MOUTLOWE, Henry (c.1555-1634), of Gresham College, London and St. Mary-the-Great, Cambridge, Cambs.

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.1555, 2nd s. of John Moutlowe (d.1604), mercer, of Winchcombe, Glos. and Joan, da. of Arthur Sandford of Stowe, Glos. educ. Eton c.1567; King’s, Camb. 1571, aged 16, BA 1576, MA 1579, fell. 1574-95, LLD c.1594. m. 10 Nov. 1607, Margaret (bur. 17 Mar. 1631), da. of one Bosom, wid. of Richard Love (d.1605) of Great St. Mary’s, Cambridge, apothecary, 2da. (?1 d.v.p.) bur. 17 Oct. 1634.1 sig. Henrie Mowtlowe.

Offices Held

Scrutator, Camb. Univ. 1585, snr. proctor 1589, 1594, public orator 1589-94.2

Member, Coll. of Advocates 1596, 1607 (full admiss.);3 advocate, Ct. of Arches 1596;4 prof. of Civil Law, Gresham College 1596-1607.5

Auditor (jt.), Great St. Mary’s, Cambridge 1611-13, 1615, 1618-20, 1624, 1626-30, assessor of church rate assessors (jt.) 1612, 1623, Easter bk. assessors (jt.) 1620, 1631.6

Official to the archdeacon of London, 1625-at least 1627.7


Described by one of his earliest biographers as a ‘good scholar and not a contemptible Latin poet’,8 Moutlowe was a dedicated academic who became the first ever professor of law at Gresham College, London. The younger son of a Gloucestershire mercer, he was educated at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, where he received a scholarship in 1571. He remained at King’s for the next 24 years, acquiring a fellowship in 1574 and a doctorate two decades later. In the interim he also occupied a variety of university offices, including that of public orator, a post previously held by Anthony Wingfield II†. His long service to his college was acknowledged in August 1594, when its fellows voted to lease him a property in Norfolk.9

Soon after retiring from King’s, Moutlowe obtained the law chair at the newly established Gresham College, for which, as a bachelor, he was eligible, despite competition from three other candidates, including the future judge of the High Court of Admiralty, (Sir) Henry Marten*.10 The appointment came with accommodation comprising three chambers and an office11 and an annual salary of £50, payable by the Mercers’ Company,12 whose governing body may have favoured Moutlowe over the other candidates because of his father’s profession. Moutlowe’s early experience of Gresham College was, however, an unhappy one. The new foundation was wracked by disputes between the college’s trustees and its lecturers over the details of the proposed ordinances for the college. In March 1599 Moutlowe and three other professors had their stipends stopped. The trustees relented eight months later,13 but by then Moutlowe was already seeking to return to Cambridge. Towards the end of the year he applied for the headship of Clare College, which had recently fallen vacant, but despite a recommendation from the queen he was passed over, Clare’s fellows explaining that he was ineligible under the college statutes as he was not a divine.14

Moutlowe was elected to Parliament for the newly enfranchised Cambridge University in March 1604. His connection with the university at that time seems to have been purely informal, for although in November 1607 he was described as being of Trinity Hall he was not one of its fellows.15 Moutlowe made his most notable contribution to the business of the first Jacobean assembly in July 1610, when several Members angrily demanded that the traditional exemption from the subsidy enjoyed by the universities should be abandoned because Leonard Mawe, a fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, had publicly disparaged the Parliament. Moutlowe twice defended Mawe, on the second occasion (23 July) announcing that Mawe was ready to apologize to Parliament in person, despite having already been punished by Cambridge’s vice-chancellor.16 He made only one other recorded speech, on 5 June 1604, when he and his fellow Member for Cambridge University, Nicholas Steward, participated in the third reading debate on the alehouse bill.17 He seems not to have defended publicly his close friend, John Cowell, professor of civil law at Cambridge, when the latter’s book, the Interpreter, was attacked in the Commons in February 1610 for its observations on the powers enjoyed by the king.18

Moutlowe was named to only a handful of committees, a fact which has fairly been interpreted as a reflection of his limited experience of public affairs.19 However, he was also entitled, as a Member for Cambridge University, to attend more committees than those to which he was personally appointed, such as the one to consider a fen drainage bill (12 May 1604), a measure of direct concern to his constituents as it affected Cambridgeshire.20 A professional interest presumably underlay Moutlowe’s membership of the committee for the bill to prevent the execution of canons not confirmed by Parliament (11 Dec. 1606), and may illuminate his place on the bill committee regarding infant marriages, to which he was added on 7 June 1604.21 His link with the Mercers’ Company presumably explains his inclusion on the bill committee to consider the London livery companies’ title to their lands (4 May 1607). It is not known why he was named to the committee for the West country fisheries’ bill (5 June 1604). Moutlowe was nominated to attend only one joint conference with the Lords, on 14 Apr. 1604, when he was required to hear the king declare his wishes in respect of the Union.22

