PALMES, Sir Guy (1580-1653), of Ashwell, Rutland; Walcot, Northants. and Lindley nr. Otley, Yorks.

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 (Apr.)
1640 (Nov.) - 28 Sept. 1643
1644 (Oxf. Parl.)

Family and Education

b. 1580,1 1st s. of Sir Francis Palmes† of Ashwell and Lindley and Mary, da. and coh. of Stephen Hadnall of Lancelevy, Hants and Marsh, Salop.2 educ. I. Temple 1597.3 m. (1) by 1599, Mary/Ann (bur. 19 Sept. 1610), da. and coh. of Sir Edward Stafford* of Cannon Row, Westminster, 4s. 4da.;4 (2) 23 Dec. 1624, Elizabeth (d.1634), da. of John Doyley* of Chiselhampton, Oxon., wid. of Francis Harby of Adston, Northants. and Sir Robert Browne†, 1st bt. of London and Walcot, Northants., s.p.5 kntd. 11 May 1603;6 suc. fa. 1613.7 bur. 25 Mar. 1653.8 sig. Guie/Guye Palmes.

Offices Held

J.p. Rutland 1602-26, 1628-49, Yorks. (W. Riding) 1617-26, 1628-40, Northants. 1625-6, 1640-9, Peterborough soke 1625-1640;9 dep. lt. Rutland ?1607, by 1623-42, Northants. by 1625-at least 1630;10 commr. martial law, Northants. 1628;11 sheriff, Rutland 1607-8, 1617-18, 1625-6, Yorks. 1622-3;12 commr. subsidy, Rutland 1608, 1621-2, 1624-5, 1628-9, W. Riding 1621-2, 1624, 1629;13 collector (jt.) aid, Rutland 1609, 1612,14 commr. oyer and terminer, Midland circ. 1610-26, 1629-41;15 collector, Privy Seal loans, Northants. (E. Div.) 1625-6;16 commr. knighthood fines, Rutland 1631-2, sewers, Gt. Fens. 1631, Lincs. fens 1631, 1635, 1638-41, gaol delivery Rutland 1633, fees 1634, Rockingham Forest perambulation, Northants. 1641, disarming recusants, Rutland 1641, array 1642.17

Treas. (jt.) assessment 1642.18


The Palmes family, originally from Somerset, acquired the manor of Naburn near York by marriage in 1226. No family member sat in the Commons until 1510, when the lawyer Brian Palmes was returned for York.19 This man’s younger brother, Guy, another lawyer, purchased the manor of Ashwell, Rutland four years later, and his son’s wife brought the family other lands at Lindley, Yorkshire.20 Palmes’s father married an heiress with lands near Basingstoke, Hampshire, a match which was presumably arranged by his guardian Dorothy Stafford, mistress of the robes to Queen Elizabeth.21 Lady Stafford’s granddaughter was later to become Palmes’s own first wife, bringing him a connection to Douglas, Lady Sheffield, sister of lord admiral Nottingham (Charles Howard†) and mother of lord president Sheffield, after whom Palmes named his eldest daughter.22

While his father mainly lived in Hampshire, Palmes spent the early part of his adult life at Ashwell, with occasional visits to Yorkshire.23 He made his first foray into local politics at the Rutland election of November 1601 in support of the Harington faction, at which he helped overcome (Sir) James Harington’s* reluctance to stand by pulling the latter from the bench to lead his supporters into the castle yard at Oakham for a view of the rival parties.24 The Haringtons were clearly grateful for his support, as John, 1st Baron Harington† nominated him as a deputy lieutenant at the time of the Midland enclosure riots of 1607.25

Having succeeded his father in 1613, Palmes was eligible for the senior knighthood of the shire in 1614 in place of Sir James Harington, who had recently died. He was probably backed by John, 2nd Baron Harington*, who died shortly before the election.26 At the start of the session he was named to attend a conference on the bill to confirm the rights of Princess Elizabeth’s children to the succession (14 April).27 He did not speak until 6 June when, owing to John Hoskins’* threat of a Sicilian Vespers against the Scots, the session stood on the verge of collapse.28 Palmes, who had recently retained Hoskins in a Star Chamber suit, sought to forestall a Privy Council investigation of Hoskins’ speech by moving that ‘if there were any that could accuse any Member of the House to have spoken any unbeseeming words of the king, that they might here be charged with them, and either purge themselves or receive punishment’.29 The House voted to clear Hoskins, whereupon debate focused upon the key question of whether to grant the king supply in the absence of any concessions over impositions. Palmes unhelpfully called for an inquiry ‘to understand how the king comes thus in debt’, and moved that Members be allowed to take copies of the Commons’ refusal to consider supply.30 Despite his stance in Parliament, he gave £20 towards the Benevolence raised by Privy Seal in the aftermath of the dissolution, the second highest sum received from a member of the Rutland gentry.31

Shortly after the dissolution, Palmes became involved in a dispute over the sale of Yorkshire lands he held as a trustee for his relative John Lindley. The purchaser demanded a discount before surrendering his lease of the estate, and his refusal to pay the price previously agreed with Palmes led to a three-cornered dispute between the two men and Lindley’s executors.32 Further problems arose from Palmes’s purchase of the manor of Osgodby, Yorkshire in 1620. The vendor, Sir William Babthorpe, a relative of the Palmes family, was Catholic, and Sir Guy was careful to withold two-thirds of the agreed purchase price of £3,000 until he was satisfied that all outstanding arrears of recusancy fines were paid and alternative provision had been made for annuities due to Babthorpe’s younger brothers. Palmes discovered two other debts before completing his purchase in 1622, and secured a discount of £450. He also obtained a discharge from liability for any other encumbrances, but once Babthorpe had dissipated his remaining fortune his assurances were useless, and his creditors soon began distraining his former estates for their arrears. Palmes claimed to have spent over £1,000 in clearing Babthorpe’s debts, and in fending off the attempts of Richard Bowes, who had bought another of Babthorpe’s properties, to make him share responsibility for further debts. As late as 1639 he was contesting the attempts of Babthorpe’s younger brother Thomas, a seminary priest, to claim arrears of his annuity.33

