PETTY, Maximilian (c.1583-1639), of Thame, Oxon.

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.1583, 3rd s. of John Petty (d.1589) of Stoke Talmage, Oxon. and Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Snape, usher in Star Chamber, of Fawler, Oxon.1 educ. Brasenose, Oxf. 1598, aged 15; BA 1602; L. Inn 1604, called 1611.2 m. (1) lic. 29 Oct. 1618, Elizabeth, da. of Robert Waller of Beaconsfield, Bucks., wid. of John Mayney of Staplehurst, Kent, 4s. 3da.3; (2) Dorothy, da. of Sir Richard Ingoldsby of Lenborough, Bucks., wid. of (Sir) Christopher Pigott* (d.1613) of Doddershall, Bucks. and Simeon Steward of Hartley Maudit, Hants, ?s.p.4 d. 24 Aug. 1639. 5

Offices Held

Clerk of assizes, Midlands circ. by 1618-21.6

Steward (jt.), reader’s dinner, L. Inn 1619.7


Petty’s ancestors were yeomen farmers: his great-grandfather, also Maximilian, purchased Tetsworth manor, Oxfordshire, and other properties in neighbouring Stoke Talmage during the reign of Henry VIII. The family’s rise to gentle status was confirmed by a grant of arms in the 1570s.8 Petty, a third son, inherited no more than a modest farm in Tetsworth at his father’s death in 1589; he trained as a lawyer at Lincoln’s Inn, where he was called to the bar in 1611. His career enabled him to acquire property formerly belonging to Thame Abbey, but one of his purchases, a sub-lease of property at Cottisford, Oxfordshire from Sir William Cope*, involved him in a protracted dispute with Eton College, which owned the manor.9

Petty’s political sympathies may be inferred from his second marriage, to the daughter of Sir Richard Ingoldsby, a kinsman of Oliver Cromwell* and John Hampden*. However, he was returned to the Commons for Westbury in 1628 on the interest of his brother-in-law Sir James Ley*, who controlled the borough. He is not recorded to have made any contribution to the work of the House.

Little has been discovered of Petty outside Parliament. In 1634 he was cited for failing to register his arms with the heralds, although he had earlier encouraged his kinsman Anthony Wood to do so.10 He made his will on 12 Aug. 1639, naming his wife, ‘Elizabeth Pigott’, as executrix. He provide £1,000 from the sale of lands in Kent to support his children and provide marriage portions for his daughters, while other land in Tetsworth was to be sold to pay his debts. He died on 24 Aug. 1639, and was buried in the chancel of Thame church two days later.11 His son Edmund, an Independent, sat for Chipping Wycombe at the Restoration.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Henry Lancaster


  • 1. PROB 11/74, f. 229v; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 4), v. 198; R.C. Hoare, Hist. Wilts. ‘Dunworth Hundred’, 111.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.; LI Black Bks. ii. 137.
  • 3. PC2/42, p. 97.
  • 4. Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 76; G. Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 182.
  • 5. C142/578/10.
  • 6. C181/2, f. 307; 181/3, f. 29.
  • 7. LI Black Bks. ii. 208.
  • 8. VCH Oxon. vii. 148; viii. 200-1; Ath. Ox. i. 553-5.
  • 9. C78/196/6.
  • 10. Ath. Ox. iii. 48; Vis. Oxf. (Harl. Soc. xii), 112.
  • 11. C142/578/10; PROB 11/182, f. 9.