MOORE, Francis (1559-1621), of South Fawley, Berks. and the Middle Temple, London

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. 1559, o. and posth. s. of Edward Moore, yeoman, of East Ilsley, Berks. and Elizabeth, da. and coh. of one Hall of Tilehurst, Berks. educ. ?Reading g.s.; St. John’s, Oxf. c.1574, MA Oxf. 1612; New Inn bef. 1580; M. Temple 1580, called 1587.1 m. by 1591, Anne (d. 12 May 1653), da. of William Tweedy of Boreham, Essex, 5s. (1 d.v.p.), 4da. (1 d.v.p.).2 suc. fa. at birth. kntd. 17 Mar. 1617. d. 21 Sept. 1621.3 sig. Fra[ncis] Moore.

Offices Held

Solicitor to Henry Percy, 9th earl of Northumberland 1585-at least 1608;4 steward, reader’s Feast, M. Temple 1596, assoc. bencher 1603-7, bencher 1607-14, autumn reader 1607, asst. to Lent reader 1608;5 fee’d counsel, Charterhouse hosp., London 1614-d.;6 sjt.-at-law 1614;7 sjt.-at-law to Anne of Denmark by 1616.8

J.p. Berks. c.1592-d., custos rot. 1615-d.;9 commr. oyer and terminer, Oxf. circ. 1602-d.;10 sewers, London 1606,11 charitable uses, Berks. 1607-at least 1619,12 subsidy, Berks. and New Windsor 1608-9,13 aid, Berks. 1609;14 under steward, Univ. of Oxford by 1612;15 gov., Charterhouse hosp. London 1617-d.;16 steward, Newbury, Berks. c.1619-d.17


Described by J.H. Baker as ‘one of the great real-property lawyers of his age’,18 Moore, an only son, was born at East Ilsley, in Berkshire, eight miles north of Newbury. His father, Edward, a prosperous yeoman, leased the local parsonage, grew wheat, malt, rye and barley, and grazed a 355-strong flock of sheep on the nearby high downs. Edward died sometime between 20 Mar. and 18 Apr. 1559, shortly before his son’s birth, leaving an estate with a net sale value of £278 17s. 1d.19 Moore was educated at Reading grammar school and St. John’s College, Oxford. He did not graduate, but trained for the law at New Inn and the Middle Temple, entering the chambers of Edmund Hungerford and Alexander Pym† (father of John*) in 1580. Called to the bar in about 1587, he built up an impressive legal practice with the help of lord keeper Egerton (Thomas Egerton I†), to whom he may have been distantly related through the latter’s second wife.20 Moore should be distinguished from a namesake, who served as sheriff of Worcestershire in 1615-16.21

The lord keeper’s patronage probably owed something to a shared religious outlook. Like Egerton, who had been a recusant as late as 1569, Moore was probably a reluctant Protestant, despite his public support for the church attendance bill in 1601.22 Certainly his Catholic connections, particularly with the Englefield family, are striking. Until 1585, the manor of East Ilsley was owned by Sir Francis Englefield†, the Marian master of the Wards who earned notoriety under Elizabeth as a Catholic conspirator. In 1582 Englefield’s nephew and intended heir, Francis Englefield, was bound to Moore, and later married Jane Browne, the daughter of Anthony, Viscount Montagu and Mary Dormer, both of whom were notable Catholics. As a result of the older Englefield’s treason, East Ilsley was seized by the Crown, but Moore’s links with the younger Englefield continued. Indeed, they probably explain his return to Parliament for Boroughbridge in 1589, and it may have been he who defended Englefield’s interests before the House of Lords in 1593. Certainly, in 1621 he described Englefield as his ‘ancient, true and good friend’.23 Another member of Moore’s Catholic circle was Sir Edward Hungerford† of Farleigh Castle, in Somerset. Hungerford contributed £10 to the feast held to celebrate Moore’s reading at the Middle Temple in 1607 and appointed Moore an overseer of his will. His second wife, Cecily, was the daughter of the crypto-papist Sir John Tufton of Hothfield, in Kent, and later married the Catholic 6th earl of Rutland.24 Moore’s Catholic sympathies help to explain his employment, from 1585, as solicitor to Henry Percy, 9th earl of Northumberland, and also his marriage to Anne Tweedy, one of the earl’s household servants and a recusant in the 1640s.25 His religious preference was shared by his daughter, Elizabeth, as she later married Sir Richard Blount (Richard Blount III†), who was described as a non-communicant in 1612 and whose first wife had been a recusant.