Palmes clearly used his old Harington connections to secure a parliamentary seat during the 1620s: he was returned for Rutland with the backing of the new lord lieutenant, the 5th earl of Huntingdon, who wrote to the freeholders on his behalf in 1624.34 The earl’s mother, a Harington by birth, secured Palmes an alternative (and ultimately unnecessary) nomination at Hythe in December 1620 by interceding with her third husband, lord warden Zouche,35 but the Hastings influence on the Rutland seat should not be overestimated, as Palmes’s status as a local landowner and his previous service in 1614 made him a natural contender for the seat.

Much of Palmes’s activity in the Commons during the 1620s followed consistent patterns. One of the clearest was his hostility to abuses of the legal system. In the spring of 1621 he took part in the investigation of charges against Sir John Bennet*, seconding Richard Weston’s motion to send for the chief witness, and calling for the case to be referred to the Lords before Bennet had replied to his accusers.36 He was also added to the committee which drew up articles of impeachment on 21 April. When Sir Edward Coke suggested that Bennet should be permitted to remain under house arrest in order to care for his sick wife, Palmes added his voice to the opponents of such a move, because ‘he would not have us create a new precedent [for house arrest] but on good grounds: the Tower is the proper prison of this House’.37 Such vindictiveness perhaps suggests that Palmes held a personal grudge against Bennet. The other significant case with which he became involved was that concerning the gold and silver thread patentee, Mathias Fowles, whom the serjeant of the House was unable to arrest in April 1624 because he had already been committed to the Fleet at Palmes’s suit for non-payment of a debt of £50. Palmes disclaimed all knowledge of the writ issued in his name ordering Fowles’ arrest, and suspected collusion between Fowles and the warden of the Fleet, on whose misdemeanours he was to report to the House in the following month.38 It eventually emerged that the writ had been procured on Palmes’s behalf by his attorney, James Clarke II*.39

A substantial number of Palmes’s committee appointments concerned legal reform: bills opposing abuses in the finding of inquisitions post mortem (8 Mar. 1624), the execution of writs of ad quod damnum (21 Nov. 1621), and the misuse of writs of habeas corpus (27 June 1625). He also showed an interest in two controversial bills designed to bring Chancery more closely within the ambit of the Common Law (25 Apr. 1621; 14 Apr. 1624),40 and in measures to restrict the removal of suits from inferior courts (9 Mar, 22 May 1624) and place restrictions on suits against local officials (15 Apr. 1624). Moreover, he was named to consider bills to abolish the practice of assigning private debts to the Crown to secure a more speedy judgment (23 June 1625), to prevent the purchase of judicial posts (23 Apr. 1628) and regulate legal fees (22 Apr. 1624).41 Finally, on 8 Mar. 1624, he moved that all except Exchequer officials be allowed to attend the committee appointed to examine abuses in the Exchequer; he was later named to attend the conference on the bill for limitation of actions (1 May 1624).42

Palmes also opposed the abuse of monopoly patents which comprised the principal grievance of the Commons in 1621 and 1624. He took little part in the investigation of individual misdemeanours, although he did call for the arrest of the alehouse patentees on 24 Apr. 1621, presumably because he feared they might flee abroad, like the inns patentee, (Sir) Giles Mompesson*.43 On the same day he was named to a committee to draft legislation designed to supersede three of the most contentious monopolies: the licensing of inns and alehouses, and the office of clerk of the market, which had hitherto fallen under the jurisdiction of two rival groups of patentees. His interest in this legislation continued into 1624, when he was named to the committee for the bill to give magistrates rather than patentees or justices of assize, the right to licence inns (1 Apr.), and also in 1628, when he was appointed to consider a bill to reform the clerkship of the market (18 Apr.).44

Palmes’s hostility to patents was probably aroused by the disruption they caused at local level, particularly in undermining the authority of the sheriff, an office he held four times. On 14 May 1621 he called for the examination of the patent for collection of unpaid fines due to King’s Bench, normally collected by sheriffs, which he may also have found objectionable because its remit included arrears of fines on sheriffs.45 The problem was resolved in the next Parliament, when he was named to consider the bill to allow sheriffs an absolute discharge of their account at law four years after receiving their quietus from the Exchequer (23 Apr. 1624).46 Other shrieval matters with which he was involved included the bill ‘for avoiding the return of insufficient jurors’, whose selection was the responsibility of the sheriffs (19 Apr. 1621),47 and his service as sheriff of Yorkshire in 1622-3 explains why he was included on the committee of 19 May 1624 investigating the patent of the gaoler at York castle.48 Finally, on 3 May 1621 he moved for a proviso ‘that sheriffs’ fees to judges’ men may be discharged’ at the second reading of the bill to prevent the exaction of unjust legal fees.49 Another local grievance that concerned Palmes was the exaction of excessive fees at heraldic visitations. On 28 Apr. 1624 he supported calls for an investigation, and was included on the resulting committee.50

