RAWDON, Marmaduke (1582-1646), of Water Lane, London and Hoddesdon, Herts.

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. 20 Mar. 1582, 3rd s. of Ralph Rawdon of Stearsby, Yorks. and Jane, da. of John Brice of Stillington, Yorks. educ. appr. London c.1599; factor, Bordeaux, c.1610. m. 7 Apr. 1611, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Thomas Thorowgood of Hoddesdon, 10s. (6 d.v.p.) 6da. (2 d.v.p.). kntd. 20 Dec. 1643. d. 28 Apr. 1646.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Clothworkers’ Co. 1608,2 livery 1611, asst. 1628-d., 3rd warden 1629-30, master 1642-3;3 member, French Co. 1611, treas. ?by 1633;4 member, Hon. Art. Co. 1613, president 1631-2;5 ?freeman, Aldeburgh, Suff. 1628;6 ?member, Levant Co.;7 member, New River Co. 1619.8

Capt. militia ft. London by 1618-42, lt.-col. c.1639-42;9 commr. sewers, Essex and Herts. 1628, 1638,10 common councilman, London by 1631-at least 1639;11 commr. for making an aqueduct from Hoddesdon to London 1631, assurances, London 1632-5, swans, Herts. 1634;12 dep. alderman, Tower Ward, London by 1635;13 commr. array, London 1643.14

Commr. passage 1623, sale of French prize goods 1627.15

Col. of ft. and horse (roy.) 1643-d.; gov. of Basing House, Hants 1643-5, Faringdon, Hants 1645-d.16


Rawdon was a member of the same Yorkshire gentry family, long established at Rawdon, near Leeds, as George Rawdon†, who became secretary to the 1st Viscount Conway (Sir Edward Conway I*) before migrating to Ireland.17 A younger son of a cadet branch, he was apprenticed to Daniel Hall, a member of the London Clothworkers’ Company, but a wine merchant by trade. According to a memoir written by his nephew and namesake, Rawdon was sent to Bordeaux by Hall to act as his factor. He evidently returned home in 1608, when he was made free, but this was probably just a short visit, as he did not settle in London until early 1611.18

By 1620 Rawdon was sufficiently prominent in the London merchant community to be chosen by the wine importers as one of their representatives to negotiate with the Vintners Company, and six years later he was accused of being part of a cartel seeking to buy up all the wine in London.19 According to his nephew his commercial interests were global, although not always successful. He apparently funded an expedition to find the North-West Passage, which produced only a narwhal whale’s tusk ‘of small value’, and was said to have ‘buried about £10,000’ in the early development of Barbados.20 He also had extensive shipping interests, including a sufficiently substantial stake in the Marmaduke of London, valued at nearly £2,000 in the 1650s, to be the vessel’s ‘christener’.21

Rawdon’s wife (the cousin of John Thorowgood*) brought him a small country estate at Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, where he built a compact, brick house in the latest architectural style and constructed ‘a conduit of excellent spring water which he brought a mile and a half in leaden pipes’, with a head carved in the form the Samaritan woman from St. John’s gospel. According to his nephew, ‘King James would often call at his house at Hoddesdon, coming from Royston, and there [they] had pleasant communication together’. Both the French Company, of which he was a prominent member, and the corporation of London, on which he also served, frequently employed Rawdon to negotiate with the Privy Council, where he apparently won the ‘great esteem’ of the duke of Buckingham. As a member of London’s common council, he proposed and carried the almost revolutionary measure that neither he nor his fellow councilmen should be required to take their hats off to the aldermen, or so his nephew asserts.22

As a wine merchant, Rawdon’s trade was undoubtedly adversely affected in the mid-1620s by deteriorating relations with both Spain and France. In response Rawdon turned to privateering. In addition to being appointed a commissioner for French prize goods, he and his partners dispatched four privateers in 1626-7, one of which captured a Brazilian sugar-ship. 23 It may have been this activity that introduced Rawdon to the electorate of Aldeburgh, as the lieutenant of an Aldeburgh privateer gave Rawdon’s name as a character reference on 20 Dec. 1627. Moreover, in the following summer his nephew’s friend Pierre de Salleneuve, a Huguenot refugee, was in command of another privateer.24 There was probably little conflict of interest between Rawdon’s mercantile interest and those of his of his constituents, the borough’s bailiffs having told the Privy Council in 1619 that their port did not trade to the south. Nevertheless they shared a common interest in the health of the English shipping industry, which was threatened in the late 1620s by Dunkirk privateers.25