Moore’s marriage to Anne Tweedy in about 1591 brought him only a modest holding in Essex. Consequently, from the mid-1590s Moore concentrated on expanding his Berkshire property.26 He could easily afford to do so, as he was one of the most financially successful lawyers of his age. Indeed, his legal earnings probably amounted to about £1,000 p.a. He began in 1594 by purchasing the nearby manor of South Fawley, which he made his seat and where he rebuilt the manor house. He subsequently acquired the two adjacent properties and three further manors, including that of East Ilsley in 1618.27 Possession of East Ilsley gave him control over a weekly sheep market, so perhaps Moore shared his father’s interest in sheep farming.28

The expansion of his estates enhanced Moore’s local standing, for he was elevated to the Berkshire bench in about 1592, but so too did the connections he forged among his neighbours as a lawyer. In 1591, for instance, Edward, son of Thomas Lydall, a prominent member of the Reading corporation who served as Mayor in 1597-8 and 1606-7, entered the Middle Temple and was bound to him. Edward evidently became his student, and in 1594 the two men jointly assumed responsibility for a new entrant to the Inn.29 It was presumably through the Lydalls, rather than any connection with the influential Knollys family, that Moore came to represent Reading as its junior burgess in 1597 and 1601.

Following James’s accession, Moore declined to serve as reader of his Inn, perhaps fearing a reduction in his income. However, the readership was essential if Moore was to become a bencher. In order to keep open this line of advancement Moore’s patron, Egerton, now lord chancellor Ellesmere, and lord chief justice (Sir) John Popham†, took the unusual step in November 1603 of persuading the Middle Temple to appoint Moore an associate bencher.30 This was just as well, for not until 1607 did Moore finally served as reader, and in the event his service was cut short by the plague. During his reading Moore acknowledged his debt to Ellesmere, ‘who of his honourable bounty took me to his feet in public and to his elbow in private’.31 He continued to remain in the lord chancellor’s debt thereafter, for it was probably through Ellesmere, chancellor of Oxford University from 1610, that Moore was awarded an honorary MA in 1612.

Re-elected to the Commons for Reading in March 1604, presumably on the Lydall interest, Moore enjoyed a high profile in the House, although in the Journal he is not always distinguished from the Member for Winchester, John More I. Nevertheless, his presence was erratic, for as an active barrister, dependent on legal fees for his main income, he often represented his clients in nearby Westminster Hall when he should have been in the chamber. In the ten days following the start of the second session in November 1606, for example, he was in Chancery on at least four separate occasions.32 Outside term time, Moore may have been sorely tempted to go on circuit. During the spring of 1607 he may actually have done so, as there is a glaring gap in his parliamentary record between 7 Mar. and 12 May, during which time his name vanishes entirely from the Journal.33 However, unlike many of the barristers with seats in the Commons, Moore did not attend the assizes as a matter of course, for in the spring of 1606 and 1610 he remained at Westminster. The reason he decided to be absent in 1607 is uncertain, but it seems likely that Moore was reluctant to participate in the final debates regarding the Union.

Despite his irregular attendance, Moore participated in much of the important business before the Commons. One of the key issues of the first two sessions was purveyance. On 19 Apr. 1604 ‘Mr. Moore’ took possession of the petition complaining of the abuses of purveyors after it was read in the House.34 This was almost certainly Moore rather than the Member for Winchester, for on 5 Mar. 1606 he opened the debate on purveyance, at which time he argued for the ‘conveniency of composition’ and the ‘benefit to the subject’ which compounding would bring.35 Another central issue was the Union. Like many lawyer-Members, Moore contemplated the prospect of a formal union with horror, as his avoidance of the chamber in March 1607 suggests. Indeed, when the House discussed the proposed adoption of the name ‘Great Britain’ on 19 Apr. 1604, he advised his colleagues to ‘confer with caution’.36 Moreover, on 17 Feb. 1607, when the status of those Scots born before 1603 was being considered, he declared that he was unwilling to allow the ante-nati access to ‘ecclesiastical promotions’, let alone ‘our lands’ and ‘our trades’, even if they were to be naturalized. He evidently spoke at some length, as he and two other Members monopolized that morning’s discussions. On 14 May 1604 Moore was named to hear the Lords’ reaction to the bill appointing the commissioners of the Union. Eight days later he was appointed to the committee for considering the wording of the legislation. Following Sir Christopher Piggott’s outburst against the Scots in February 1607, Moore, despite his own hostility to the Union, recommended that Piggott be sent to the Tower. Appointed to the committee to consider the Union bill on 29 Nov. 1606, he was subsequently required to help prepare a conference with the Lords on the abolition of the hostile laws.37 On 7 Mar. 1607 he was also instructed, along with the attorney-general, Sir Henry Hobart, to point out the implications for wardship of the proposed Union at a conference with the Lords that afternoon.38