Palmes seems to have had virtually no interest in patents which fell outside the remit of local government, though he was named to committees for bills to transfer control of the Dungeness and Winterton lighthouses from private patentees to Deptford’s Trinity House (7 May 1621) and to abolish Sir Ferdinando Gorges’† monopoly of the Newfoundland fisheries (27 June 1625).51 Nor was he much interested in the parallel debate over impositions, for his nomination to the committee to discover the promoters of impositions on ‘wine, sugar and groceries’ on 9 Apr. 1624 was exceptional.52 His relative unimportance in these debates is highlighted by the fact that his only involvement in the key monopolies bill of 1624 was to attend a single conference on 8 Apr., which was perhaps due to his raising of a point of order at the naming of the committees on the previous day.53

Palmes was little interested in economic issues, except during the trade depression of 1621. He objected to the 1621 bill to ban imports of Spanish tobacco in favour of the Virginia Company’s produce, on the grounds that it did not go far enough: ‘tobacco undoes men in their bodies and estates, draws them to drink and [to] continue at it. All kind of men affected with it. Tis high time to banish it’. He was presumably intending to raise similar objections when named to consider a petition from the importers of Spanish tobacco on 26 May 1624.54 As a sheep farmer, Palmes naturally endorsed the 1621 bill to allow free trade in wool. Speaking at the report stage on 18 May, he rejected Sir Thomas Wentworth’s plea that the merchants who supplied the Halifax clothiers should be allowed a special right of pre-emption when buying their wool, but he was equally opposed to the idea of allowing clothiers to pre-empt merchants during the shearing season, as this would merely allow the richer clothiers to outbid their smaller rivals and drive them out of business. Although this bill was lost at the dissolution, it eventually reached the statute book in 1624 as clause 28 of the Expiring Laws Continuance Act, having been committed to Palmes, among others, on 13 March.55 Self-interest also explains Palmes’s support for the bill to ban corn imports (8 Mar. 1621), which was intended to reverse the recent slump in grain prices. He believed that this fall had been caused by the assarting of waste lands, and observed that it had left tenant farmers unable to meet their rents.56 As a regular borrower, it is no surprise that Palmes was the second Member named to the committee for the usury bill on 8 Mar. 1624, which sought to reduce interest rates from ten per cent to eight per cent.57

While many of Palmes’s Naburn relatives were Catholics, his own Protestantism was never in doubt. In his first speech to the Commons in 1621, he complained about the insolence of recusants who practised their religion openly, and called for investigation of Catholic contributions to the imperial campaign against the Elector Palatine.58 The latter problem was only addressed on 12 Mar. 1624, when Palmes was one of a group delegated to draft a request for a conference on the subject with the Lords.59 Two months later, he was included on a committee for a bill to outlaw the receiving of secret pensions from foreign states (12 May 1624), which was clearly aimed at Spanish pensioners. In the same session he supported the proposal to petition the king for a Proclamation ordering the strict enforcement of the recusancy laws, as he envisaged that this would lead to ‘the better checking the insolency of the papists, and the encouragement of the well-affected’.60 Less constructively, in May 1621, he was one of many MPs who visited their frustrations on the head of Edward Floyd, a Catholic barrister who had insulted the Palatines.61

In the autumn of 1621 Palmes’s interest in the implementation of the recusancy laws led to his inclusion on the committee ordered to investigate the shortcomings of (Sir) Henry Spiller’s* collection of recusancy fines (29 November). On 24 May 1628 he was also named to the committee scrutinizing the work of Spiller’s successors, the commissions for recusancy compositions.62 One of the drafters of the petition of religious grievances of 24 June 1625, he was named twice to committees for bills to tighten the Recusancy Act of 1606 (23 June 1625, 23 Apr. 1628). Another of his committee appointments concerned a bill to facilitate the levying of the penalty of 12d. a week on recusant wives who failed to attend church (1 May 1624).63 He voiced his most original idea at the second reading of the recusancy bill on 4 May 1621, when he moved that recusants should be obliged to take the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy in public before being granted livery of their estates.64

Although he is not known to have spoken on ecclesiastical discipline, Palmes’s committee appointments suggest that he had some interest in the subject. He was twice named to the committee for the bill to widen the scope for clerical subscription to the Canons of 1604 (27 June 1625, 23 Apr. 1628), and was included on others for bills to disbar ministers from being appointed as justices (25 Apr. 1621), to restrict the use of excommunication by church courts (14 Apr. 1628), to facilitate the removal of scandalous ministers (23 Nov. 1621), and to prevent simony in elections to university posts (23 Feb. 1629).65

Some of the minor legislation with which Palmes was involved can be connected with local concerns. He had an interest in the York corporation’s bill for the River Ouse (3 May 1621), not only because it was to be funded by a levy on the county, but because its proposal to divert the river would have directly affected his newly acquired manor of Osgodby.66 This bill did not return to the Commons after 1621, but Palmes was subsequently named to committees for bills to improve the navigation on the Upper Thames (20 Mar. 1624) and the Wye (19 Apr. 1624).67 His northern interests explain his nomination to committees for bills to enfranchise county Durham (6 Mar. 1621, 14 Apr. 1624), prevent moor-burning during the breeding season (26 May 1621), investigate a petition against the Yorkshire judge Sir Richard Hutton (1 Dec. 1621), and exchange York House in the Strand for lands in Yorkshire (19 May 1624).68 He also helped to defend lord president Scrope when the latter was accused of corruption on 1 June 1621.69

