ELTOFTES, John (by 1533-59), of the Inner Temple, London.

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



Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1533, yr. s. of Anthony Eltoftes (d. 21 July 1537) of Farnhill, Yorks. by 1st w. Maud, da. and coh. of Thomas Stapleton of Quarmby, Yorks. educ. I. Temple, adm. Feb. 1552. unm.3

Offices Held


John Eltoftes came from a gentle family living near Skipton, a residence of the earls of Cumberland. At least one of his relatives, probably his elder brother Edmund, entered the earls’ service and he himself was to describe Henry, Lord Strange, from February 1555 the 2nd Earl’s son-in-law, as his ‘very good lord’. Eltoftes was probably approaching or just past his majority when he entered the Inner Temple. He died before being called to the bar, but he seems to have intended to make the law his career. In 1555 he was a ringleader at the Temple in defying an order against beards and was fined 40s. for growing one. Two years later he was appointed auditor for the steward’s account and he was to refer to himself in his will as one of the ‘compeers’ of the inn. In 1557 he and Lord Strange were enfeoffed of the manor of Brackley by Strange’s father, the 3rd Earl of Derby, through whom his services were also retained by the Howards of Naworth in Cumberland and by Lord Dacre.4

Eltoftes clearly owed his repeated election for Appleby to the Earl of Cumberland, who controlled the borough. One of his fellow-Members, Nicholas Purslow, was also an Inner Templar and another, William Danby, was perhaps a kinsman. Eltoftes did not follow Danby’s example in quitting the Parliament of November 1554 prematurely without leave. In the absence of a return for the borough in 1555, it is not known whether Eltoftes also sat in the Parliament of that year. Everything else known of him comes from his will, made on 6 Mar. and proved on 26 Apr. 1559. After committing his soul to God, the Virgin Mary and the saints, he asked for burial in the choir of the Temple church, ‘dirge with mass and other divine service’ to be ‘said and done’ at the funeral. He provided for his servant Stephen Ellis and relatives, and left rings and papers to Lord Strange as well as £4 to his inn. One half of what remained was to be laid out for the good of his soul and those of his parents and friends, while apart from books belonging to the Earl of Cumberland the rest went to Eltoftes’ cousin and executor Anthony Stapleton.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 2. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 3. Presumed to be of age at election. Yorks. Peds. (Harl. Soc. xciv), 175; Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 301; C142/33/112; PCC 3 Chaynay.
  • 4. Bolton mss 245, f. 1 ex inf. R. Spence; PCC 3 Chaynay; Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 179, 194-5; Northants. RO, Ellesmere mss 172/4/3, N7; NRA 11493 (Howard of Naworth pprs.).
  • 5. Vis. Yorks. 175; PCC 3 Chaynay.