In some important matters before the Commons Moore played a notably less significant role. Although one of the 24-strong committee sent to the Lords on 26 Mar. 1604 to request a joint conference on the subject, his interest in compounding for wardship seems to have been muted.39 Moore showed even less recorded interest in either impositions or the Great Contract, the two issues which dominated the fourth session of 1610. His only speech on impositions was delivered on 9 Apr. 1606, when the matter first arose, while his involvement in the negotiations surrounding the Great Contract seems to have been limited to questioning the need to redraft the House’s reply to lord treasurer Salisbury’s (Robert Cecil†) demand for supply and support (1 Mar. 1610).40 He may have expressed greater enthusiasm for free trade, as he was named to help consider two bills on the subject on 24 Apr. 1604 and spoke favourably of one such measure at its third reading on 31 May. His support undoubtedly owed something to the hostility he had expressed towards monopolies in the parliaments of 1597 and 1601. Nevertheless, while named to consider the reintroduced free trade bill on 3 Apr. 1606 and to the committee for an export bill on 16 Mar. 1610,41 Moore seems to have played no part in the attack on the charter of the fledgling Spanish Company, which acted as the focus for the advocates of free trade during the second session. Indeed, he was not even named to consider the company’s charter on 5 Nov. 1605, nor was he one of the six Members added to the committee on 10 Feb. 1606.42 On the other hand, he denounced, on 28 Apr. 1606, the patent for blue starch as bearing ‘the true rights of a monopoly’, while the authors of the infamous ‘Parliament Fart’ poem drew upon Moore’s credentials as an opponent of monopolies when they devised their couplet on him.43

A member of the committee for privileges,44 Moore was at the forefront of attempts to persuade the warden of the Fleet to release the imprisoned Member Sir Thomas Shirley I in 1604. The warden proved reluctant to comply with the Commons’ demands because he feared being sued by Shirley’s creditors, who had instigated the arrest. To reassure the warden the House prepared a bill to guarantee him immunity from prosecution, which measure Moore reported and helped to draft (20 April). However, even after the bill was sent up to the Lords, Shirley’s detention continued to vex the House, and therefore Moore and six other Members were appointed to consider the precedents in the case (2 May). When the bill failed to pass into law because of a flaw in its drafting, Moore proposed that either a new measure be prepared or the lord chancellor - his patron - should be approached to order Shirley’s release (10 May), whereupon a fresh bill was produced by Sir Henry Montagu and given three readings in quick succession. Four days later Shirley had still not been freed, prompting Moore to suggest that the warden and his deputy should be threatened with loss of office. However, the House lacked the power to displace the warden, who was therefore consigned to Little Ease, in the Tower. When it was suggested that he should be transferred to a more commodious cell, Sir Robert Wingfield demanded that the warden should first petition the House and submit to its authority, a motion seconded by Moore (16 May), who added that the warden should also acknowledge his fault (16 May).45

Moore’s position as Ellesmere’s unofficial spokesman in the Commons must have been well known. In May 1604 Moore steered through the House the bill to naturalize Ellesmere’s subordinate, Edward, Lord Bruce, master of the Rolls, and when the Shirley case erupted Moore was one of the two Members who informed the lord chancellor of the House’s judgment regarding those responsible for Shirley’s arrest (14 April).46 It was probably also through Moore that Ellesmere communicated with the Commons on 15 Feb. 1606 regarding another arrested Member, Roger Brereton, for when it was announced that Brereton had been freed on a writ of habeas corpus Moore declared that this action proved that ‘my lord chancellor will not infringe the privilege of the House’.47 This reassurance was necessary as the Commons in general, and Moore in particular, had clashed with Ellesmere in 1604 over the right to determine the validity of its returns. Chancery had ruled that the Buckinghamshire election had been won by Sir John Fortescue rather than Sir Francis Goodwin, who had gained the greater number of votes, as Goodwin was incapable of standing, having been outlawed for debt. In the ensuing dispute, Moore, as a client of the lord chancellor, conspicuously failed to side with Ellesmere or explain the latter’s position, just as in 1597 and 1601 he had courted Ellesmere’s disapproval by attacking grants of monopoly. On the contrary, he helped to lead the charge against him. On 23 Mar. he persuaded his colleagues to support Goodwin rather than Fortescue, arguing that Goodwin had been pardoned by Act of Parliament.48 Although he subsequently abandoned the claim that Goodwin was not outlawed, he remained one of the latter’s foremost defenders. On 30 Mar. he claimed, correctly, that outlaws had previously been permitted to sit in the Commons,49 and on 2 Apr. he was one of the nine Members ordered to examine the sheriff of Buckinghamshire. The following day he presented the Commons with a paper outlining the reasons for defending Goodwin, which he and his fellow committee members had drawn up.50 The vigour with which Moore defended Goodwin cannot have escaped Ellesmere’s attention, and may have caused a temporary rift between the two men. If this was the case then Moore’s reassuring words to his colleagues in February 1606 regarding Ellesmere’s determination to uphold the Commons’ privileges probably signified more than merely a reconciliation between the lord chancellor and the Lower House.