Rawdon was returned for the junior seat at Aldeburgh in 1628. The borough accounts show that he came to the town at about the time of the election, possibly to be made free. Over the course of the 1628 session he made six recorded speeches and received seven committee appointments. His primary concern was to voice the opposition of his fellow wine merchants to a new imposition, which had been levied in December 1627. This new levy on an already heavily taxed commodity was opposed by his colleagues, a group of whom had been imprisoned in February 1628 by the Privy Council for non-payment.26 On 22 Mar. Rawdon presented a petition against the tax, which was promptly referred to the committee for grievances.27 Speaking at the committee four days later he defended the trade, stating that it ‘employs many ships’ and provided considerable revenue to the Crown. It was, however, too highly taxed, for in some years, he alleged, he spent more in duties than in purchasing the wine. By lowering the customs, he argued, the Crown would benefit as trade would increase.28

The following day Sir Edward Coke reported from the committee in favour of Rawdon’s petition. However, Sir Humphrey May, the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, justified the new duty, stating that after the French had introduced their embargo against English merchants the latter had petitioned the Privy Council to ban imports from France by way of reprisal. The Council had duly agreed to this, but since the English merchants had continued to import French wines they had consented to pay the new imposition in return for permission to land their wares. After May had finished speaking, Rawdon denied that the wine merchants had ever agreed to ban trade with France and claimed instead that they had only appealed to the Council for permission to land wines which had been shipped before the ban. He thereby implicitly denied that they had consented to the imposition. Following this exchange the issue was referred back to the committee.29

A further meeting of the grievances committee on 28 Mar. restated its members’ support for Rawdon’s petition, and three days later Coke recommended on its behalf that the Commons petition the king to rescind the new imposition and release the merchants. A petition to that effect was delivered to Charles on 11 Apr., but he promised only to consult the lord treasurer and chancellor of the Exchequer. There the matter rested, causing Rawdon to complain on 30 Apr. that ‘we hear nothing’ and that meanwhile additional merchants had been arrested. On Rawdon’s motion, secretary of state (Sir) John Coke was ordered to press the king for a further answer. This, however, was not forthcoming until 19 May, when Sir Humphrey May reported that the merchants would be released, although they would have to post bonds to pay ‘whatever shall be found due’. Three days later the Council gave order for their release.30

On 25 Mar. Rawdon tried to draw his colleagues’ attention to the ‘decay of shipping’, which he said was a particular problem in Suffolk. After stating that if the king were supplied ‘speedily and in abundance’, Charles would ‘grant us more than we shall beg him’, he asserted that it would be by addressing economic issues that the Commons would fulfil ‘the trust reposed in us’. He then proceeded to complain of ‘the cessation of building ships’ and praised the shipping industry as a source of ‘very great’ profit and as ‘the jewels that adorn the kingdom, and the walls of the land’.31 He followed through on his call for a generous vote to the king in the supply debate on 4 Apr., when he supported a grant of five subsidies.32 It may have been in response to the economic interests of his constituents that on 26 May Rawdon moved for an end to restrictions on whaling, calling for ‘all the ports [to] have liberty ... if they will’.33 His appointments included committees to recommend to the House ‘what course fittest to be taken about the bill of Tunnage and Poundage’ (13 June) and to hear a petition from merchants and customs officials (20 June).34

In August 1628, during the recess, Rawdon paid £40 to be excused from Company office ‘by reason of his many weighty businesses lying upon him this year to be done and ... his often absence from the City’.35 His three committees in the 1629 session included a bill to forbid the begging of forfeitures before attainder (23 Jan.), an inquiry into the export of corn and munitions to Spain (26 Jan.) and a petition about the postal monopoly (9 February).36 He made no recorded speeches. According to his nephew, for many years thereafter his constituency sent him ‘a small present of excellent fish against Lent’ as ‘an acknowledgment of their thankfulness to him’ for his services in Parliament.37 Perhaps in return, Rawdon acted as a channel of communication between the borough and the Privy Council in the 1630s.38