On 4 June 1621 Palmes obliged Sir William Bulstrode, his partner as knight of the shire for Rutland, by moving to punish two bailiffs who had breached parliamentary privilege by arresting a servant of (Sir) James Whitelocke*, Bulstrode’s cousin by marriage.70 One of his own servants was later released from custody under the same privilege in May 1628 at the motion of Christopher Wandesford*.71 Palmes and Bulstrode were probably joint sponsors of the bill to naturalize Sir Daniel Deligne of Harlaxton, near Grantham, as they headed the list for the committee appointed on 11 Aug. 1625.72 Other private bills to which Palmes was nominated probably owed something to his family connections: Sir Richard Lumley (19 Mar. 1621) was related to the long deceased Lady Sheffield, and Sir Thomas Neville (17 May 1628) to Palmes’s sister Margaret.73 He may have had some interest in the bills for the taking of inquisitions post mortem, for the estates of Wadham College, Oxford, and for confirming clause 29 of Magna Carta, to whose committees he was named on 8-9 Mar. 1624, but he can hardly have attended the first committee meetings for all three, as all were scheduled for 2pm on 10 March.74 He did attend at least one committee meeting for a bill to which he was not specifically named, to resolve a dispute over tithes and customary duties on lead ore in the Derbyshire Peak District (9 Apr. 1624), probably on behalf of Sir James Harington’s daughter Anne, whose jointure estate from her first husband Sir Thomas Foljambe included mining interests in the area.75

Palmes’s defence of Hoskins in 1614 shows that he was fully aware of the importance of the privilege of free speech, and it was probably this which earned him a regular place on the committee for privileges from 1621.76 His consistent support for reform of the legal system, and his opposition to patents which interfered with local government, taken alongside his determined efforts to gain election in 1620, suggest that he was aware of the pressing need for reform before he arrived at Westminster in 1621. On 23 Apr. he attempted to speed up the legislative process by allocating time at the beginning of each morning for the third reading of engrossed bills.77 He opposed a second grant of supply on 27 Nov. because ‘the country saith that we have already given subsidies, but have brought them nothing’, and moved to proceed with bills instead.78

Palmes’s reluctance to join the government’s critics in 1621 may have owed something to the arrests which followed the dissolution of the Addled Parliament, but mounting evidence of official misconduct apparently overcame his fears during the course of the session. When the House considered proceedings against monopolists on 5 Mar., he proposed that inquiries should be widened to include the Crown lawyers who had approved the patents, a move which quickly implicated several clients of the favourite, the marquess of Buckingham.79 On 24 Apr. he defended one of the leaders of the attacks on Buckingham, Sir Francis Seymour*, when the latter became embroiled in a quarrel over the role of Sir Henry Montagu* in the drafting of the alehouse patent.80 Two of Buckingham’s chief opponents, the 3rd earl of Southampton and Sir Edwin Sandys*, were arrested during the summer recess, and although both men were released by the time Parliament reassembled in November, Sandys failed to resume his seat, fuelling speculation that he remained confined. Consequently, William Mallory* raised the issue of Sandys’s absence as soon as the session resumed. On 1 Dec. Palmes was one of several speakers who highlighted the breach of parliamentary privilege involved in Sandys’s arrest, exhorting the House ‘to have the same care of future times as our predecessors have had before us’.81 This motion was one of the causes which prompted the king to forbid the House to discuss matters ‘far above their reach and capacity’ two days later.82 The Commons debated its response to this implicit refutation of its right of free speech over the next five days, and on 7 Dec. Palmes backed the proposal that legislative business, hitherto his main priority, be suspended until James had returned a satisfactory reply.83 Although no such motion was passed, business remained at a standstill while king and Commons sparred over what many Members must have seen as the technical nicety about the origin of the Commons’ privileges.84 It is clear that Palmes did not share this view, as he maintained his support for a cessation of business in his last speech of 17 Dec., in the midst of the king’s second attempt to persuade the House to resume its deliberations.85

Palmes was not among the handful of MPs arrested for their part in wrecking the autumn sitting of 1621, but he was summoned before the Privy Council when he refused to contribute to the Benevolence raised after the dissolution.86 He still resented this in 1624, when he seconded Sir Thomas Belasyse’s* motion to include the collection of Benevolences in the Commons’ petition of grievances.87 Many years later, Sir Edward Peyton* claimed that Palmes had been pricked as sheriff of Yorkshire in November 1622 as a punishment for his speeches ‘against the prerogative’ in the autumn of 1621.88 While there is no contemporary evidence to support this allegation, it is likely to have been true: the modest size of his Yorkshire estates and the fact that he chiefly resided in Rutland made him an unlikely choice for the office, although his father had been spoken of as a possible sheriff for the county in 1605-6.89 Palmes certainly had cause to regret the appointment, as his attempts to economise on the expense of the office, which included the appointment of his relative Nicholas Lindley as his under-sheriff, resulted in an unusually large number of lawsuits, several of which were occasioned by his difficulties in securing accounts from his subordinates; his own account was still outstanding in the spring of 1625.90

While the exact nature of the relationship between Palmes and the other ‘fiery and turbulent spirits’ whose actions brought the 1621 session to an abrupt end is difficult to divine,91 Palmes cemented his links with one of them in 1623, when he married his daughter Mary to the eldest son of William Mallory, who spent eight months in the Tower because of his outspokenness in 1621.92 The latter’s estates lay only a few miles from Lindley, but the match probably owed at least as much to the political outlook the two men had shared in Parliament in 1621. They apparently nominated each other to several committees in 1624, a practice which was revealed on 7 Apr., when Palmes, after complaining that some Members were putting forward more than their quota of two MPs each to attend the conference on the monopolies’ bill, then chose Mallory and Sir William Fleetwood II.93 It seems likely that Palmes and Mallory also named each other on 9 Mar., as both men appeared on the committee list for Fleetwood’s bill to confirm the clause in Magna Carta which denied the Crown the right to imprison without showing cause; the relevance to Mallory’s arrest seems obvious.94