The representative of a major clothing town with a personal interest in sheep farming, Moore inevitably expressed an interest in measures before the Commons connected with the cloth trade. Indeed, on 5 June 1604 he offered two provisos to the expiring laws continuance bill, of which one concerned broadcloths manufactured at Reading and elsewhere. The second proviso, which dealt with Welsh cottons, appears to have been an attempt by Moore to broker an agreement between the Shrewsbury drapers and the London alnager John Tey*, who were in dispute over the latter’s right to inspect Welsh cloth at Blackwall Hall. As a result of his intervention, Moore steered the bill through the Commons, reporting its progress to the House on three separate occasions (14 and 18 June; 4 July).51 The continuance bill may not have been the only measure on cloth in which Moore was interested, as a Mr. Moore reopened the debate on a clothing bill on 19 May 1606 after the previous day’s discussions were cut short.52

Moore represented interests in the Commons other than those of his constituents, for ever since about 1599 he had given the London Vintners’ Company legal advice.53 The day before the opening of the 1604 session he was given a gratuity of 40s. by the Vintners, who anticipated the introduction of legislation hostile to their interests. Sure enough, in mid-April a bill concerning inns, alehouses and taverns received two readings and Moore, who was named to the committee (21 Apr.), received a further 10s. for his advice. Moore may also have arranged for copies to be made of both the bill and the committee list, which cost the company 10s. 6d. in total.54 During the second session Moore continued to act for the Vintners, and was paid 20s. by them for his counsel in connection with another measure before the Commons. This may have been the bill for ensuring the timely import of wine, which received three readings, or a measure to repeal the statutory regulation of wine prices, which was read twice.55 Satisfied, the Vintners contributed a hogshead of wine towards the feast held in August 1607 to celebrate Moore’s appointment as reader.56

As a lawyer, Moore took a close interest in Sir John Parker’s* repeated attempts to enact legislation to curb the fees paid to the clerks in Chancery for legal copies, being named to consider the measure each time the bill was committed (14 Feb. and 12 May 1606; 13 Mar. 1610). He may have sympathized with its objectives, as he observed on 14 Feb. 1606 that in Star Chamber any man who submitted a bill of complaint longer than 15 sheets paid for it himself.57 Another measure in which Moore took a professional interest was the 1604 bill to explain a Henrician statute prescribing how much time was allowed to sue out writs of right and possession. Named to the committee on 11 Apr., he quickly became its chairman, as the bill and the committee list were subsequently delivered to him (14 Apr.) and he reported the committee’s proceedings on 24 Apr. and 2 May.58 At the same time as this bill was under discussion, Moore debated the merits of a measure for the better execution of justice at its third reading on 20 April.59 Four days later he reported the bill to abolish writs of error, having been named to the committee on 28 March.60

Moore’s expertise as a draftsman did not escape the House’s attention. On 18 May 1604 he was instructed to draft a bill for confirming letters patent, and on 5 Mar. 1606 he was one of 11 Members ordered to prepare a bill on recusancy.61 The vigour with which he applied himself to these tasks was sometimes astonishing. When, on the afternoon of 15 June 1604, the House resolved to revive an Act of 1571 making the lands and goods of accountants liable for the payment of their debts, Moore responded the following morning by bringing in a new bill.62 Moore was not notably concerned with Commons’ rules and procedures, seldom speaking on either subject, but on 23 Mar. 1604 he supported several colleagues who called for the return of a bill which had been handed to the king by the Speaker without the House’s knowledge.63 Moreover, when the House failed to decide quickly whether mayors were permitted to sit in the Commons, Moore twice pressed for a resolution (25 May and 25 June 1604). He advised the House to observe the ruling of 1547, whereby mayors were disabled from sitting. This suggestion was in fact the one that was adopted, although the mayor whose membership of the Commons had caused the question to be raised - Griffith Payne - was merely suspended rather than expelled. Moore himself reviewed Payne’s case before the House on 6 Mar. 1610, when it was agreed that that Payne should be readmitted.64

