MUSGRAVE, Sir Richard (1582-1615), of Hartley Castle, Westmld. and Eden Hall, Cumb.

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. 17 July 1582,1 o.s. of Christopher Musgrave† (d.1585) of Hartley Castle and Joan, da. of (Sir) Henry Curwen† of Workington, Cumb.2 educ. privately; Caius, Camb. 1598; G. Inn 1601.3 m. 1 Jan. 1597,4 Frances, da. of Philip Wharton, 3rd Bar. Wharton, 1s. 1da.5 suc. grandfa. Sir Simon Musgrave† 1597;6 KB 25 July 1603; cr. bt. 29 June 1611.7 d. 6 Nov. 1615.8

Offices Held

J.p. Cumb. by 1604-at least 1614, Westmld. by 1608-at least 1614;9 commr. subsidy, Cumb. and Westmld. 1608.10


Musgrave was head of a family that had held property in Westmorland since the time of Henry II, and regularly represented the county from 1340.11 He must be distinguished from his uncle, Sir Richard Musgrave of Norton Conyers, Yorkshire, master of the Ordnance in the North between 1591 and 1617.12 At the age of 15, Musgrave inherited the debts of his grandfather, including sums owed to the Exchequer, which he was still paying off as late as 1608.13 Not to be outdone by his uncle, who was knighted by James I as he travelled south through Yorkshire to claim the throne in 1603,14 Musgrave received the order of the Bath at the coronation. He was returned for Westmorland in the following year, but played little part in the first Stuart Parliament. ‘Licensed to depart into his own country’ on 11 May 1604, he probably did not return for the rest of the first session.15 In May 1605 Musgrave was one of the first Westmorland landlords to challenge the tradition of ‘tenant-right’, whereby minimal rents were charged in the expectation that the tenants could be called upon for military service in defence of the border, a custom finally rendered obsolete by the union of the crowns. He sued his tenants in Chancery for the equivalent of 12 years’ rent, thereby overthrowing tenant-right, on the grounds that they had been ‘eased, and in a manner wholly discharged of their services with horse and armour on the borders’.16

In the immediate aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot it became known that Musgrave had caused ‘a great number of windows to be set up in his house containing sundry arms, where he placed for the first coat the arms of England, the second the arms of Scotland, the third of Edward the Confessor, and the fourth his own’; and for this presumption, together with the suspicion that he was a Catholic, he was summoned to explain himself to the Privy Council.17 He probably remained in London over Christmas, but when the second session resumed, the Commons again granted him leave of absence on 31 Jan. 1606 ‘by reason of some extremity of sickness wherein the lady his wife now lieth, and some other occasions nearly concerning him’.18 A week later, Lord Chancellor Ellesmere (Thomas Egerton†) ruled, in a suit brought by Musgrave’s tenants in Crosby Garrett manor, that Musgrave was allowed to charge up to nine years’ rent for entry fines on condition that this did not set a precedent.19

On 13 Jan. 1607 the deputy receiver for Cumberland and Westmorland was robbed of £200 while on his way from Penrith to Kendal by two of Musgrave’s gentlemen-servants and his cousin, Thomas Musgrave of Norton. Investigations revealed that the robbery had been planned at Eden Hall by Musgrave’s youngest uncle, John Musgrave of Catterlen, who was duly hanged.20 The prestige of the family can scarcely have been enhanced by this episode, and it was only at the cost of a suit in Star Chamber that Musgrave was able to save Catterlen for John’s widow and her children after the reversion was granted to the courtier John Murray*.21 When Parliament reconvened in 1610, Musgrave was named to bill committees for game preservation (22 Mar. 1610) and bastardy (16 May). He was also required to attend the king over the Whitsun recess (28 May) about five petitions concerning recusancy and other anti-Catholic measures.22 He played no known part in the poorly recorded fifth session.

To affirm his loyalty to James, Musgrave bought the title of baronet in 1611. In 1614 he applied for a pass ‘to travel for three years to attain the languages’.23 However, his tour was cut short by his death on 6 Nov. 1615 at Naples, where he was buried, presumably as a Catholic, in the cathedral.24 His only son Sir Philip sat for Westmorland in the Short and Long Parliaments until disabled as a royalist, and again after the Restoration.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. C142/248/14.
  • 2. P. Musgrave, Fam. of Musgrave, 162.
  • 3. J. Venn, Biog. Dict. Caius, 165; GI Admiss.
  • 4. C142/248/14.
  • 5. Musgrave, 162.
  • 6. C142/248/14; SP46/68, f. 293.
  • 7. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 155; CB, i. 31.
  • 8. Kimber and Johnson, Baronetage, i. 47.
  • 9. C66/1620, 1988; SP14/33, ff. 12v, 64.
  • 10. SP14/31/1.
  • 11. Musgrave, 48-9.
  • 12. CSP Dom. Addenda, 1580-1625, p. 495; 1611-18, p. 443.
  • 13. SP46/68, ff. 270, 272, 293, 295, SP46/70, f. 30.
  • 14. Shaw, ii. 101.
  • 15. CJ, i. 207b.
  • 16. C78/157/17.
  • 17. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, i. 35.
  • 18. CJ, i. 262b.
  • 19. C78/157/17.
  • 20. HMC Hatfield, xix. 29-30, 78, 318.
  • 21. STAC 8/209/18; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 223.
  • 22. CJ, i. 414a, 429a, 433b, 434b; Procs. 1610 ed. E.R. Foster, 125.
  • 23. APC, 1613-14, p. 461.
  • 24. Musgrave, 152.