RAMSDEN, Sir John (1594-1646), of Byram Hall, Brotherton, 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.)

Family and Education

bap. 13 Oct. 1594, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of William Ramsden of Longley Hall, Yorks. and Rosamund, da. of Thomas Pilkington of Bradley, Yorks. m. (1) 1624, Margaret (d.1626), da. of Sir Peter Frescheville* of Staveley, Derbys., 2s.; (2) lic. 16 Aug. 1633 (with £3,960) Anne, da. and coh. of Lawrence Overton, merchant, of London, wid. of George Chamberlain, Ironmonger of London and John Poole, Mercer and alderman of London, s.p.1 kntd. 12 Aug. 1619;2 suc. fa. 1622.3 bur. 27 Mar. 1646. sig. Jo[hn] Ramsdenn.

Offices Held

Capt. militia ft., Yorks. (W. Riding) 1626, col. by c.1633-42;4 j.p., 1627-d.;5 commr. recusants, northern parts 1628-41, subsidy, W. Riding 1629, 1641-2, oyer and terminer, Northern circ. 1629-42, sewers, W. Riding 1631, Hatfield level, Yorks. Notts. and Lincs. 1636;6 kpr., Selby chase, Yorks. 1634;7 sheriff, Yorks. 1636-7;8 commr. Poll Tax, W. Riding 1641, payment of billeting arrears 1641, assessment 1641-2, Irish aid 1642, array, Yorks. 1642.9

Col. of ft. (roy.) 1643-5.10


Ramsden came from a family of yeoman clothiers who raised themselves into the ranks of the county gentry by judicious purchases of ex-monastic lands in the upper Calderdale. He acquired a new family seat by the purchase of Byram, four miles north-east of Pontefract, but also retained substantial investments in collieries, forges and fulling-mills.11

Ramsden was one of the signatories of the indenture returning Sir Thomas Wentworth* at the Yorkshire election of December 1620, and during the 1628 election, when Sir John Jackson* advised Wentworth that Sir Francis Foljambe* was too obnoxious to Sir John Savile* to secure re-election at Pontefract, Ramsden took his place.12 He left no trace on the records of the Parliament, but during the recess he accompanied Jackson to Pontefract ‘to know what service the townsmen would command them’. While there, he participated in a ‘general hunting’ mounted as a snub to Sir Thomas Savile*, gamekeeper of the honour. In March 1629, he was one of the local gentry to whom a clothiers’ petition against the new Leeds corporation was referred as those ‘who best understand the nature of clothing’.13

Ramsden remained attached to the Wentworth interest during the 1630s, and was commended for collecting all of the Yorkshire Ship Money quota of £12,000 with which he was charged during his tenure as sheriff. He was re-elected to the Short Parliament, but in July 1640 he presumably offended Wentworth by signing the Yorkshire petition against unruly soldiers, and at the autumn election he was replaced at Pontefract by Wentworth’s cousin, Sir George Wentworth† of Woolley.14

Ramsden drafted his will on 3 Sept. 1642, on the eve of the Civil War, settling many of his smaller properties on trustees including Sir William Savile† and Sir Edward Osborne, 1st bt.*, which assets were to be sold after his death to settle his debts. Initially one of those who attempted to preserve Yorkshire’s neutrality, he subsequently joined the royalist cause, serving at Pontefract castle. After the surrender of this garrison, he went to Newark, where he was buried on 27 Mar. 1646. His grandson was created a baronet after the Revolution; but the family did not sit in the Commons again until the reign of George II, when the 3rd baronet represented Appleby in four Parliaments as an independent Whig.15

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Karen Bishop / Simon Healy


  • 1. J. Foster, Yorks. Peds. (W. Riding); London Mar. Lics. ed. J. Foster, 1110; Vis London (Harl. Soc. xvii), 97.
  • 2. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 173.
  • 3. C142/393/165.
  • 4. Beaumont Pprs. ed. W.D. Macray (Roxburghe club, cxiii), 54; Add. 28082, f. 80.
  • 5. C231/4, f. 239v.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 204; Fairfax Corresp. ed. G.W. Johnson, i. 210; SR, v. 61, 83; C181/4, ff. 14v, 82; 181/5, f. 106.
  • 7. Add. Ch. 45901.
  • 8. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 163.
  • 9. SR, v. 107, 115, 141, 150; Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 10. P.R. Newman, Roy. Officers in Eng. and Wales, 310.
  • 11. J.T. Cliffe, Yorks. Gentry, 97; C142/393/165; P. Ahier, Legends and Trads. Huddersfield, 40; W.B. Crump and G. Ghorbal, Huddersfield Woollen Ind. 44.
  • 12. Beaumont Pprs. 43-4; C219/37/321; Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 34.
  • 13. Star Chamber Cases ed. S.R. Gardiner (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxxix), 145-8; H. Heaton, Yorks. Woollen and Worsted Ind. 225-6; CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 500.
  • 14. Strafforde Letters, ii. 82; CSP Dom. 1636-7, p. 428; 1637-8, p. 19; 1640, pp. 523-4.
  • 15. PROB 11/199, f. 335; F. Drake, Eboracum, 160; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xxiii. 371.