Moore’s personal, as distinct from professional, interest explains his involvement in three bills in 1604. The first concerned the lands of the dean and chapter of Windsor, from whom he leased a farm in Berkshire. Named to the committee on 21 Apr., he reported its deliberations three days later.65 The second dealt with Henry Jernegan, whose son John was married to Moore’s daughter, Anne. He was named to the committee on 7 June. The third bill aimed to permit the sale of lands belonging to the Warwickshire recusant, Thomas Throckmorton†, whose daughter, Eleanor, was married to Henry Jernegan.66 Moore was named to the committee on 26 May, and reported the bill on 12 June. The affairs of Moore’s Berkshire neighbour, William Essex†, were also reflected in his committee appointments. On 13 June 1607 he was named to consider the bill concerning Essex’s lands. When this measure was laid aside nine days later, he was one of four Members instructed to treat with Essex’s creditors and survey his lands in the expectation of fresh legislation in the next session. Moore subsequently spoke in favour of the new bill when it was laid before the House in 1610, and was twice named to committees to consider its contents (16 Feb. and 3 May).67

In 1604 Moore steered through the Commons several private bills in which he had no known interest. On 1 May he reported the measure to permit Martin Calthorp to provide a jointure. He was presumably chairman of the committee as both the bill and the list of the committee’s members had previously been delivered to him. 68 He also reported, on 26 May, the bill to allow Sir Thomas Rous to sell some land, though he had not been named to the committee.69 On 6 June he reported a proposed exchange of property between Sir Thomas Monson* and Trinity College, Cambridge. At the bill’s third reading the next day he spoke in its favour but failed to prevent its rejection.70 Moore also reported several private bills in the fourth session in 1610, among them a measure concerned with Sir John Wentworth of Gosfield, Essex (30 Mar.), and bills to naturalize Janikin Greensmyth and Peter Vanlore (2 April).71

Moore twice reported the Tunnage and Poundage bill - on 5 and 6 June 1604.72 He also participated in the afternoon debate of 21 Jan. 1606, in which the threat of popery was probably considered, and discussed ecclesiastical grievances on 3 May 1606; in both cases his words have gone unrecorded.73 On 20 Feb. 1606 Moore joined Anthony Dyott in asserting that Parliament was legally required to meet annually in order to provide a constant check on the rulings of the law courts. Whether Moore was thereby expressing concern for the future of parliaments is uncertain, but he and Dyott were the first Members of the Commons under James known to have drawn attention to this legal requirement.74 A Mr. Moore agreed with Christopher Brooke on 26 Feb. 1610 that the Commons should approach the Lords regarding Dr. John Cowell’s legal dictionary, the Interpreter, which suggested that the king could make laws without recourse to parliaments. This was probably Moore rather than his namesake, the Member for Winchester, for on 8 Mar. Moore expressed an opinion regarding the manner in which the House should confer with the Lords in the matter.75 It was probably also Moore who opposed the Prerogative Court bill at its second reading on 3 Apr. 1610. However, it is unclear whether the Mr. Moore who debated the preservation of woods bill at its first reading on 15 Mar. 1610 was this Member. Likewise, the Mr. Moore who brought in the fen drainage bill from committee on 8 May 1606, who opposed both the Aynstee bill (24 Mar. 1610) and a motion concerning the Arundell of Trerice bill (26 Mar. 1610) at their first readings, may have been either man.76 The same is true of the Mr. Moore named to consider the bill for the proper application of poor relief on 4 May 1604, although it was certainly Moore who was required to examine the same, or a similar, bill four days later. This latter measure proceeded to third reading on 14 June, when opposition mounted by Moore, among others, caused it to be dashed.77

Following the dissolution Moore may have been approached by his Berkshire neighbour, Sir Henry Neville I*, about the latter’s plan, never adopted, to manage a fresh Parliament for the king. The two men were certainly well acquainted, as Moore had represented Neville in a lawsuit against the latter’s step-mother in 1594, and in March 1615 Neville would appoint Moore a trustee of his estates.78 When a new Parliament was summoned in 1614, Moore was re-elected for Reading. At first it must have seemed likely that he would enjoy an enhanced role, as he was now one of the Commons’ most experienced Members. Indeed, he chaired the first meeting of the committee for privileges, reporting its deliberations on 9 April. However, he contributed nothing to the debate on impositions, while the proceedings of the privileges’committee were subsequently reported by Fuller.79

