BECKET, Oliver (by 1532-75/76), of the Middle Temple, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1532, 3rd s. of Gilbert Becket of Cartuther in Menheniot, Cornw. by 3rd w. Jane, da. and h. of John Menwinnick of St. Germans, Cornw.; bro. of Robert. educ. M. Temple, adm. 18 May 1552, called by 1563. m. Margery, 3rd da. and coh. of Sir Richard Pexall of Beaurepaire in Sherborne St. John, Hants by Eleanor, da. of William Paulet, Marquess of Winchester, 2s.1

Offices Held

Auditor, M. Temple 1561.


Although Gilbert Becket made provision for all his children, including Oliver, on his deathbed in 1532, nothing has come to light about Becket’s life until 20 years later, when he was admitted to the Middle Temple. It was presumably to advance himself as a lawyer that he entered Parliament. Family influence and connexions explain his Membership for two boroughs in south-east Cornwall: he may have been helped at Saltash in 1554 by his partner Humphrey Cavell, who was his senior at the Middle Temple, but four years later he could have relied on his family’s standing at West Looe, where the Beckets owned property. Nothing is known about his part in the Commons.2

Becket’s legal practice flourished under Elizabeth, but late in 1571 he was fined £5 for refusing to give the readings at his inn during the autumn. Sometime after November 1575 he received 13s.4d. and some sack from the townsmen of Liskeard but he was dead by the following November, when his chambers were allocated to another barrister. Becket’s son and heir John was a minor at his death, and the property in Hampshire and Wiltshire that he had acquired by marriage apparently passed to his widow, the sister-in-law of Bernard Brocas. His widow remarried one Francis Cotton and died in 1581.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Cornw. ed. Vivian, 25; Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 24; VCH Hants, ii. 502; iv. 166; Cornw. RO, will of Robert Becket.
  • 2. C142/53/40.
  • 3. C3/2/64, 75, 109, 6/42, 31/86, 119/90, 178/1, 31; St. Ch. 5/T34/32; Cornw. RO, Liskeard accts. 1575-6; M.T. Recs. 182, 213; VCH Hants, ii. 502; iv. 203; VCH Wilts. ix. 94.