DEPDEN (DEBDEN), Nicholas (c.1520-88), of Ludford, Salop and Aston in Kingsland, Herefs.

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. c.1520 s. of one Depden of Brampton, Suff. m. by 1553 Catherine, da. of Thomas Trentham of Shrewsbury Salop, wid. of Thomas Hakluyt (d.1544) of Eyton in Leominster, Herefs. and of Edmund Foxe (d.1550) of Ludford.1

Offices Held

Commr. relief, Herefs. 1559; escheator Feb.-Nov. 1561.2


Nicholas Depden came of a gentle family in Suffolk. About 1545, while still of ‘tender years’, he was persuaded by one Gregory Payne to part with property in Lowestoft for £60, ‘not knowing the goodness thereof’. At the sale Payne agreed to let Depden have the property back, but before his death he sold it to another for 300 marks, whereupon Depden’s nephew evicted the new purchaser. To establish his title to the property Depden brought an action in the court of requests in 1571, with what result is not known. A deposition made two years later by the 36 year-old nephew reveals that he could not recognize Depden, who had made his career in the Welsh marches. Depden had presumably done so under the aegis of Robert Townshend, whose family had a house at Depden’s native village of Brampton. A lawyer-member of the council in the marches who became chief justice of Chester, Townshend was perhaps Depden’s master as well as patron, for in 1546 Depden collected his conciliar fee. He may also have arranged Depden’s marriage with the widow of two of his former colleagues on the council, a match which, if it was worth the dispute with her stepson Richard Hakluyt over the settlement his father had made on her, was to prove an unhappy one which ended in separation.3

Until the marriage broke up in 1565 Depden lived at Ludford, where in 1553 he was assessed towards the subsidy on goods worth £20. His wife had property in Leominster, but it was his link with the council in the marches which probably accounts for his election there to Mary’s third Parliament. For quitting this Parliament before its dissolution he was prosecuted in the King’s bench, but although a writ of venire facias was directed to the sheriff of Herefordshire no further process against him is recorded. At the outset of Elizabeth’s reign he was given a part in local administration, and he was later to reappear in the Commons, but despite a commendation as a ‘favourer of religion’ in 1564 he did not become a justice of the peace. In his will of 5 Mar. 1588 he named his ‘good friend’ Robert Townshend residuary legatee and executor and his ‘special friend’ Henry Townshend overseer. The will was proved on 5 Sept. following.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Aged 68 ‘or thereabouts’ in 1588, NLW Hereford consist. ct. wills, box 4 De-Di. Req.2/91/56; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 133.
  • 2. E179/237/40.
  • 3. Req.2/91/56; E405/115, m. 6v; C1/1302/3.
  • 4. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), xii. 126-8; E179/117/218; KB27/1176, r. 16; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 14, 19; Cath. Rec. Soc. xiii. 113; NLW Hereford consist. ct. wills. box 4 De-Di.