Moore nevertheless contributed to many of the debates in 1614. When the attorney-general’s right to sit in the Commons came under question, Moore argued that the precedents should first be examined (8 April). Four days later, after Sir Ralph Winwood called for an immediate vote of subsidies, Moore declared that supply and grievances should ‘go hand in hand’, as was customary. At the same time, and in reply to Francis Ashley, who complained that his speech of the previous day had been misrepresented to James, Moore suggested that anyone guilty of misreporting should be ‘noted and his endeavours neglected’. He added, in answer to Sir George More, that there was no need to deny that there was a general undertaking as the king had already discounted the existence of any such arrangement in his address to both Houses.80 The next day, 13 Apr., Moore defended the wording of the Palatine marriage bill from the criticisms of Fuller and Hoskins, and on the 14th he was appointed to attend the joint conference to discuss the measure.81 Following the first reading of a bill for the repair of the highways (15 Apr.), Moore suggested that two bills submitted to the last Parliament on the same subject should be perused at the committee stage rather than formally reintroduced as Sir John Sammes proposed. Later that morning, he echoed Fuller’s objections to a bill to eliminate plasterers’ frauds.82

On 19 Apr. Moore was appointed to help draft a bill over the Easter recess for regulating parliamentary elections. Surprisingly, he took no recorded part in the following day’s debate on the French Company’s charter, despite the fact that the patent, which must have aroused his hostility as a monopoly, alarmed his former clients, the London Vintners. After the recess, however, he vented his anti-monopolistic feelings in a long speech on the glass patent (4 May), in which he declared that it was typical for monopolists to pretend that their patent was for the public good even though they were primarily concerned with ‘private gain’. Monopolies were illegal, as the 1610 judgment condemning the closed shop operated by the College of Physicians plainly indicated.83 Two days later Moore spoke on a bill concerning the ownership of private property challenged by the king, which he desired to be committed.84 On 9 May he was named to the committee for a bill to confirm a Chancery decree regarding Henry Jernegan, his kinsman by marriage, and the next day he participated in the debate concerning the punishment of his Berkshire neighbour, the chancellor of the duchy, Sir Thomas Parry, who was guilty of electoral abuse. Many Members called for Parry to be dealt with severely, while Sammes, taking advantage of the chancellor’s discomfiture, advocated not only the abolition of the Duchy Court but all of the equity courts except the Exchequer. Moore opposed this suggestion as it threatened his own interests, and while he admitted that Parry’s conduct was indefensible he moved that the latter’s age and length of service to the Crown be considered.85 For the remainder of the Parliament Moore kept a low profile, surfacing again only on 24 May, when he reported the proceedings of the committee for the bill for expiring statutes and was named to a bill committee regarding fraudulent fish-packing.86

Following the dissolution Moore was created a serjeant-at-law, and by 1616 he was a member of Anne of Denmark’s team of standing counsel. Unlike most lawyers, who pleaded before several courts, Moore practised almost exclusively in Chancery. In 1616 he became embroiled in a dispute over the jurisdiction of this court when an aggrieved litigant accused him and one of the masters in Chancery of praemunire. An indictment accusing him of this offence was even drawn up by the lord chief justice of King’s Bench, Sir Edward Coke*.87 The true target of both the suit and Coke’s indictment, however, was the lord chancellor, whose confidence in Moore remained undiminished. Indeed, when, at the beginning of 1617, a judgeship of one of the Welsh circuits fell vacant, Ellesmere attempted to bestow the position on Moore, only to be thwarted by the rising royal favourite, George Villiers, earl of Buckingham, who conferred it instead on Sir Walter Pye I*.88 If Moore expected to be offered alternative advancement his hopes were to be cruelly dashed, for on 15 Mar. Ellesmere died. Two days later Moore was knighted, but the new lord keeper, Sir Francis Bacon*, showed little interest in him.

