POYNTZ, Sir Robert (1588-1665), of Iron Acton, Glos.

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

bap. 26 Oct. 1588,1 1st s. of Sir John Poyntz† of Iron Acton and his 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Alexander Sydenham of Luxborough, Som.2 educ. Brasenose, Oxf. 1605.3 m. (1) 14 June 1604, Frances (bur. 12 Mar. 1638), da. and coh. of Jervase Gibbons of Benenden, Kent, 2da.; (2) by 1645, Cicely (bur. 14 Sept. 1678), da. of one Smith of Iron Acton, 1s.4 cr. KB 1 Feb. 1626;5 suc. fa. 1633. bur. 10 Nov. 1665.6 sig. Ro[bert] Poyntz

Offices Held

J.p. Glos. 1616-27, 1628-at least 1641, 1660-d.;7 commr. subsidy, Glos. 1621-2, 1624, 1629,8 sewers 1625, Kent and Suss. 1629,9 Forced Loan, Glos. 1627,10 repair of St. Paul’s Cathedral 1632;11 member, Council in the Marches of Wales 1633-?42;12 sheriff, Glos. 1637-8;13 commr. disafforesting forest of Dean, Glos. 1639,14 array 1642,15 inquiry into rebels’ estates 1643, imprest 1643,16 dep. lt. 1642, 1660-d.17


Poyntz’s ancestors had held manorial property in Gloucestershire since the middle of the twelth century. They first represented the county in 1368, and continued to do so under Elizabeth, despite the Catholic sympathies of Poyntz’s grandfather and his father’s desperate financial position.18 Poyntz himself seems to have acquired financial independence through his marriage to his stepsister in 1604. His fidelity to the Anglican church was above suspicion, though his sister Lady Thurles was a recusant and he was willing to act as trustee for such Catholic relatives as Thomas Somerset*.19

‘A loyal, sober, and a learned person’,20 by the mid-1620s Poyntz was impatient to take his turn as knight of the shire, despite the fact that his father was still alive. In 1624 he contested the junior seat with Sir Thomas Estcourt, and petitioned against the return of his rival.21 Although his appeal was rejected, the Commons ruled that he need not pay costs ‘if he trouble the House no further’.22 When Estcourt died shortly after the prorogation, Poyntz again sought election, calling a meeting of the subsidy commission to prevent some of his opponents from attending the county court; but this time he was defeated by Sir Maurice Berkeley*.23 He was at last successful in 1626 and received the order of the Bath at Charles I’s coronation. He made no recorded speeches, but was appointed to consider public bills for mitigating the sentence of excommunication (2 May) and for the free export of white cloth (5 June),24 as well as two private measures.25 He took part in the Gloucestershire resistance to the Forced Loan of 1626-7, refusing either to serve as a commissioner or to subscribe. He was accordingly imprisoned, first in the Fleet and then in Northamptonshire.26 Released in time to take the senior Gloucestershire seat in the third Caroline Parliament,27 he was appointed to five committees and made two recorded speeches. On 4 Apr. 1628 he recommended in grand committee that four subsidies be granted,28 and on 14 May he drew attention to one of Roger Manwaring’s sermons in favour of the Forced Loan.29 He was added to the committee to draw up charges against Manwaring.30 His other committee appointments were to inquire into the decay of timber for shipping (25 Apr.),31 to draft the preamble to the subsidy bill (7 June)32 and to consider a private bill for the 14th earl of Arundel (11 June).33 In the second session he was among those ordered to attend the king on 28 Jan. 1629 with a petition for a fast.34

Poyntz was sufficiently prosperous to engage in alterations to Iron Acton when he succeeded to the estate,35 despite a long-standing Chancery suit over the Gibbons inheritance, which was worth some £500 per annum.36 In the spring of 1637 he suffered a further two days’ imprisonment in the Fleet for insulting one of the judges.37 Appointed sheriff later in the year, he was reported as saying that if he were to imprison and distrain all the Ship Money refusers, ‘there will not be found either prisons or penfolds enough in the country’.38 In August 1642 he was appointed a deputy lieutenant by Parliament, but in November his colleagues complained that he had obstructed the implementation of the militia ordinance and he was summoned before the Commons.39 He sided with the royalists in the Civil War, and eventually compounded for £723 on the articles of Bristol.40 Shortly after the Restoration he published A Vindication of Monarchy and the Government Long Established in the Church and Kingdom of England, in which he argued that ‘he who raiseth a schism in the Church, or a faction in the Commonwealth, lendeth his hand to the devil against Christ’. He made his will on 12 June 1663, giving thanks to God ‘that I have continued in allegiance to my sovereign ... [and] in the orthodoxall [sic] faith and religion formerly established in the Church of England’.41 The last of the family to sit in Parliament, he was buried at Iron Acton on 10 Nov. 1665.42 His only son died without issue and much indebted in 1680.43

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / Ben Coates


  • 1. F. Brown, ‘Extracts From Par. Regs. No. v.: Iron Acton’ , Glos. N and Q, iii. 51.
  • 2. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 135.
  • 3. Al. Ox.
  • 4. Brown, 52, 54; J. Maclean, ‘Manor of Tockington, and the Roman Villa’ Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xii. 155; Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 135.
  • 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 163.
  • 6. Brown, 54.
  • 7. C231/4, ff. 14, 227, 261; C66/2659; C220/9/4, f. 32v; C193/12/3, f. 41v.
  • 8. C212/22/20-1, 23; J. Smyth, Berkeley Mss ed. J. Maclean, iii. 9.
  • 9. C181/3, f. 72; C181/4, f. 32; C181/5, f. 13.
  • 10. C192/12/2, f. 20v.
  • 11. Glos. RO, TBR A1/1, f. 80.
  • 12. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 4, p. 7.
  • 13. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 51.
  • 14. Cal. of the Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv), 50.
  • 15. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 16. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 69, 117.
  • 17. LJ, v. 291; SP29/11/159, 29/60/141.
  • 18. CP, x. 149, 670; T.B. Trappers-Lomax, ‘Fam. of Poyntz and its Catholic Associations’, Recusant Hist. vi. 68.
  • 19. CCC, 2247, 2782.
  • 20. J. Aubrey, Brief Lives ed. A. Clark, ii. 172.
  • 21. J. Glanville, Reps. of Certain Cases Determined and Adjudged by the Commons in Parl. ed. J. Topham, 99-103.
  • 22. CJ, i. 759a.
  • 23. W. B. Willcox, Glos. 29-30.
  • 24. Procs. 1626, iii. 120, 368.
  • 25. Ibid. 107, 189.
  • 26. APC, 1627, pp. 374, 449.
  • 27. APC, 1627-8, p. 217.
  • 28. Procs. 1628, vi. 63.
  • 29. CD 1628, iii. 405.
  • 30. Ibid. 404.
  • 31. Ibid. 71.
  • 32. Ibid. iv. 178
  • 33. Ibid. 236.
  • 34. CJ, i. 923a.
  • 35. J. Maclean, Hist. Fam. Poyntz, 101.
  • 36. C2/Chas.I/L14/9, 72.
  • 37. CSP Dom. 1637, pp. 67, 70, 72, 78.
  • 38. SP16/386/88.
  • 39. HMC Portland, i. 71; CJ, ii. 867.
  • 40. CCC, 1942.
  • 41. PROB 11/321, f. 238.
  • 42. Brown, 54.
  • 43. HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 469.