. He received a promise of 1,000 marks from Pope, ‘waiving all other recompense and satisfaction from His Majesty’, although no payment was received. By 1608 he had purchased an equerry’s post in the royal stables, apparently from a Scotsman, and he and his brother procured a grant of arms. In 1610 he complained to Robert Cecil†, earl of Salisbury that ‘promises of reward have all come to nothing’, and he was granted a pension of 200 marks in the following year.10

At the 1614 election, Marshall was returned to the Commons for Boroughbridge: his Yorkshire birth and Catholic connections may have recommended him to the local patrons, the Tankards. On 12 May he supported the bill against plurality and non-residence among clergymen, and urged that no cleric under the rank of dean be made a j.p.; he was included on this committee, and later on that for the bill to settle the debts of Sir Robert Wroth II* (25 May). In 1618 he succeeded Sir Robert Brett* as master of the stud at Cole Park, Wiltshire, a lucrative post worth £500 a year. Very much a stranger there, he was apparently taken for a Scotsman, while his abuse of Sir John Hungerford* resulted in a challenge to a duel and a Star Chamber case.11

No sooner had Marshall achieved financial security than he sued Pope in Chancery for payment of the 1,000 marks promised for his knighthood. Pope insisted that his wife had interceded with the 1st earl of Suffolk for the nomination, and questioned whether a verbal promise made 15 years earlier was actionable at law, while encouraging friends to question Marshall’s lease of Stepney parsonage. The court was unconvinced by Marshall’s plea, and the suit was close to dismissal when the king wrote to lord chancellor Verulam (Sir Francis Bacon*) vouching for Marshall’s role in procuring the knighthoods; a decree for payment was awarded on 16 Nov. 1620.12 The dispute was aired before the Common’s grievances’ committee on 27 Apr. 1621, when a dozen speakers attacked the sale of honours, and only Sir John Strangways attempted to defend Marshall’s action. The committee recommended an approach to the Lords to have the decree razed, but when this was reported to the House on 1 May, Secretary Calvert stated that the king ‘knoweth not how the letter gotten from him, condemneth the course and giveth consent to the taking off the file the decree’. The master of the rolls (Sir Julius Caesar*) was asked to see this done, but he merely arranged for the indefinite suspension of the decree on 1 Feb. 1622 following an order from the king. This failure was cited in the Commons in 1626 and 1628, but the complaint was allowed to rest.13

Marshall’s standing at Court remained unaffected by this dispute. In 1623 he was appointed to an Exchequer commission investigating ‘indirect practices’ on the Isle of Wight in opposition to the Brading haven drainage scheme of Hugh Myddelton* and Bevis Thelwall. He also obtained several Crown grants of modest value: the extinct manor of Blanch Appleton in the city of London; a Norfolk hundred worth £10 a year; and the Northamptonshire manor of Passenham, presumably as trustee for the eventual owner, the Household official Sir Robert Banister. His second marriage, to the widow of a warden of the Grocers’ Company, involved him in litigation with his stepson, and he apparently assigned Cole Park to his son-in-law, Marmaduke Marshall. By 1633, with his pension unpaid for eight years, he was in arrears with his rent, and fell into the clutches of the notorious usurer Hugh Audley, whereupon he was granted temporary protection from his creditors. He died intestate, being buried at Putney on 27 July 1636. None of his descendants sat in Parliament.14

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 130-1; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. vii. 109; Gent. Mag. lxvii. 107; SP16/196/54; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. xv), 19.
  • 2. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 157.
  • 3. Putney Par. Reg. 101.
  • 4. E179/70/122.
  • 5. C2/Jas.I/M16/9.
  • 6. Yorks. Arch. Jnl. vii. 110; HMC Hatfield, xxi. 308; C66/1845/8.
  • 7. C231/2, f. 106.
  • 8. E179/199/382; Add. 34566, f. 132; C181/2, f. 287, 181/4, f. 89; C231/4, pp. 23, 154; CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 84; E178/7154, f. 185c; E178/5702.
  • 9. GI Admiss. 83; N. Williams, Duke of Norf. 232-3; HMC 9th Rep. i. 264; LPL, Whitgift reg. 3, f. 125.
  • 10. C2/Jas.I/M16/9; HMC Hatfield, xv. 223; xxi. 190, 308; C78/234/6; Grantees of Arms ed. W.H. Rylands (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 165; C66/1845/8.
  • 11. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 217, 220, 223, 338; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 111; CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 389; C.M. Prior, Royal Stud, 16-18, 71; REQ 2/416/77; C78/234/6.
  • 12. C2/Jas.I/M16/9; REQ 2/426/77; C33/136, ff. 1327, 1540; 33/139, f. 215v. L. Stone, Crisis of the Aristocracy, 83 interprets the case differently.
  • 13. CD 1621, ii. 329-30, 333; iii. 268-70, 111-16; iv. 285; v. 106-9, 123-6; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 340-4, 364-7; CJ, i. 599a; C33/142, f. 597; Procs. 1626, iii. 145, 150; CD 1628, iv. 469, 475.
  • 14. STAC 8/249/9; C66/2300/8-9; PC2/43, pp. 199, 363, PC/248, pp. 138-9; CSP Dom. 1623-5, pp. 17-18; 1635, pp. 431-2; 1635-6, p. 179; 1636-7, p. 280; SP16/196/54; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. vii. 109.