In 1618 Moore was convicted by the Court of Chivalry of misappropriating the coat armour of the Moores of Bicester, in Oxfordshire, which properly belonged to Sir Richard Blount. However, it was also ruled that the records showed that Moore was entitled to use the arms of the Moores of Burfield, in Berkshire, a finding which sits uncomfortably with Moore’s known origins.89 Following the fall of Bacon in May 1621, Moore, perhaps hopeful that the obstacle to his advancement had now been removed, drew up a list of advice for the new lord keeper, Bishop Williams.90 Shortly thereafter, however, he fell sick, in which condition, on 6 June, he drew up his will. He ordered that some small parcels of land in Essex and Hampshire were to be bestowed upon his sons and instructed that dowries of £1,500 each were to be provided for his two unmarried daughters. The poor of Newbury, the Berkshire town of which he had recently become steward, were bequeathed £5, as were those of Wantage.91

Moore died on 21 Sept. following, and was buried at South Fawley, being succeeded by his second but first surviving son, Henry, who purchased a baronetcy in 1627. His law reports were collected and published in 1663 by his son-in-law, Sir Geoffrey Palmer†. An engraving of Moore, probably based on an earlier portrait, forms the frontispiece. None of his descendants sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Ath. Ox. ii. 304; Al. Ox.; Reg. Univ. Oxf. ed. A. Clark, ii. pt. 1, p. 237; MTR, 235, 297.
  • 2. Feet of Fines for Essex vi.: 1581-1603 ed. F.G. Emmison, 88; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 246; MTR, 482-3; PROB 11/138, f. 279; H.W. Woolrych, Eminent Sjts.-at-Law, i. 230.
  • 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 161; C142/392/111.
  • 4. Household Pprs. of Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland ed. G.R. Batho (Cam. Soc. ser. 3. xciii), 48, 74, 90.
  • 5. MTR, 371, 441, 478, 487.
  • 6. LMA, ACC/1876/G/02/01, p. 33.
  • 7. Order of Sjts.-at-Law ed. J.H. Baker (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. v), 526.
  • 8. State Trials ed. T.B. Howell, ii. 952.
  • 9. Hatfield House, ms 278; C231/4, f. 6.
  • 10. C181/1, f. 29; 181/3, f. 31.
  • 11. Lansd. 168, f. 152.
  • 12. C93/3/13, 17; 93/4/11, 19; 93/5/4; 93/7/1, 12.
  • 13. SP14/31/1; E115/343/18.
  • 14. E179/283.
  • 15. Oxford DNB, xxxviii. 927.
  • 16. G.S. Davies, Charterhouse in London, 352; LMA, Acc/1876/G/02/01, p. 150.
  • 17. Harl. 781, ff. 44, 46v.
  • 18. J.H. Baker, Legal Recs. and the Historian, 25.
  • 19. Berks. RO, D/A1/9/43a-b; Enclosure in Berks. 1485-1885 ed. R. Wordie (Berks. Rec. Soc. v), 91.
  • 20. W.R. Prest, Rise of the Barristers, 62, n. 21.
  • 21. For this man, who d. 8 Apr. 1618, see Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xc), 49; WARD 9/158, ff. 16v-17.
  • 22. D. Dean, Law-Making and Soc. in Late Elizabethan Eng. 122.
  • 23. VCH Berks. iv. 25; P. Croft, ‘Catholic Gentry, the Earl of Salisbury and the Bts. of 1611’, in Conformity and Orthodoxy in the English Church ed. P. Lake and M. Questier, 277; MTR, 247; G. de C. Parmiter, ‘Plowden, Englefield and Sandford’, Recusant Hist. xiii. 17; PROB 11/138, f. 279.
  • 24. For information regarding Hungerford not contained in his entry in HP Commons, 1558-1603, see SIR NICHOLAS TUFTON, and G. Jones, Law of Charity, 242.
  • 25. G. Goodman, Ct. of Jas. I, i. 104; CCC, 1653.
  • 26. Feet of Fines vi. 88.
  • 27. Prest, 166; Oxford DNB, xxxviii. 927; VCH Berks. iv. 174-6, 249, 309; C78/176/9.
  • 28. VCH Berks. iv. 25.
