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

Offices Held


The Robert Vaughan who sat for Grampound in Mary’s third Parliament has not been identified. He is almost certainly to be distinguished from Robert Vaughan I, elected on the same occasion for New Radnor Boroughs; a double return for these widely separated constituencies is improbable and there is no trace of a by-election at either. Yet unlike his Radnor colleague, who was a local man, the Member for Grampound had no known link with that borough, a circumstance reflected in the fact that both his own name and his fellow-Member George Tadlowe’s were inserted on the indenture in a different hand from that of the document. Tadlowe is thought to have enjoyed the patronage of William Paulet, Marquess of Winchester, and Winchester’s relative by marriage the 12th Earl of Arundel, and to have come in for Grampound through the influence of the Arundells of Lanherne. Although no connexion along these lines can be inferred for Vaughan, he could have enjoyed one of his own. If he was the clerk to Oliver Leder, the Six Clerk in Chancery, who under his master’s authority penned a new charter for London in 1547, he might have been sponsored by (Sir) Walter Mildmay, for besides being Leder’s colleague in the duchy of Lancaster Mildmay was an official in the duchy of Cornwall. Vaughan’s identification with the chancery clerk would also be suggestive of a family relationship with Stephen Vaughan, who since 1545 had held the clerkship of faculties in Chancery jointly with John Griffith alias Vaughan, perhaps another relative, and this in turn give rise to the supposition that Robert Vaughan was the merchant taylor of that name, this being Stephen Vaughan’s own company. If, like Stephen Vaughan, Robert Vaughan was a tradesman-turned-official he could have sought professional status by entering an inn of court and thus have been the man of that name admitted to Gray’s Inn in 1548. He is not mentioned in Stephen Vaughan’s will of 1549 or in Sir Oliver Leder’s of 1554.1

If Vaughan thus shared a London background with Tadlowe, a haberdasher who rendered political services to the City, his interests may also have touched Tadlowe’s at another point. This turns upon whether he was the Robert Vaughan who wote the prologue and epilogue of the Dyalogue defensyve for women agaynst malycyous detractoures (1542), although perhaps not the poem itself which has been attributed to Robert Burdett (q.v.). Neither the provenance of this work, nor Vaughan’s contribution to it, yields clues to his identity, for the ‘Mistress Arthur Hardberde’ to whom he addressed it remains a mere, if intriguing, name, and the Margaret Vernon whose name he worked into it as an acrostic, although readily identifiable as the first wife of the ‘King of the Peak’, is probably there on Burdett’s account rather than Vaughan’s. Yet the resemblance between his role and Tadlowe’s encouragement of Ralph Robinson is in favour of their having been associated in other activities. No further reference to Robert Vaughan has been found to add to the few and uncertain ones here assembled.2

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. City of London RO, Guildhall, rep. ii, ff. 361v, 367v.
  • 2. HL Bull. ii. 165-72; F. L. Utley, The Crooked Rib, 255-6, 272-3; N. and Q. ccxxi. 537-9; The Arundel-Harington Ms ed. Hughey, i. 302-3; ii. 411-12; information from Dr. Mary L. Robertson of the Huntington Lib.