Palmes continued to focus his attention on the passage of legislation in 1624. He moved that a list of unresolved grievances should be compiled from the clerk’s Journals for 1610 and 1621, a task he and Sir Peter Heyman were delegated to perform (10 Mar.),95 and on 29 Apr., he suggested that there should be a bill drafted ‘to make all bills that pass not in this session to remain in the state they shall be left in’ for resumption after the prorogation, echoing motions put forward in 1621. Although this motion received some support from Sir Edwin Sandys and Secretary Calvert, it was observed that the House could not legislate to bind its successor, and the proposal was dropped.96 Palmes later received a nomination to the committee ordered to catalogue the petitions received by the House (19 May), and a place on the delegation presenting the petition of grievances to the king (28 May).97

Palmes’s views on the breach with Spain, the central issue of the 1624 session, are difficult to interpret. Typically, although the entire House was invited to hear Buckingham (now a duke) deliver his account of the failure of the negotiations for the Spanish Match on 24 Feb., Palmes, a stickler for procedure, moved that arrangements should be made for an official report to the House, as ‘it goes but as a committee’.98 He was one of 48 MPs named to the joint committee for drawing up a list of reasons for breaking off the Spanish Match, which was treated to a further oration by the duke (3 Mar.), and was also selected to attend a conference to discuss the Crown’s ability to bear the strain of a war. Those present at this conference were assured by Prince Charles that any parliamentary supply would be used to fund a war, and not appropriated to the reduction of the king’s debts (11 March).99 It is impossible to tell whether Palmes was influenced by these arguments, but their effect was almost certainly negated by the king’s announcement on 13 Mar. that he had not yet decided whether to break with Spain, and that he needed at least six subsidies to go to war.100 The Commons eventually agreed to offer of three subsidies (20 Mar.), but Palmes, observing that ‘time never brought forth repentance’, unsuccessfully pleaded that even this lower figure should be referred to a committee for further consideration.101 In delaying at a time when commitment was required, Palmes clearly aligned himself with the opponents of a war. Moreover, his support for calls for a Proclamation for enforcement of the recusancy laws on 7 Apr. demonstrates that he still required further proof that the king would break with Spain before he was willing to see the passage of supply.102 Three days later, after the Commons received assurances from Prince Charles that James was indeed genuine about this matter, Palmes was one of the committee appointed to draft the preamble to the subsidy bill (10 April). His suspicions may have been further allayed by the king’s cordial reception of the German mercenary Count Mansfeld on 18 Apr., as he supported calls for a first reading of the bill two days later. However, by this stage the opponents of a war had conceded the need for some progress in the bill to buy time to continue with the heavy legislative programme of the session. In the absence of any further recorded comment, it is impossible to say whether Palmes was now a genuine convert to the proposed war.103

By the standards of the previous sessions, Palmes was unusually reticent in 1625: he is not recorded to have spoken until 10 Aug., at the height of the debate on King Charles’s request for additional subsidy to pay for the fleet to be sent to Cadiz. When chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Richard Weston held out the prospect of another session to deal with grievances in return for an immediate vote of supply, Palmes suggested that the Crown’s credit could be restored just as easily if the Commons were to undertake to grant supply in this second session. He then alluded to Buckingham’s mismanagement of affairs, the issue all but a handful of Members had been avoiding, reminding the House that ‘for the disorders in H[enry] VII time, [Richard] Empson† and [Edmund] Dudley† were hanged in H[enry] VIII time’. The implicit hope that Buckingham would share the same fate under Charles would have been clear to all, and undoubtedly explains why he was excluded from the next Parliament by being pricked as sheriff of Rutland in November 1625.104 The punishment probably came as a surprise to Palmes, who had only weeks previously been working on assessments for the Privy Seal loans which were intended to replace the subsidies the Commons had failed to give in the previous summer.105

Palmes probably wished to see his son elected for Rutland in his stead in 1626, but the memory of the quarrel which had broken out in the shire in 1601, when Sir Andrew Noel had tried to secure the return of his own son Edward Noell†, seems to have persuaded him to come to an agreement with Sir Francis Bodenham* instead. Bodenham took the county seat, and in return his cousin John Balguy secured the return of Brian Palmes at Stamford, where Balguy was deputy recorder.106 Although his shrievalty passed without incident, Palmes was one of the group of Buckingham’s critics who were removed from the bench shortly after the dissolution of 1626.107 He avoided paying the Forced Loan in Rutland, and appeared on a list of defaulters for Northamptonshire, where his second wife’s estates lay. However, he did not take part in the overt opposition organized in western Northamptonshire by Richard Knightley*, and does not appear to have been called to account for his failure to pay.108 Palmes kept his posts in the lieutenancy throughout the period, and despite his failure to pay the Loan was even named to the Northamptonshire martial law commission in February 1628. Inexplicably, he was included on a Commons’ committee from which deputy lieutenants were specifically excluded on 28 Mar. 1628.109

On being returned to the Commons again in 1628, Palmes declared his objections to the Crown’s abuses over the past 18 months. On 25 Mar., when Sir Peter Heyman recounted the story of his ‘temporary banishment’ to the Palatinate on a diplomatic mission, Sir William Fleetwood II observed that the practice was outlawed by a statute of Edward III, and Palmes and Sir Francis Seymour moved to petition the king to take cognizance of this precedent.110 A week later, when a ruling of 1592 from the judges concerning the abuse of arbitrary imprisonment was cited as a precedent against the Crown’s plea in the Five Knights’ Case of 1627, it was Palmes who moved to have it recorded in the clerk’s Journal.111 He retained the grudging attitude to supply that he had shown in previous Parliaments, declaring four subsidies ‘a sufficient gift’, although the House eventually settled on five.112

