RAGG, Robert (by 1517-53 or later), of Derby.
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Family and Education
b. by 1517, poss. s. of William Ragg of Wirksworth.1
Bailiff, Derby 1538-9, 1546-7.2
Robert Ragg was usually styled gentleman, but his enemies called him yeoman. He may have been the son of the William Ragg, described as a yeoman of Wirksworth, who in 1503 was pardoned for aiding and abetting Roger Vernon in the abduction and rape of Margaret Kebell: before the suppression of Darley abbey a William Ragg had purchased the next presentation to Mackworth church, and in 1543 by virtue of a prior arrangement with the abbot Robert Ragg appointed a new incumbent to the living.3
Whatever his chief occupation, Robert Ragg probably derived part of his income from coal mining. It appears that before the Dissolution the abbot of Darley had leased to him for £5 a year certain coal pits and mills at Ripley and had allowed him timber to work the pits. Ragg retained the pits until at least 1542, but in the course of the following five years he sold his interest to Thomas Sutton, who was to be his fellow-Member in 1547. By March 1545 Ragg was the tenant of property called St. Helen’s in Derby. From the prveious year until at least April 1549 he and Oliver Thatcher, his fellow-bailiff during 1538-9, leased the tithes and certain tithe barns in Derby, altogether worth £33 12s.5d.: these were still held by Ragg in May 1553. He appeared before the Exchequer on two occasions during 1546 on charges of keeping a dicing house and a bowling alley in Derby: a day was appointed for the allegations to be heard before a local jury but no further process is recorded.4
Ragg’s Membership of Parliament was presumably the natural extension of his municipal career. If the allegations made against him in the previous year had been substantiated, the honour of representing his home town in 1547 may have come second in his mind to the freedom from arrest that it conferred, a privilege which perhaps also throws some light on his return to the following Parliament, when his name was inserted over an erasure on the town’s indenture. Nothing is known about Ragg’s part in either Parliament, and the date of his death has not been discovered.5