Rawdon was serving as deputy of his ward by 1635. Despite owning a considerable number of properties in the City and its suburbs, he was ranked only among the second tier of inhabitants judged capable of lending to the king in 1640.39 That same year he unsuccessfully sought re-election for Aldeburgh to the Short Parliament.40 By 1642 he was the most senior captain in the London militia, but he laid down his commission at the start of the Civil War. On 9 Mar. 1643 he presented himself at Oxford and was commissioned to raise an infantry regiment of 1,100 volunteers. In this capacity he was the commander at Basing House during the siege until he clashed with the Catholic peer, John Paulet, 5th marquess of Winchester. He was subsequently appointed governor of Faringdon, part of the outer defences of the royalist capital, where he died after several months’ illness on 28 Apr. 1646. He was buried in the parish church. None of his descendants entered Parliament.41

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Rawden, 317-18, 328-9; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. xvii), 189; Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 217.
  • 2. Clothworkers’ Hall, London, freedom admiss. reg. 1545-1661, f. 111v.
  • 3. Clothworkers’ Hall, London, ct. bk. 1605-23, f. 77v; ct. bk. 1623-36, ff. 77v, 89; ct. bk. 1639-49, f. 67v.
  • 4. Select Charters of Trading Cos. ed. C.T. Carr (Selden Soc. xxviii), 64; CSP Dom. 1633-4, p. 292.
  • 5. Ancient Vellum Bk. ed. G.A. Raikes, 3, 4, 19; G.A. Raikes, Hist. of Hon. Art. Co. i. 70.
  • 6. Suff. RO (Ipswich), EE1/I2/2, f. 50.
  • 7. Rawden, 319.
  • 8. Select Charters of Trading Cos. 111.
  • 9. Grantees of Arms ed. W.H. Rylands (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 209; Names, Dignities and Places of all Collonells, Lieutenant-Collonels, Serjant Majors, Captaines, Quarter-Masters, Lieutenants and Ensignes of City of London (1642); Rawden, 318-19.
  • 10. C181/3, f. 253v; 181/5, f. 112v.
  • 11. CLRO, Jor. 35, f. 348; Jor. 39, f. 36v.
  • 12. C181/4, ff. 93, 129v, 178v; 181/5, f. 9.
  • 13. CSP Dom. 1635, p. 594.
  • 14. Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, v. 323.
  • 15. APC, 1621-3, p. 362; 1627, p. 164.
  • 16. P.R. Newman, Roy. Officers in Eng. and Wales, 311; Rawden, 319-20.
  • 17. Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 565; Oxford DNB sub Rawdon, Sir George.
  • 18. Rawden, 315-18; Clothworkers’ Hall, London, ct. bk. 1605-23, f. 71v.
  • 19. GL, ms 15201/2, ff. 301-2, 410.
  • 20. Rawden, 318-19.
  • 21. CSP Dom. 1654, p. 200; CCSP, ii. 93.
  • 22. Rawden, 318, 327-8; P.M. Hunneyball, Architecture and Image-Building in Seventeenth-Cent. Herts. 27, 47.
  • 23. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 336; 1628-9, pp. 197, 290, 292, 293.
  • 24. CSP Dom. 1627-8, pp. 31, 475; 1628-9, p. 197, Life of Marmaduke Rawdon of York ed. R. Davies (Cam. Soc. lxxxv), 28.
  • 25. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 23.
  • 26. APC, 1627-8, pp. 302, 315-16.
  • 27. CD 1628, ii. 55.
  • 28. Ibid. 126-7, 139.
  • 29. Ibid. 144-5, 184; APC, 1627-8, pp. 256-7, 275.
  • 30. CD 1628, ii. 184, 211, 411, 420; iii. 175, 463; APC, 1627-8, p. 438.
  • 31. CD 1628, ii. 97, 104.
  • 32. Procs. 1628, vi. 63.
  • 33. CD 1628, iii. 612.
  • 34. Ibid. iv. 289, 389.
  • 35. Clothworkers’ Hall, London, ct. bk. 1623-36, f. 75v.
  • 36. CJ, i. 922a, 927b.
  • 37. Rawden, 319; ‘Aldeburgh. Extracts from chamberlain’s acct. bk.’ ed. A.T. Winn, N and Q (ser. 12), viii. 507.
  • 38. HMC Var. iv. 296.
  • 39. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), ii. 114; CCC, 1690.
  • 40. F. Grace, ‘Election at Aldeburgh to the Short Parliament of 1640’ Suff. Review, n.s. x. p. 33.
  • 41. Rawden, 319, 328-30; Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 20; Newman, 311.