Palmes took no recorded part in the general debates on the Petition of Right, preferring to concentrate instead on the problems of billeting which he had confronted as a deputy lieutenant. At the start of the session, he was named to consider a bill to put the lieutenancy on a statutory footing (24 Mar.), and another to investigate complaints about billeting in Surrey (28 March).113 On 8 Apr. he effectively confessed his own shortcomings in a speech which may explain why he was generally less outspoken in 1628 than in previous sessions: ‘I am sorry and ashamed to speak what I know, what misery these billetings have brought us to. For my part, I think deputy lieutenants have been too slack, but I pray you let us be the more speedy in framing of a bill to remedy this disorder’.114 Perhaps to make amends, he was subsequently conspicuous in his support for the punishment of the Cornish deputy lieutenants who had attempted to interfere in the county election.115

Palmes did not speak at all in the brief session of 1629, during which his interest appears to have been focused on a lawsuit between one of his sons-in-law, William Leeke, and the latter’s half-brother Francis, Lord Deincourt, which came before the Lords; Palmes, Mallory and Sir Gervase Clifton* were all given leave to testify in this case on 7 February.116 The dispute concerned the manor of Haughton, Nottinghamshire, which had been purchased by Sir Francis Leeke the elder in 1619, and claimed by both his sons after his death in 1626. It outlasted the session of 1629 by a considerable margin, receiving hearings in the courts of Delegates, Wards, Star Chamber, Exchequer and Chancery. Deincourt was granted possession by the Court of Wards in 1627, but Palmes, a trustee for William Leake’s interest from May 1628, extended the estate in 1631 under a bond from Sir John Molineux, who had owned the manor before 1619.117 Palmes then recruited the help of lord president Wentworth to secure both the dismissal of Deincourt’s Exchequer suit, and a post in Ireland for his son-in-law, before Leeke could encumber the estate with too many debts of his own.118

Leeke was not the only one of Palmes’s relatives to cause him trouble during the latter part of his life. In 1627, he was briefly involved in litigation to secure the jointure rights of his daughter Douglas, and nine years later he was forced to defend another daughter, Mary, the widow of his stepson, Sir Thomas Browne, against the claims of her brother-in-law Sir Robert Browne to a share of her husband’s inheritance.119 However, the most troublesome suit he faced concerned the manor of Osgodby. In February 1626 Palmes’s steward, William Bosvile, offered to lease the demesne lands at £90 a year. Palmes gave his steward a draft lease to be signed by his son, then at Westminster as MP for Stamford, but Bosvile allegedly altered the terms of the lease, and when Palmes considered selling the property in September 1628, he refused to surrender the lease in the hope that he could buy the estate at a discount, or at least obtain compensation for the improvements he had made. The case dragged on throughout the 1630s, when the problems Palmes encountered with Babthorpe’s creditors worked in his favour, as they helped to disrupt Bosvile’s possession of the estate. The latter was still in possession in 1640, but he may have died or been ejected during the Civil War, as the dispute was not mentioned when Palmes petitioned to compound for his estates in 1646.120

Palmes served as a commissioner for knighthood fines in Rutland in the early 1630s, and obtained exemption for his son-in-law, Sir Thomas Browne, in Northamptonshire.121 He sat for Rutland in both the Short and Long Parliaments, where he criticized the abuses of the Personal Rule, but his son Francis Palmes, a captain of horse in the king’s army, was implicated in the first army plot of May 1641.122 On the eve of the Civil War, Palmes was named as a militia commissioner by both sides, but whereas his son Brian raised a regiment for the king, he returned to Westminster. He supported proposals for a negotiated peace after the battle of Edgehill, and in May 1643, having allegedly secured a warrant from Speaker Lenthall, he left London for his Yorkshire estates, where he remained while the royalist forces chased the parliamentarians from the county. The Commons disbarred him and sequestrated his estates on 28 Sept. 1643, and although he denied assisting the royalist war effort, he only surrendered at the fall of Newark in May 1646.123 His fine of £3,905 included £600 for the delinquency of his son Brian, and also covered the estates he held in trust for William Leeke, which he was later found to have undervalued.124 He was buried at Ashwell on 25 Mar. 1653, after which the estate was held briefly by his son Brian and his grandson Francis.125 The latter was succeeded by his younger brother William, who was returned to the Commons for many years for his wife’s borough of Malton, Yorkshire. He gradually sold off the family estate; none of his descendants sat in Parliament.126

