PEPYS, Talbot (1583-1666), of Impington Hall, Cambs. and Pump Court, Middle Temple, 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



Family and Education

b. 31 Mar. 1583, 6th s. of John Pepys (d.1589) of Cottenham, Cambs. and Edith, da. and h. of Edmund Talbot of Cottenham and St. Clements, Cambridge, Cambs.1 educ. King’s Camb. c.1595, scholar, Trin. Hall, Camb. 1601; M. Temple, 1605, called 1611.2 m. (1) 3 Aug. 1615 Beatrice, da. of John Castell of Raveningham, Norf. 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 1da.; (2) Paulina (bur. 19 July 1626), s.p.; (3) bef. 27 Oct. 1627, Mary (d. bef. 1630), da. of Thomas Tesimond, s.p.; (4) by 1630, Mary (d. 7 Dec. 1653), s.p.3 d. 1 Mar. 1666.4

Offices Held

Recorder, Cambridge 1624-60, fee’d counsel 1631-60;5 bencher, M. Temple 1631- d., Lent reader 1632, treas. 1640-1.6

Commr. piracy, Norf. 1624;7 freeman, Cambridge 1624;8 j.p. Cambridge 1624-at least 1663;9 commr. gaol delivery Cambridge 1624-d., Ely, Cambs. 1629-40,10 sewers, Cambridge 1627, 1638, Cambs. and I. of Ely 1627, Gt. Fens 1631, 1635, Cambs. 1645,11 swans, Cambridge and elsewhere 1627, 1633, I. of Ely 1630,12 charitable uses, Cambridge 1629-at least 1641,13 supervision of Trin. Coll., Camb. lands 1631,14 repair, Gt. Bridge, Cambridge 1635,15 oyer and terminer, Cambs. 1640,16 assessment, 1643-5, Cambridge and Cambs. 1645-60, [Ire.] 1648, sequestration, Cambridge 1643, levying money 1643, E. Assoc. 1643, New Model Army Ordinance, Cambridge and Cambs. 1645, national militia, Cambs. and I. of Ely 1648-60, fen drainage 1649, poor prisoners, Cambridge, Cambs., and I. of Ely 1653.17


The great-uncle of the famous diarist, Samuel Pepys†, Talbot Pepys came from a long line of Cambridgeshire yeomen. His father, John, purchased the half-manor of Ferme Part, Impington in 1579, and began to build Impington Hall on the site of the old manor house; however, the work remained incomplete at his death in 1589.18 For reasons which remain unclear, Pepys’s elder brothers were largely disinherited, and at the age of only six Pepys became heir to Impington and the bulk of his father’s estate.19 He subsequently received a gentleman’s education at Cambridge University and the Middle Temple.20 Called to the bar in 1611, Pepys compiled a series of reports between 1610 and 1619 on cases he had heard, primarily in Common Pleas.21 Throughout the 1620s he was one of the main legal advisors to his brother-in-law, (Sir) Sidney Montagu*.22 Although he sometimes pleaded in the Exchequer and Chancery, the 1st earl of Clarendon (Edward Hyde†) later recalled that he practised mainly in Requests, in which court Montagu was one of the masters.23

In 1624 Pepys replaced Francis Brakin* as Cambridge’s recorder after the town was informed by the duke of Buckingham that Pepys ‘hath been employed in some affairs of mine’ and had given good service. He also received an endorsement from Viscount Mandeville (Sir Henry Montagu*), his kinsman by marriage, in which he was described as being of ‘very honest conversation and integrity’.24 Six months later, in April 1625, Pepys was elected to Parliament for Cambridge. However, once in the House he made no known speeches and was not named to any committees.

As recorder, Pepys received a yearly retainer of £6 12s. 4d. and after 1631 this sum was supplemented by an additional 40s. a year as one of the town’s fee’d counsel.25 In 1629 Pepys delivered to the corporation the new orders for the quiet governance of the town drafted by lord keeper Coventry (Sir Thomas Coventry*).26 It was through the efforts of Pepys, and Alderman Richard Foxton* that in 1630-1 the town was granted the right by the Crown to raise a Benevolence in the dioceses of Canterbury, London, Winchester and Lincoln to relieve a severe outbreak of the plague.27 During the 1640s and 1650s Pepys sided with Parliament, being appointed to numerous parliamentary commissions and serving on the committee of the Eastern Association. Shortly before the Restoration, aged 77 and with failing eyesight, he resigned the recordership in favour of his eldest son, Roger, and retired to Impington.

In the summer of 1661 Pepys was visited several times by Samuel Pepys, who noted that his great-uncle was ‘sitting all alone, like a man out of this world. He can hardly see, but all things else he doth pretty lively’.28 Nothing further is known of Pepys before his death in 1666, and no will or administration has been found. His eldest son, Roger, sat for Cambridge in the Cavalier Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Chris Kyle


  • 1. VCH Cambs. ix. 132; W.H. Whitear, More Pepysiana, 51.
  • 2. Al. Cant.; M. Temple Admiss.; MTR, 542.
  • 3. W.C. Pepys, Gen. of Pepys Fam. ped. VI; E. Chappell, Eight Generations of Pepys Fam. 23, 30.
  • 4. Pepys Diary ed. R. Latham and W. Matthews, vii. 71.
  • 5. Cambs. RO, Mun. Rm. Shelf C.7, f. 134v; Shelf C8, f. 126.
  • 6. MTR, 784, 895, 898; 1205.
  • 7. C181/3, f. 115v.
  • 8. C.H. Cooper, Annals of Camb. iii. 170.
  • 9. C181/3, f. 135; 181/7, p. 194; CUL, UA Collection Admin. 5, f. 40.
  • 10. C181/3, f. 135v; 181/4, f. 4; 181/5, f. 163v; 181/7, p. 390.
  • 11. C181/3, ff. 219, 220v; 181/4, f. 94; 181/5, ff. 10v, 121, 256; 181/6, p. 388.
  • 12. C181/3, f. 227; 181/4, ff. 56v, 154.
  • 13. C192/1, unfol.
  • 14. C181/4, f. 90v.
  • 15. C181/5, f. 1v.
  • 16. C181/5, f. 177.
  • 17. A. and O. i. 90, 111, 146, 228, 294, 538, 621, 637, 961, 1078, 1243; ii. 31, 139, 294, 757, 1063, 1427-8.
  • 18. VCH Cambs. ix. 132; Pepys, 77-8; REQ 2/258/4 no. 14.
  • 19. PROB 11/74, ff. 276-7; Pepys, 97-100.
  • 20. MTR, 511, 827, 898.
  • 21. Harvard Law Sch. ms 114 in Eng. Legal Mss in the USA comp. J.H. Baker, ii. 105.
  • 22. Pepys, ped. VI; PROB 11/131, ff. 425-6; Bodl., Carte 74, f. 367.
  • 23. E112/111/295, 313; HMC Buccleuch iii. 323; C2/Jas.I/M10/21, 67; 2/Jas.I/M15/3; 2/Chas.I/M66/8; 2/Chas.I/M82/118; Pepys Diary, ii. 209-10.
  • 24. Cambs. RO, Mun. Rm. Shelf C.7, f. 134.
  • 25. Ibid. ff. 134v, 197v; VCH Cambs. iii. 549.
  • 26. Cambs. RO, Mun. Rm. Shelf C.7, f. 183v.
  • 27. Downing Coll. Cambs. Lib., Bowtell ms 63, iii. 431-7; Cooper, iii. 223-5.
  • 28. Pepys Diary, ii. 136, 147-8, 181.