MORLEY, Sir John (1572-1622), of Halnaker, Boxgrove, Suss. and Aldersgate, 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



5 Apr. 1610

Family and Education

b. 20 July 1572,1 1st s. of John Morley† of Aldersgate and Elizabeth, da. of Edward Wotton, fell. Royal Coll. of Physicians, of Wood Street; bro. of Edward*. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1586; I. Temple 1588. m. c.1594, his step-sister Cecily, da. of Sir Edward Caryll of Harting, Suss. 1s. 2da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1587; 2 kntd. 23 July 1603.3 d. 21 Dec. 1622.4

Offices Held

Commr. inquiry into goods and chattels of George Peckham, London 1602, sewers, Suss. 1604-17,5 j.p. 1605-d.6

Chirographer of c.p. 1614-d.7


Morley’s father, of Suffolk origin, prospered as an Elizabethan official and sat in two parliaments. He purchased an extensive estate in West Sussex, including Halnaker, which had been described by Edward VI, when it was part of the Crown estates in the mid-sixteenth century, as ‘a pretty house beside Chichester’.8 After the death of Morley’s father in 1587 his mother married Edward Caryll, described in that year as the imprisoned Philip Howard, earl of Arundel’s ‘steward and doer’ in Sussex.9 The following year Caryll secured Morley’s special admission to the Inner Temple and Morley subsequently married one of Caryll’s daughters by his first marriage. In 1601 he was returned at New Shoreham, but there is no evidence that he sought re-election in 1604. The following year Caryll appointed Morley as one of the trustees of his estate along with Arundel’s younger brother, Lord William Howard.10 In 1609 Morley obtained a reversion of the clerkship of Star Chamber for his son (Sir) William* in conjunction with his neighbour (Sir) Humphrey May* and May’s brother-in-law, (Sir) William Uvedale*.11

Morley was returned at a by-election at Chichester on 5 Apr. 1610 following the death of George Blincowe, taking his seat 11 days later.12 He was appointed to three committees in the remaining three months of the fourth session of the Parliament, for bills to prevent hawking in the summer (17 Apr.), suppress idleness (19 Apr.), and discourage wives from leaving their husbands (8 May).13

By July 1610 Morley had become involved in the tangled affairs of Thomas Phillips†, (Sir) Francis Walsingham’s† code breaker, from whose trustee he secured a conveyance of the Yorkshire manor of Kirkby Misperton, apparently in partnership with the rising Inner Temple lawyer Robert Heath*.14 His own estates came under threat early in 1612, when a warrant was issued to grant the 1st earl of Montgomery (Sir Philip Herbert*) the benefit of the recusancy of Morley and 14 others. However, there is no evidence that any of them had as yet been convicted, and it is likely that, like others of this nature, the grant was conditional on Montgomery and his agents securing successful prosecutions. Morley’s continued appointment to local office suggests that he was never convicted of recusancy, unlike members of the Caryll family, three of whom also figure on Montgomery’s list. No further action seems to have been taken over the grant.15

Re-elected in 1614, Morley only appears once in the surviving parliamentary records, when he was named to attend the conference with the Lords of 14 Apr. on the Palatine marriage settlement.16 In the same year he became chirographer to the Court of Common Pleas, the officer responsible for engrossing fines, though in reality he was merely the trustee of Sir John Crompton*. In 1616 he married his daughter to Sir Thomas Puckering*, with a reputed portion of £5,000.17

In 1620 Morley was re-elected at New Shoreham, possibly thanks to the patronage of Philip, earl of Arundel’s son Thomas, who had regained possession of the borough, which had formerly belonged to his grandfather. However, Morley left no trace on the records of the third Jacobean Parliament. Having drawn up his will on 10 June 1620, he added two codicils, the first on 19 Dec. 1622 and the second on 21 Dec., the same day as he died, which included a bequest of £10 to the poor of Chichester. As he had requested, May and Thomas Bowyer* purchased the wardship of his son, although they had to pay £1,500 for the privilege, a sum which presumably reflects the size of the estate.18

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Abstracts of Inquisitiones Post Mortem Relating to the City of London ed. G.S. Fry (Index Lib. xxxvi), 110-11.
  • 2. Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 140; (lxxxix), 77; Al. Ox.; I. Temple database of admiss.; Goodwood Estate Archives ed. F.W. Steer and J.E.A. Venables, i. 45; Add. 5699, f. 154v.
  • 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 119.
  • 4. C142/399/156.
  • 5. C181/1, ff. 34, 81; 181/2, ff. 134, 292v.
  • 6. Cal. Assize Recs. Suss. Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 12; C193/13/1.
  • 7. C2/Jas.I/T9/74.
  • 8. VCH Suss. iv. 101, 143, 238; J.L. Andre, ‘Halnaker House’, Suss. Arch. Colls. xliii. 212.
  • 9. H. Ellis, ‘Certificate concerning Justices of the Peace in 1587’, Suss. Arch. Colls. ii. 60.
  • 10. PROB 11/115, f. 407v.
  • 11. C66/1809, m. 14.
  • 12. CJ, i. 418a.
  • 13. Ibid. 418a, 419a, 426a.
  • 14. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 543; Add. 1580-1625, p. 630; VCH N. Riding, ii. 445.
  • 15. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 120; Churchwardens’ Presentments ed. H. Johnstone (Suss. Rec. Soc. xlix), 116. For an example of a grant that was explicitly conditional on the grantee securing prosecutions SP14/53/28.
  • 16. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 82.
  • 17. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 15.
  • 18. PROB 11/140, ff. 423-4; WARD 9/162, f. 420.