STANHOPE, Henry (c.1606-1634), of Shelford, Notts.; later of Boughton Malherbe, Kent and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster

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.1606,1 2nd s. of Philip Stanhope, 1st earl of Chesterfield (d.1656) and 1st w. Catherine, da. of Francis Hastings†, styled Lord Hastings; bro. of Arthur† and Ferdinando†. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1622. m. 4 Dec. 1628, Katherine (d. 9 Apr. 1667), da. and coh. of Thomas Wotton, 2nd Bar. Wotton of Marley, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. KB 1 Feb. 1626; styled Lord Stanhope 4 Aug. 1628. d. 29 Nov. 1634.2

Offices Held


Stanhope was descended from John Stanhope, who acquired a Nottinghamshire estate by marriage and sat for Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1359 and 1360.3 Members of the Stanhope family regularly represented the county from 1402. The family estates were substantially enlarged when Sir Michael Stanhope acquired Shelford priory, in southern Nottinghamshire, and other former monastic lands at the Reformation. After rising to become groom of the stool to Edward VI and custos rotulorum of Nottinghamshire, Sir Michael was executed after the fall of Protector Somerset.4 His son, Stanhope’s great-grandfather, Sir Thomas Stanhope, was returned for Nottinghamshire in 1586 but was defeated when he stood again seven years later thanks to the implacable enmity of the 7th earl of Shrewsbury (Gilbert Talbot†).5 Although Talbot influence in Nottinghamshire politics declined in the Jacobean period, neither Stanhope’s grandfather nor his father were elected to Parliament. In 1616 the latter was created 1st Lord Stanhope of Shelford on payment of £10,000 to secretary of state Sir Ralph Winwood*, despite Sir John Holles’* objections that he had twice been indicted for sodomy and recently implicated in a murder committed by one of his servants. The latter accusation at least seems to have been unfounded.6

Stanhope became his father’s heir when his elder brother John died in 1623, and was made a knight of the Bath at the coronation of Charles I. Returned while still under age as knight of the shire to the first two Caroline parliaments, and securing the prestigious first place on the return in 1626, Stanhope left no trace on the surviving parliamentary records. His father, a Forced Loan refuser, was purged from the bench in 1627. The following year Stanhope was returned for East Retford, probably by arrangement with the high steward of the borough Sir Gervase Clifton* in return for the support of Lord Stanhope for Clifton’s candidacy in the county election. Stanhope received no committee appointments and made no recorded speeches in 1628. However he came to the notice of the Commons after he challenged the son of Sir Edward Herbert* to a duel. To prevent the duel king ordered him to keep to his lodgings, but Stanhope refused to heed this instruction, declaring that ‘his honour was above his body’. As a result, on 2 May the Privy Council, without expressing the cause in the warrant, committed him to the Marshalsea. The next day his uncle Sir John Stanhope II* moved the Commons to demand his release, whereupon the serjeant-at-arms was ordered to bring him to the bar. On 5 May he attended with his keeper, but he was not freed by the Council for another two days. Having given security to keep the peace, it was resolved on the motion of (Sir) John Eliot* that ‘he may come when he will into the House’; but there is no evidence that he did so.7

After the 1628 session was prorogued Stanhope’s father was created 1st earl of Chesterfield. Stanhope was married later that year, when Nottinghamshire land worth £1,000 per annum was set aside for his wife’s jointure. He made no recorded contribution to the proceedings of the 1629 session. The married couple seem to have divided themselves between the Wotton estates in Kent and Westminster. He died intestate of smallpox in St. Martin-in-the Fields and was buried on 2 Dec. 1634 at Boughton Malherbe in Kent. Administration of his estate was granted on 13 Feb. 1635 to his widow, who purchased the wardship of their eldest son for £2,000. The latter’s brother Ferdinando sat for Tamworth in the Long Parliament until disabled as a royalist. His widow became governess to Princess Mary, whom she accompanied to Holland. She married a Dutch nobleman and became a central figure in royalist intrigue during the Interregnum, returning at the Restoration to take the courtier Daniel O’Neill† as her third husband. Stanhope’s eldest son succeeded as 2nd earl of Chesterfield in 1656, and his youngest brother Arthur sat for Nottingham from 1660 to 1678.8

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Age calculated from date of admiss. to Christ Church, Oxf.
  • 2. CP, iii. 180-1; Al. Ox.; Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 180; Oxford DNB sub Stanhope, Katherine.
  • 3. Collins, Peerage, iii. 408.
  • 4. HP Commons, 1509-58, iii. 368-9.
  • 5. HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 441-2.
  • 6. CP, iii. 180; C.R. Mayes, ‘Sale of peerages in early Stuart England’, JMH, xxix. 24-5; Oxford DNB sub Stanhope, Philip.
  • 7. R. Cust, Forced Loan, 102, n. 13; APC, 1627-8, p. 393; CD 1628, iii. 233, 236, 258, 275, 324, 332.
  • 8. CSP Dom. 1636-7, p. 285; CP, iii. 180; Oxford DNB sub Stanhope, Katherine; C115/106/8441; Index to Admons. in PCC 1631-48 ed. M. Fitch (Brit. Rec. Soc. c), 391; WARD 9/163, f. 65v; HP Commons, 1660-90, iii. 472-3.