PALMER, Roger (1577-1657), of The Strand, Charing Cross, Westminster.

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



1640 (Nov.) - 22 Jan. 1644
1644 (Oxf. Parl.)

Family and Education

bap. 15 July 1577, 4th but 1st surv. s. of (Sir) Thomas Palmer†, 1st bt., (d.1625) of Wingham, Kent, and Margaret, da. of John Poley of Badley, Suff.;1 bro. of James*. educ. Staple Inn; G. Inn 1597; Court c.1600.2 m. by 1615, Catherine (bur. 2 Dec. 1634), da. of Sir Thomas Porter† of Newent, Glos., wid. of Sir Richard Walsh of Shelsley Walsh, Worcs., s.p. 3 KB 1 Feb. 1626.4 d. 8 Oct. 1657. sig. Roger Palmer.

Offices Held

Cupbearer to Prince Henry by 1607-12,5 to Prince Charles by 1614-at least 1624;6 master of the king’s Household 1626-32, Cofferer 1632-at least 1644;7 commr. to investigate the offences of goldsmiths 1635.8

Commr. oyer and terminer, the Verge 1626-at least 1639, sewers, Kent 1640,9 rebellion (roy.), Oxon., Berks. and Bucks. 1644.10


According to a seventeenth-century pedigree, Palmer’s family had flourished in Sussex since the reign of Edward I. In 1553 his grandfather bought Wingham, six miles east of Canterbury, but he maintained his Sussex connections, sitting for Bramber in the following year, as did Palmer’s father, who also served for a Sussex constituency, in 1586 and 1601. As a younger son, Palmer himself was intended for the legal profession. At Gray’s Inn he attracted the attention of (Sir) Francis Bacon*, who, according to an account of the Palmer family written in the early 1670s, presented him at Court,

where his good qualities soon got him friends, for he could vault and ride the great-horse extremely well. He was a master in vocal and instrumental music. He understood Spanish and Italian accurately, but in dancing he was so excellent that few (if any) in his time came near him, especially in galliards and high dancing, which was then most in request.

In 1600 he was allegedly recommended by the lord admiral (Charles Howard†) for the queen’s service, but he was apparently not taken into service as he did not form part of Elizabeth’s funeral cortege.11

By 1607 Palmer was a cupbearer to Prince Henry, and soon after the latter’s death in 1612 he transferred to the service of the young Prince Charles. It was presumably his younger brother James who recommended him to the earl of Montgomery (Sir Philip Herbert*) for a seat at Queenborough in 1614. Despite his father’s many years of eminent hospitality at Wingham, he was the first of the family to represent a Kentish constituency. He left no trace on the records of the Addled Parliament. On 25 July 1614 a royal pension of £100 was transferred to him from Sir Robert Killigrew* in fulfilment of an agreement struck between him and Sir William Godolphin* seven years earlier. This money supplemented the £200 a year received from the Crown by his wife in recognition of her first husband’s services as sheriff of Worcestershire in rounding up the Gunpowder plotters.12 Palmer appeared in the Twelfth Night masques at Court until 1619, when ‘he broke the great tendon of his right leg in capering’.13 As cupbearer to Prince Charles he was granted a lease of Launceston Park, Cornwall that same year.14 He gave way to his brother at the next general election. At the king’s express command he travelled to Spain to join the prince in 1623.15 He regained the Queenborough seat in 1624, when he was returned alongside a kinsman, Robert Poley, and was re-elected in 1625. He made no recorded contribution to either Parliament.16

