SNYGGE, George (c.1546-1617), of Broad Street, Bristol, Glos. and Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, 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



1604 - 14 Oct. 1604

Family and Education

b. c.1546,1 o. surv. s. of George Snygge, merchant, of Bristol and 1st w. Margaret Tayler.2 educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1564, BA 1566; M. Temple 1567, called 1575.3 m. by 1586,4 Alice, da. of William Yonge, merchant, of Ogbourne, Wilts., 5s. (at least 2 d.v.p.) 7da.5 suc. fa. 1582; 6 kntd. 3 Feb. 1605.7 d. 11 Nov. 1617.8

Offices Held

Reader, M. Temple 1590, 1599, bencher by 1593-1603, treas. 1602-3;9 recorder, Bristol 1593-1605;10 sjt.-at-law 1603;11 bar. exch. 1604-d.;12 c.j. Brecon circ. 1608-17.13

J.p. Glos. and Som. by 1593-d.;14 commr. oyer and terminer, Western circ. by 1602-d., charitable uses, Glos. 1603-9,15 piracy, Bristol 1604, sewers, Glos. 1607,16 subsidy, Bristol 1608;17 member, Council in the Marches of Wales at d.18


According to Snygge’s epitaph, the Snygges had been connected with Bristol since the early fifteenth century.19 One member of the family certainly represented the borough in 1504, and Snygge’s own father was elected mayor in 1574.20 Snygge himself broke with family tradition to become a lawyer, but eventually took his place on the aldermanic bench as recorder. As such he was returned for the city to the last two Elizabethan Parliaments. The diarist Manningham, after relating the quip that Snygge’s ‘nose looked down to see how many of his teeth were lost, and could never get up again’, reported a rumour in February 1603 that he was offering £800 to be made a serjeant; ‘argent makes serjeant’, it was said.21 He attained the coif three months latter after having proclaimed the accession of James I at the High Cross in Bristol.22

Snygge was re-elected in 1604, and named to 20 committees in the opening session of the first Stuart Parliament. He took the chair in the committee for privileges, and complained on 29 Mar. that only ‘some few committees’ had attended one of its meetings.23 He took part in the initial debate on the Buckinghamshire election on 23 Mar.,24 the first of his six speeches, and three days afterwards he was among those ordered to set down what the Speaker should say to the king about it.25 In the debate on the arrest of Sir Thomas Shirley I for debt the same day, he said that ‘if Sir Thomas procured himself extraordinarily to be a burgess he ought not to have this privilege’.26 He was appointed to consider the grievances raised by Sir Edward Montagu (23 Mar.),27 attend the conference with the Lords of 14 Apr. on the Union,28 and prepare for the conference of 21 Apr. on religion.29 He took charge of the bill ‘concerning extortion’ on 14 Apr.,30 and brought it out of committee retitled ‘for the better execution of justice’ four days later.31 The following day he offered ‘a project in writing’ for the continuance of statutes, but the House preferred to leave it to the committee already appointed to draft a bill.32 Snygge was entitled to attend by virtue of his legal dignity,33 but at the second reading on 5 June he offered ‘provisos, exceptions and alterations’.34 As the representative of a port he was also among those appointed to consider the free trade bill (24 Apr.), which was opposed by the London merchants, and he observed on 6 June that some Members who described it as full of faults had ‘never showed any, whereby it might be amended, during the time it was in committee’.35 As a serjeant, he served on the committee for the Neville estate bill and reported it on 29 June.36 He received £30 10s. from his constituency for his attendance and charges.37

Snygge was made a baron of the Exchequer in October 1604, and summoned to the Lords by a writ of assistance when Parliament reconvened in November 1605. On 9 Nov. the Commons considered whether to recall him and the chief baron, Sir Thomas Fleming I, but in the event it was decided not to do so.38 Although Snygge resigned his recordership shortly after his appointment as a judge, he did not forget his home city, and was later able to use his good offices towards Bristol over the imposition on sweet wines.39 Appointed chief justice of the Brecon circuit in 1608, he relinquished this post early in 1617, and in May was reported to be ‘tampering with serjeant [Leonard] Bawtree* and others to put away his place of baron’.40

Snygge drafted a brief will on 12 Mar. 1613. Although at least two of his sons were then alive and were to survive him, he had apparently settled his lands on his eldest daughter Anne, and he named her principal executrix, ‘to pay my debts and to perform the trust I have reposed in her for the preferment of herself and my other daughters’.41 He died at Serjeants’ Inn, Fleet Street, and was buried in St. Stephen’s, Bristol 23 Dec. 1617, having lain in state in Merchant Taylor’s Hall in Bristol for six weeks.42 No later member of the Snygge family sat at Westminster, but his grandson, Thomas Hodges, to whom his daughter eventually left the greater part of the estate, sat for Cricklade in the Short and Long Parliaments.43

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. In 1609 he said he was aged 62, but the inscription on his funeral monument states he was 73 when he died. C24/252/10; I.M. Roper, ‘Effigies of Bristol’, Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xxvii. 113.
  • 2. Vis. Som. ed. Weaver, 130.
  • 3. Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 4. J. Maclean, ‘Fam. of Yonge’ Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xv. 240.
  • 5. Vis. Som. 130; PROB 11/149, f. 168; Bristol RO, Common Council procs. 1598-1608, p. 104.
  • 6. W. Barrett, Hist. and Antiqs. of City of Bristol, 514.
  • 7. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 136.
  • 8. Roper, 112.
  • 9. MTR, 308, 332, 388, 422.
  • 10. Bristol Lists comp. A.B. Beaven, 232.
  • 11. Order of Sjts.-at-Law ed. J.H. Baker (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. v), 538.
  • 12. C66/1637, mm. 22-3.
  • 13. W.R. Williams, Hist. of Gt. Sessions in Wales, 131.
  • 14. Hatfield House, ms 278; C66/2147.
  • 15. C93/3/7, 33.
  • 16. C181/1, ff. 17, 92, 181/2, ff. 23, 307.
  • 17. SP14/31/1, f. 15.
  • 18. T. Rymer, Foedera, vii. pt. 3, p. 21.
  • 19. Roper, 113.
  • 20. Barrett, 514.
  • 21. Manningham Diary ed. R.P. Sorlien, 89, 173.
  • 22. Roper, 113.
  • 23. CJ, i. 938a.
  • 24. Ibid. 934b.
  • 25. Ibid. 156b.
  • 26. CD 1604-7, pp. 28-9.
  • 27. CJ, i. 151b.
  • 28. Ibid. 172a.
  • 29. Ibid. 178a.
  • 30. Ibid. 946b.
  • 31. Ibid. 176a.
  • 32. Ibid. 177a.
  • 33. Ibid. 152b.
  • 34. Ibid. 232b.
  • 35. Ibid. 987b.
  • 36. Ibid. 238b, 249a.
  • 37. Bristol RO, mayor’s audit bk. 1599-1604, p. 216.
  • 38. CJ, i. 257a.
  • 39. J. Latimer, Annals of Bristol in Seventeenth Cent. 36.
  • 40. HMC Hastings, iv. 16.
  • 41. PROB 11/131, f. 86v.
  • 42. C142/377/95; Barrett, 514.
  • 43. PROB 11/149, ff. 168-9; Abstracts of Glos. Inquisitiones Post Mortem ed. W.P.W. Phillimore and G.S. Fry (Index Lib. ix), 53.