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. He gave his age as 24 on 17 Jan. 1604, STAC 8/220/32, f. 8, and 53 on 25 Nov. 1633, see C24/590/I/17.
  • 2. Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 90-1; C142/224/32; C142/231/95.
  • 3. I. Temple Admiss.
  • 4. Leics. RO, DE1921/1, unfol.; Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 90-1.
  • 5. C142/398/101; C2/Chas.I/B88/29.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 108.
  • 7. C142/333/43.
  • 8. Leics. RO, DE1921/1, unfol.
  • 9. C231/1, f. 128; C231/4, ff. 34, 187, 261; 231/5, p. 398; Add. 15750, f. 78v; C181/3, f. 155; C181/4, f. 199.
  • 10. HMC 5th Rep. 401; HEHL, HA10613; SP16/2/101-2; SP16/161/5.
  • 11. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 567.
  • 12. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 114, 163.
  • 13. SP14/31/1; C212/22/20-1, 23; HMC 5th Rep. 401; E115/306/81; 115/307/73; Fairfax Corresp. ed. G.W. Johnson, i. 210.
  • 14. E359/5, m. 31v; SP14/43/107; E403/2732, f. 159v.
  • 15. C181/2, f. 106.
  • 16. Northants. RO, W(A) 6/VII/23.
  • 17. E178/5595, ff. 3v, 7, 10; C181/4, ff. 93v, 159; Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 18. SR, v. 167.
  • 19. Yorks. Peds. (N. and E. Riding) comp. J. Foster (Palmes of Naburn and Lindley); VCH Yorks. (E. Riding), iii. 77; York Civic Recs. ed. A. Raine (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. cvi), 31.
  • 20. VCH Rutland, ii. 109; Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 90-1.
  • 21. C142/231/95; WARD 9/156, unfol. (Yorkshire, Mar. 1567/8); P. Wright, ‘A change in direction’ in D. Starkey et al., The English Court, 150, 161.
  • 22. The Gen. n.s. xxi. 176-8; Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 90-1; Leics. RO, DE1921/1, unfol.
  • 23. STAC 8/230/20, f. 2; LPL, ms 708, f. 51.
  • 24. STAC 5/N12/25, deposition of James Harington, Q.11. For Palmes’s own deposition, see STAC 8/220/32.
  • 25. HMC Hatfield, xix. 124.
  • 26. C142/342/105; C142/356/117.
  • 27. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 82.
  • 28. Ibid. 423; C. Russell, Addled Parl. 22-4.
  • 29. STAC 8/230/20, f. 2; Procs. 1614 (Commons), 422-3, 426.
  • 30. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 440.
  • 31. E351/1950.
  • 32. E112/139/1433; C2/Jas.I/W2/58; C2/Jas.I/W29/13.
  • 33. C2/Jas.I/B31/38; 2/Chas.I/B4/18; 2/Chas.I/B66/15; 2/Chas.I/B114/31; 2/Chas.I/G11/47; 2/Chas.I/G62/122; 2/Chas.I/P8/43; E112/267/598; VCH E. Riding, iii. 65; G. Anstruther, Seminary Priests, 236.
  • 34. HMC Hastings, ii. 64.
  • 35. Vis. Rutland (Harl. Soc. iii), 38-9; SP14/118/26.
  • 36. CD 1621, iii. 29; v. 16-17, 83, 340; CJ, i. 583b.
  • 37. CJ, i. 586a, 588a; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 301; CD 1621, iii. 57; v. 92.
  • 38. CJ, i. 795b; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 193v.
  • 39. CJ, i. 763a, 765b; ‘Nicholas 1624’, pp. 224, 240; ‘Pym 1624’, i. f. 63v.
  • 40. CJ, i. 641b, 679b; Procs. 1625, p. 253; Kyle thesis, 199-202.
  • 41. CJ, i. 680b, 708b, 767b, 772b, 888a; Procs. 1625, p. 229; Kyle thesis, 228-30, 238-9.
  • 42. CJ, i. 695a, 730b; ‘Nicholas 1624’, p. 86; Kyle thesis, 243-7.
  • 43. CJ, i. 589b.
  • 44. Ibid. 590a, 751b; CD 1628, ii. 540; Kyle thesis, 134-40, 402-7.
  • 45. CD 1621, ii. 363; iv. 335; vii. 428; CJ, i. 620a.
  • 46. CJ, i. 733a; Kyle thesis, 197-8.
  • 47. CJ, i. 582b; R. Zaller, Parl. of 1621, p. 93.
  • 48. CJ, i. 705a.
  • 49. CJ, i. 606a; CD 1621, iii. 149; vi. 130; Nicholas, ii. 11.
  • 50. CJ, i. 692-3, 777b.
  • 51. Ibid. 611b; Procs. 1625, p. 252.
  • 52. CJ, i. 760b.
  • 53. Ibid. 757b; Holles 1624, p. 63.
  • 54. CJ, i. 581b, 796a; CD 1621, iii. 11; v. 77-8; Nicholas, i. 271.
  • 55. CJ, i. 624-5, 736b; CD 1621, iii. 289; iv. 362; Nicholas, ii. 91; W.B. Crump and G. Ghorbal, Huddersfield Woollen Ind. 33-4; Kyle thesis, 87-93.
  • 56. CJ, i. 545a; CD 1621, ii. 379; iii. 282.
  • 57. LC4/195, f. 207v; 4/199, f. 417v; 4/200, ff. 323v, 327; CJ, i. 679b.
  • 58. CD 1621, ii. 38.
  • 59. CJ, i. 684a.
  • 60. Ibid. 703a; Holles 1624, p. 64; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 183.
  • 61. CD 1621, iii. 125; CJ, i. 601b; Zaller, 104.