In October 1625 Palmer, then at Court, expressed dismay in a letter addressed to Sir John Scudamore* at the continuing ill feeling between Montgomery’s brother, the 3rd earl of Pembroke on the one hand and the royal favourite, the duke of Buckingham on the other. ‘I honour both those grandees with much affection’, he declared.17 It was presumably at the behest of Montgomery, the lord steward, that early in 1626 Palmer was appointed master of the Household in succession to (Sir) Charles Glemham*, who had died the previous autumn. At the king’s coronation on 1 Feb. 1626 Palmer was also made a knight of the Bath. When Parliament met again that same month he continued to represent Queenborough. On 9 June he was at last named to a committee, when he was added to those appointed to draw up reasons for a conference on the address for a general fast.18 In 1626 and 1627 he advanced a total of £2,000 to the king, and by way of partial repayment was granted Crown rents amounting to £115 15s.10d. p.a. in the Buckinghamshire manor of Haddenham.19 He acted as trustee for Sir Francis Cottington* when the latter took over Killigrew’s lease of Hanworth, in Middlesex, in December 1627.20 He continued to remain in the background during the third Caroline Parliament, when he again served for Queenborough, receiving seven committee appointments. He was ordered to attend the conference of 21 Mar. 1628 about the general fast, and was named to the committee for the bill for the better continuance of peace and unity in church and commonwealth (7 April). He was also nominated to consider three private bills, for the naturalization of the Scottish courtiers Sir Robert Dyell and George Kirke* (25 Apr.), for the reversal of a decree in Chancery obtained by a Welsh courtier (Sir) Arnold Herbert* (10 May) and for the restitution in blood of Carew Ralegh† (4 June). He was one of six Members sent on 21 June to desire access to the king for a message from the Commons refusing to grant Tunnage and Poundage for life.21 During the session he paid £2,000 for the fee farm rents of various Crown properties in Sussex and Kent worth nearly £183 p.a.22 In the second session he was among those appointed to the joint committee with the address for a fast (27 Jan. 1629) and he was named to the committee on the bill to prevent corruption in benefices and universities (23 February).23

Palmer was promoted to cofferer in March 1632 on the death of his brother-in-law Sir Marmaduke Darrell. According to his family’s first historian ‘he got a great estate in these employments, and, had it not been for the war, by which he was a mighty loser, he had been as rich a younger brother as any in his time’. One of the ‘rich and grand delinquents’, by the beginning of 1644 he abandoned his seat in the Long Parliament and joined the king at Oxford, where he sat in the royalist assembly.24 He subsequently compounded on the Oxford articles, under which he was fined £3,577. 25 He drew up his will on 22 May 1656. His title to lands in Buckinghamshire and South Wales had already been conveyed to his brother James, who was to inherit his property in and about London. His great-nephew, the 3rd baronet, was to receive his lands in Kent and Suffolk. He died on 8 Oct. 1657, and was buried at Dorney, the Buckinghamshire seat of his brother.26

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Peter Lefevre / Andrew Thrush


LCC Survey of London, xviii. 5; WCA, F348, F350, F355; CCAM, 179.

  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. i. 177.
  • 2. GI Admiss.; Misc. Gen. et Her. i. 109.
  • 3. Misc. Gen. et Her. i. 109, 179; Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 127; Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xc), 98; VCH Worcs. iv. 336; St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Harl. Soc. Reg. lxvi), 292.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 162.
  • 5. C54/1877; Govt. of Royal. Household (1790), p. 329; HMC 6th Rep. 672.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 248; SC6/Jas.I/1683, 1685-6; Harl. 781, f. 74v.
  • 7. Procs. 1626, iv. 307; Shaw, i. 162; LS13/251, p. 64; C115/106/8398; Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 391-2.
  • 8. Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 1625-40 ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv), 42.
  • 9. C181/3, f. 198v; 181/5, ff. 154v, 168.
  • 10. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6, p. 128.
  • 11. Misc. Gen. et Her. i. 106, 109; A. Hussey, Chrons. Wingham, 186.
  • 12. SP16/180/16; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 248; C54/1877.
  • 13. Misc. Gen. et Her. i. 109, dates the incident to 1617, but cf. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 128, 200.
  • 14. Harl. 781, f. 74v.
  • 15. SP14/139/128.
  • 16. Misc. Gen. et Her. i. 108, 109; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 248.
  • 17. C115/108/8632.
  • 18. CJ, i. 869b.
  • 19. Harl. 3796, f. 22; G. Lipscomb, Bucks. ii. 210; E214/123.
  • 20. VCH Mdx. ii. 393; CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 457.
  • 21. CJ, i. 874a, 879b, 888b, 895a, 909a, 916b.
  • 22. BRL, 603563/75.
  • 23. CJ, i. 923a, 932b.
  • 24. Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, v. 573.
  • 25. M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 294; CCC, 1394-6.
  • 26. PROB 11/269, ff. 345-6; Misc. Gen. et Her. i. 109.