Moutlowe was not a wealthy individual. Indeed, his annual college salary was relatively modest, he had few sources of outside employment, and his inheritance, amounting to £100 in cash and the right to collect a debt of £120, was scarcely a king’s ransom.23 Not surprisingly, therefore, he was the only Member for Cambridge University who claimed wages during this period, which were payable at the rate of 5s. per day. However, he encountered difficulty in receiving his full allowance. Payments amounting to £50 were made to him up to 1606, but he was obliged to wait until 1614 before receiving the final instalment of £60.24 Even then, half the outstanding balance was indirectly provided by his friend Dr. Cowell who, on his death in 1611, bequeathed £30 to the university ‘towards the discharge of Doctor Moutlowe’s debt as he was burgess of the Parliament, and to none other use’.25 Moutlowe’s slender financial resources may have been one of the considerations which led him to resign his chair in May 1607 and to marry, six months later, Margaret Love, the widow of his friend Richard Love, a well-heeled Cambridge apothecary. Margaret brought to the marriage a life interest in several tenements in the parish of St. Mary-the-Great, as well as her first husband’s house, which adjoined the church and marketplace and faced Moutlowe’s beloved King’s.26

Moutlowe served as ‘moderator of the law act’ when the king visited Cambridge in 1615, and contributed a Latin verse to a collection published by the university to celebrate the succession of Charles I.27 In 1625 he was also appointed official to the archdeacon of London, Thomas Paske. The latter, a graduate of Clare College, later explained that he had bestowed the position on Moutlowe ‘for no other end or benefit than the expression of a grateful mind to my ancient friend and liberal benefactor’ in the hope that it would ‘comfort him in his old age and declining estate’.28 Moutlowe subsequently discharged the duties of his office through deputies, one of whom was Thomas Eden II*.29 In June 1626 Moutlowe voted for the duke of Buckingham in the election for the chancellorship of Cambridge University.30 He contributed to a university collection of Latin verse published to celebrate the king’s safe return from Scotland in June 1633.31 He died, without direct male heir, in October 1634, and was buried in Great St. Mary’s, his fellow parishioners contributing 13s. 4d. to the cost of his funeral.32 In his will of 27 Mar. 1631 he bequeathed £50 to a granddaughter. His wife having predeceased him, he left the residue of his estate to his stepson and executor Dr. Richard Love, a royal chaplain and, from April 1632, master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.33 Moutlowe had earlier helped to oversee Love’s education, a debt acknowledged in about 1632 when Love married his half-sister, Grace Moutlowe.34

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 221 (surname given as ‘Mucklow’); Eton Coll. Reg. comp. W. Sterry; J. Ward, Lives of the Professors of Gresham Coll. (1740), p. 237; Al. Cant.; Cambs. Par. Regs.: Marriages VIII ed. E. Young (Phillimore Par. Reg. ser. ccxxxiii), 6, 9; CUL, UA, VC Prob III/209; DNB, ‘Richard Love, D.D.’; Cambs. RO, P30/1/1 (burial of ‘Mrs. Moulton’).
  • 2. Al. Cant.; Ward, 237.
  • 3. B.P. Levack, Civil Lawyers in Eng. 257.
  • 4. LPL, Abp. Whitgift’s reg. ii. (IHR microfilm), f. 146v.
  • 5. Ward, 237.
  • 6. Churchwarden’s Accts. of St. Mary the Great, Camb. ed. J.E. Foster (Camb. Antiq. Soc. xxxv), 316, 320, 326, 329, 334, 345, 353-4, 361, 384, 391, 402, 409, 416, 423, 429, 433.
  • 7. SP16/74/55; GL, ms 25630/7, f. 84. We are grateful for this last ref. to Ken Fincham.
  • 8. C. Coote, Sketches of the Lives and Characters of Eminent English Civilians, 69.
  • 9. HMC Hatfield, iv. 597.
  • 10. I. Adamson, ‘Foundation and Early Hist. of Gresham Coll.’ (Camb. Univ. Ph.D. 1975), p. 181.
  • 11. Mercers’ Hall, London, Gresham Repertories, 1596-1625, p. 2.
  • 12. I. Doolittle, Mercers’ Co. 1579-1959, p. 32.
  • 13. Mercers’ Hall, London, Gresham Repertories, 1596-1625, pp. 99, 103, 107-8, 124; Doolittle, 37-8.
  • 14. HMC Hatfield, ix. 421, xiv. 113.
  • 15. CUL, EDR G/2/20, f. 187; St. John’s Coll., Cambs. ms 437, Shelf S.48.
  • 16. CJ, i. 449b, 453b. For Mawe, see Oxf. DNB, xxxvii. 477.
  • 17. CJ, i. 233a.
  • 18. For Moutlowe’s friendship with Cowell, see HMC Hatfield, iv. 611; PROB 11/118, f. 87r-v.
  • 19. M.B. Rex, Univ. Representation in Eng. 1604-90, p. 44.
  • 20. CJ, i. 207b.
  • 21. Ibid. 234a, 329b.
  • 22. Ibid. 172a, 232a-b, 368b.
  • 23. PROB 11/104, f. 365r-v; Rex, 88.
  • 24. Harl. 7046, ff. 76v-7v.
  • 25. PROB 11/118, f. 87v.
  • 26. PROB 11/106, f. 182r-v; St. Mary the Great, 431.
  • 27. Ward, 238.
  • 28. SP16/74/55.
  • 29. GL, ms 9051/7, ff. 39, 52v.
  • 30. C.H. Cooper, Annals of Camb. iii. 186.
  • 31. Ward, 238.
  • 32. St. Mary the Gt. 471.
  • 33. CUL, VC PROB III/209.
  • 34. PROB 11/106, f. 183v; DNB, ‘Richard Love, D.D.’