  • 62. CJ, i. 652a, 904a.
  • 63. CJ, i. 696a; Procs. 1625, pp. 227, 241.
  • 64. CJ, i. 607b; CD 1621, ii. 345; iii. 163.
  • 65. CJ, i. 590b, 643a, 887b, 932b; Nicholas, ii. 195; Procs. 1625, p. 253; CD 1628, ii. 444.
  • 66. CJ, i. 605b; B.F. Duckham, Yorks. Ouse, 44-7.
  • 67. York City Archives, House Bk. 34, f. 291; CJ, i. 744a, 771a.
  • 68. CJ, i. 539b, 627b, 655a, 705b, 766a.
  • 69. CJ, i. 635a; CD 1621, ii. 420-1; iii. 387; Nicholas, ii. 149.
  • 70. CJ, i. 638a; CD 1621, ii. 426; v. 197; SIR WILLIAM BULSTRODE.
  • 71. CD 1628, iv. 3, 8, 11.
  • 72. Procs. 1625, p. 457; HLRO, O.A. 3 Chas. I, c.23.
  • 73. CJ, i. 562a, 899a; Nicholas, i. 190-1; Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. iii. 369-70; Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 90-1.
  • 74. CJ, i. 679-80.
  • 75. HLRO, main pprs. 9 Apr. 1624; Kyle thesis, 466-8. The cttee. was open to all Members.
  • 76. CJ, i. 507b, 671b; Procs. 1625, p. 205; CD 1628, ii. 29.
  • 77. CJ, i. 588a.
  • 78. Nicholas, ii. 226. See also CJ, i. 649b; CD 1621, ii. 459; iii. 472; iv. 445; v. 408; vi. 203, 326.
  • 79. CJ, i. 539b; CD 1621, v. 272; C. Russell, PEP, 108-11.
  • 80. CJ, i. 589b; CD 1621, iii. 71; vi. 96-7.
  • 81. Zaller, 138-41; Russell, PEP, 121-3; CJ, i. 654b; CD 1621, vi. 218-19; Nicholas, ii. 260.
  • 82. Quoted in Russell, PEP, 135.
  • 83. CJ, i. 661a; Nicholas, ii. 299.
  • 84. Russell, PEP, 138-9; Zaller, 167-70.
  • 85. CD 1621, vi. 241, 332.
  • 86. Zaller, 188-9; Russell, PEP, 143-4; SP14/127/48.
  • 87. ‘Spring 1624’, p. 248.
  • 88. W. Scott, Secret Hist. Jas. I, ii. 436.
  • 89. LPL, ms 709, f. 61.
  • 90. Wentworth Pprs. ed. J.P. Cooper (Cam. Soc. ser. 4. xii), 246; E112/142/1693, 1720; E112/143/1721, 1748; E112/260/94; E134/21Jas.I/Hil.28; STAC 8/241/2.
  • 91. The king’s phrase, quoted in Zaller, 158.
  • 92. W. Yorks. AS (Leeds), Vyner 5902; Leics. RO, DE1921/1, unfol.; C. Russell, ‘Examination of Mr. Mallory’, BIHR, lxi. 125-32.
  • 93. Holles 1624, p. 63.
  • 94. CJ, i. 680a; Kyle thesis, 292-5.
  • 95. CJ, i. 681a; ‘Nicholas 1624’, p. 96; ‘Holland 1624’, i. f. 40v; Holles 1624, p. 27; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 66; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 97.
  • 96. CJ, i. 779a; ‘Holland 1624’, ii. f. 60v; Holles 1624, p. 88.
  • 97. CJ, i. 706b; 714a.
  • 98. ‘Spring 1624’, p. 11.
  • 99. CJ, i. 676b, 683a; R. Ruigh, Parl. of 1624, pp. 186-7, 191-2, 207-8.
  • 100. Ruigh, 209-11; Russell, PEP, 185-6.
  • 101. ‘Spring 1624’, p. 150; ‘Lowther 1624’, f. 41v; ‘Holland 1624’, i. f. 69v.
  • 102. Holles 1624, p. 64; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 183; T. Cogswell, Blessed Revolution, 214-15, 232-3.
  • 103. CJ, i. 762a, 771-2; ‘Holland 1624’, ii. f. 41; Cogswell, 234-50.
  • 104. Cogswell, 208-10; Procs. 1625, pp. 444-5, 451; Russell, PEP, 248-51; Wentworth Pprs. 240.
  • 105. Northants. RO, W(A) 6/VII/23.
  • 106. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 72-3; Vis. Rutland (Harl. Soc. iii), 38-9; CSP Dom. 1631-3, p. 321.
  • 107. Som. RO, DD/PH 219/66.
  • 108. SP16/79/72; E407/123, unnumb. item; R. Cust, Forced Loan, 233-4.
  • 109. CD 1628, ii. 168; CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 567; SP16/93/66.
  • 110. CD 1628, ii. 104, 114-15.
  • 111. Ibid. i. 106; ii. 229; Russell, PEP, 335.
  • 112. CD 1628, ii. 308, 312; vi. 62.
  • 113. Ibid. ii. 78, 168.
  • 114. Ibid. ii. 365.
  • 115. Ibid. iii. 3, 5, 7, 386, 393.
  • 116. CJ, i. 927a.
  • 117. E112/230/39; E134/8Chas.I/Mich.4; C2/Chas.I/G22/12; C2/Chas.I/H13/47; C2/Chas.I/P33/10.
  • 118. SCL, Strafford Pprs. 13/107; HMC Var. vii. 403; SP23/198, pp. 43-4; C2/Chas.I/H10/29; C2/Chas.I/M60/31; C2/Chas.I/P79/54; E112/231/62.
  • 119. C2/Chas.I/B88/29; C2/Chas.I/P60/62; PROB 6/15, f. 98v; C142/522/21.
  • 120. C2/Chas.I/B73/51; 2/Chas.I/B105/6; 2/Chas.I/B112/65; 2/Chas.I/B114/31; 2/Chas.I/P12/18.
  • 121. E178/5595, ff. 3v, 7, 10; HMC Buccleuch, iii. 362.
  • 122. E351/293; CSP Dom. 1640-1, p. 577.
  • 123. SP23/198, p. 42.
  • 124. CCC, 1316.
  • 125. Keeler, Long Parl. 295; Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 81.
  • 126. VCH Rutland, ii. 109; VCH Yorks. (E. Riding), iii. 65.