LONG, Robert (1515/16-81), of Draycot Cerne, Wilts.

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




Family and Education

b. 1515/16, 1st surv. s. of Sir Henry Long of Draycot Cerne by 2nd w., and bro. John. m. by 1560, Barbara, da. of Sir Edward Carne of Ewenny, Glam., 4s. inc. Sir Walter 1da. suc. fa. 8 Oct. 1556. Kntd. 1575/81.2

Offices Held

?Gent. pens. 1540-c.47; sheriff, Wilts. 1575-6.3


Robert Long, the heir to a leading Wiltshire gentleman, played a surprisingly small part in local administration. He may have spent more time at court, for a Robert Long was among the esquires appointed to welcome Anne of Cleves in January 1540 and a gentleman pensioner of that name served in the French campaign of 1544; these may be references, however, to a prominent London mercer who figured in many lawsuits and received several grants of land before his death in 1552. Otherwise little is known of Robert Long of Draycot’s early life. In 1537 he obtained a 21-year lease of the Benedictine priory of Kingston St. Michael, Wiltshire, and in 1538 a grant of the manor of Calstone, Calne. Six years later he was sued in the Star Chamber by Richard Scrope for trespass in the park at Castle Combe, Wiltshire.4

Long’s election, when only 23, to the junior knighthood of the shire is a gauge of his father’s influence there, although why Sir Henry, who may already have represented the county and was to do so again under Mary, on this occasion made way for his son remains a matter for speculation. Three years later, when the knighthood of the shire went to the dominant figures of Sir Thomas Seymour II and (Sir) William Herbert I, it was natural for Robert Long to retreat to Calne. Draycot Cerne lay in the hundred of Calne and several Members for the borough during the period clearly owed their return to the Long family’s patronage. It is surprising that Long, whose family seems to have been conservative in religion, did not himself reappear in the House under Mary. Furthermore, he was not put on the commission of the peace even after he succeeded his father: only in his closing years did he attain the sheriffdom and receive a knighthood.

Sir Henry Long died on 8 Oct. 1556 and in the following February Robert Long was licensed to enter on his lands. He added to his patrimony by buying property in Wiltshire in 1556-7 but diminished it by the sale of lands at Malmesbury in 1571. He made his will on 2 Mar. 1581, by which date he had been knighted. Besides providing for his wife and leaving annuities to his younger sons, Henry, Robert and Jewel (evidently a godson of the bishop), he bequeathed nine Wiltshire manors and other property to his eldest son, Walter, whom he also appointed sole executor. Thomas Carne and a number of Wiltshire gentlemen, including Sir John Danver and John Snell, whose son Thomas had married Long’s daughter Anne, were appointed overseers. The will was proved on 13 Oct. 1581 and an inquisition of Apr. 1582 found that Walter Long had come of age five days earlier.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/110/167. Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 117-18; PCC 36 Darcy; C142/197/95.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv(1) ii; xix; E179/69/35, 45, ex inf. W. J. Tighe.
  • 4. Ibid. xii, xiv, xv, xix, xx; CPR, 1553, p. 388; VCH Wilts. ii. 261; Wilts. RO, 212A, 37/41/1; St.Ch/2/30/149.
  • 5. C142/110/167, 197/95; CPR, 1555-7, p. 247; Wilts. N. and Q. iv. 265; vii. 112; PCC 36 Darcy.