MORLEY, Robert (c.1577-1632), of Glynde Place, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1577,1 3rd s. of William Morley† (d.1597) of Glynde Place, being 1st s. with his 2nd w. Margaret, da. of William Robarts of Warbleton, Suss.; half-bro. of Herbert Morley†. m. (settlement 15 May 1614) Susan (d. 19 Apr. 1667), da. and h. of Thomas Hodgson, gunfounder, of Framfield, Suss. 2s. 4da. suc. half-bro. 1610.2 d. 22 Oct. 1632.3 sig. Robert Morley.

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Suss. 1617-d.;4 j.p. 1620-d.;5 commr. subsidy 1621-2, 1624,6 Forced Loan 1627,7 martial law 1627,8 oyer and terminer 1627;9 sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 1631-d.10


The Morleys of Glynde were of different stock from the Halnaker family and consequently this Member was not related to Sir John Morley, who represented New Shoreham in 1621. Morley was instead descended from Nicholas Morley†, reputedly of Lancashire origins, who by 1430 had married the heiress to considerable property in Sussex, including the manor of Glynde near Lewes, and Hertfordshire. Nicholas Morley represented Hertfordshire four times and also several Sussex boroughs, including Bramber and New Shoreham. Morley’s father was a Marian exile; on returning to England he represented Lewes in 1571 and consolidated the Sussex estate from the proceeds of the sale of the Hertfordshire properties. The family owned a forge in Mayfield in the Weald, but do not seem to have worked it themselves.11

On the death of Morley’s father in 1597 the estate passed to his elder half-brother Herbert, who had represented New Shoreham in 1593. Herbert had no sons of his own and, despite having a surviving full brother, bequeathed Glynde to Morley on his death in 1610, on condition that he raise £6,000 to provide portions for his two daughters. Consequently, Morley mortgaged the estate to their prospective husbands, Sir Humphrey† and Richard Tufton*.12

Morley was returned for Bramber in December 1620, perhaps with the assistance of Sir John Shurley, who had represented the borough in 1604 and whose grandmother’s second husband had been Morley’s uncle.13 He was appointed to only two committees in the third Jacobean Parliament, to consider bills to prohibit imports of corn (8 Mar.) and to preserve fish fry (24 April).14 Early in 1622 he was summoned before the Privy Council to account for his failure to contribute to the Palatinate Benevolence, and paid £13 6s. 8d. on 29 April.15 Re-elected at Bramber in 1624, he was again named to only two committees, for the continuance and repeal of expiring statutes (13 Mar.), and to examine abuses in the Fleet prison (17 April).16 There is no evidence that he sought re-election to the first two parliaments of Charles I, but in 1628 he was returned for New Shoreham. He probably owed his election to his connections with two influential local gentlemen, Edward Alford*, Herbert Morley’s former brother-in-law, and Anthony Stapley*, with whom he was also connected by marriage.17 On 21 June he was among those ordered to consider ‘what course fittest to be taken about the bill of Tunnage and Poundage’, but he left no other trace on the records of the Parliament.18

Morley seems to have at first been reluctant to pay the knighthood composition, and was returned by the commissioners as having failed to appear.19 His unwillingness to attend the commissioners probably stemmed from his very high assessment, which stood at £150; nevertheless he paid up in May 1631.20 He was pricked as sheriff in the same year, possibly also as punishment for opposing the levy, but died towards the end of his term in office, and was buried at Glynde on 26 Oct. 1632. In accordance with his will, dated 17 Oct., the wardship of his elder son, Harbert, was granted at a fine of £800 to his puritan friends Anthony Stapley and (Sir) Thomas Pelham*. Under their tutelage, Harbert Morley grew up to be an active and distinguished parliamentarian, sitting for Lewes in the Short and Long Parliaments and for Sussex under the Protectorate.21

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. STAC 8/223/2.
  • 2. Suss. Gens.: Lewes Cent. comp. J. Comber, 191-3; Notes of Post Mortem Inquisitions taken in Suss. ed. E.W.T. Attree (Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv), 166; Glynde Place Archives ed. R.F. Dell, 38.
  • 3. C142/488/92.
  • 4. C181/2, f. 292, 181/4, f. 74.
  • 5. C231/4, f. 99; SP16/212.
  • 6. SP14/122/89; C212/22/21, 23.
  • 7. C193/12/2, f. 59v.
  • 8. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 461.
  • 9. C181/3, f. 236.
  • 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 138.
  • 11. Glynde Place Archives, pp. xii-xviii, 90; OR; HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 103; VCH Herts. iii. 192; iv. 22; E. Straker, Wealden Iron, 294.
  • 12. Glynde Place Archives, pp. xvii, 28-29, 38; HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 102.
  • 13. Suss. Gens.: Lewes Cent. 191-3, 252-4.
  • 14. CJ, i. 545a, 588b.
  • 15. SP14/127/79; 14/156/15.
  • 16. CJ, i. 736b, 769b.
  • 17. Suss. Gens.: Lewes Cent. 191-2.
  • 18. CD 1628, iv. 289.
  • 19. ‘Compositions for knighthood’ ed. H. Ellis, Suss. Arch. Colls. xvi. 48.
  • 20. E401/2450, unfol.
  • 21. Par. Reg. of Glynde ed. L.F. Salzman (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxx), 22; PROB 11/162, f. 360; WARD 9/163, f. 44v; Oxford DNB sub Morley, Harbert.