  • 29. MTR, 325, 350-1. The suggestion that Moore owed his seat at Reading to the Knollys family is unfounded: HP Commons 1558-1603, iii. 72.
  • 30. MTR, 441; W.R. Prest, Inns of Ct. and Chancery, 63.
  • 31. Jones, 240; Prest, Barristers, 58.
  • 32. C33/112, ff. 83, 102, 124v, 138v.
  • 33. CJ, i. 350a, 373a.
  • 34. Ibid. 950a.
  • 35. Ibid. 277b; Bowyer Diary, 59. See also HMC Hatfield, xvi. 79, misdated Apr. 1604.
  • 36. CJ, i. 177b-8a. The account of this speech here is extensive, but in another version of the Journal most of it is attributed, probably correctly, to Sir Edwin Sandys: ibid. 950b-1a. Moore also spoke on the Union on 18 Apr., but the gist of his speech is unknown: ibid. 176b.
  • 37. Ibid. 172a, 222b, 1006a, 1014b, 329b, 336b. The other two speakers were Thomas Wentworth and Francis Bacon.
  • 38. Ibid. 350a; Bowyer Diary, 224, 227.
  • 39. He was required to attend both this conference and another on the same subject on 25 May: CJ, i. 154a, 222b.
  • 40. Ibid. 295b, 403b. His speech on impositions went unrecorded.
  • 41. Ibid. 183b, 983a, 292b, 412a.
  • 42. P. Croft, ‘Free Trade and the House of Commons, 1605-6’, EcHR, xxviii. 26-7.
  • 43. CJ, i. 301b; ‘Censure’, 67.
  • 44. Ibid. 149b.
  • 45. Ibid. 175b, 179a, 195a, 668b, 972a, 973b.
  • 46. Ibid. 167b, 198b, 968a, 212b. The other Member was Sir Edward Hoby.
  • 47. Ibid. 269a.
  • 48. Ibid. 934b; CD 1604-7, p. 44.
  • 49. CD 1604-7, p. 37. The House, however, continued to deny that Goodwin was outlawed: CJ, i. 164a-b. For the issue of whether outlaws were permitted to sit, see SURVEY.
  • 50. CJ, i. 156b, 161a, 162b.
  • 51. Ibid. 986a, 987a, 239a, 241b, 252a. For the background to the proviso regarding Welsh cottons, see SHREWSBURY.
  • 52. Ibid. 310b.
  • 53. GL, ms 15333/2, pp. 279-80, 298, 320, 338.
  • 54. Ibid. 359-60. For a more detailed discussion of the Vintners’ lobbying, see LONDON.
  • 55. GL, ms 15333/2, p. 409. For the 1st bill, see CJ, i. 272a, 279a, 287b, 291b; for the 2nd, see ibid. 292b, 295a, 303a.
  • 56. Jones, 242; GL, ms 15333/2, p. 430.
  • 57. CJ, i. 268b, 373a, 410a.
  • 58. Ibid. 167a, 943b, 947a, 183b, 196b. The bill was enacted: SR, iii. 747-8.
  • 59. CJ, i. 179a. His words went unrecorded.
  • 60. Ibid. 156b-7, 183b.
  • 61. Ibid. 213b, 277b.
  • 62. Ibid. 240a, 241a.
  • 63. Ibid. 978b.
  • 64. Ibid. 226a, 245a, 406b.
  • 65. Ibid. 181b, 183b; PROB 11/138, f. 279.
  • 66. CJ, i. 227a, 233b, 237a; CB sub Jernegan.
  • 67. CJ, i. 382b, 386b, 394b, 406b, 424b.
  • 68. Ibid. 187a, 961b, 193b.
  • 69. Ibid. 225b, 227a.
  • 70. Ibid. 226b, 233a, 988a.
  • 71. Ibid. 410a, 417b.
  • 72. Ibid. 232b, 233b, 987b.
  • 73. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, i. 46; CJ, i. 304b.
  • 74. CJ, i. 271a. Cf. P. Croft, ‘The Debate on Annual Parliaments in the Early 17th Century’, PER, xvi. 169.
  • 75. CJ, i. 400b, 407b.
  • 76. Ibid. 306b, 412a, 414a-b.
  • 77. Ibid. 198b, 202b, 992a.
  • 78. C3/246/6; Berks. RO, D/EN F/6/1/18.
  • 79. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 33, 37-9.
  • 80. Ibid. 32-3, 66.
  • 81. Ibid. 77, 82.
  • 82. Ibid. 84-5.
  • 83. Ibid. 106, 134-5, 137.
  • 84. Ibid. 162, 166.
  • 85. Ibid. 175, 188.
  • 86. Ibid. 331-2, 335.
  • 87. Prest, 70; J.H. Baker, Legal Profession and the Common Law, 213, 217; Lansd. 174, ff. 205-15; Holles Letters ed. P.R. Seddon (Thoroton Soc. xxxi), 117; SIR EDWARD COKE.
  • 88. Liber Famelicus of Sir J. Whitelocke ed. J. Bruce (Cam. Soc. lxx), 54.
  • 89. Reps. of Heraldic Cases in the Ct. of Chivalry 1623-1732 ed. G.D. Squibb (Harl. Soc. cvii), 3.
  • 90. J.H. Baker and J.S. Ringrose, A Cat. of English Legal Mss in the CUL, 272.
  • 91. PROB 11/138, f. 279.