Available from Boydell and Brewer
|1558/9||SIR NICHOLAS ARNOLD 1|
|RICHARD PATE 2|
|1562/3||SIR NICHOLAS ARNOLD|
|17 Nov. 1584||LUKE GARNONS|
|20 Sept. 1586||RICHARD PATE|
|15 Oct. 1588||THOMAS ATKINS|
|RICHARD BIRDE II|
|6 Sept. 1597||WILLIAM OLDSWORTH|
Gloucester received a renewal of its charter in 1561, vesting the government of the city in a mayor (elected by the aldermen and 12 common councilmen), recorder, town clerk (or deputy recorder), two sheriffs, 12 aldermen, various minor officials and a common council. The election writs went direct to the city sheriffs and some four or five hundred citizens could vote at the elections held at the guildhall. The size of the electorate, while ensuring independence from outside patrons, encouraged contested elections and faction struggles.
In 1559 and 1563 the first seat went to a country gentleman whose candidature should have been disallowed on the ground that an ordinance of 1555 had forbidden canvassing or voting for an outsider. True, Sir Nicholas Arnold was Arthur Porter’s brother-in-law, and he may have been supported by the commoners, but Porter himself had to go to Aylesbury for a seat in 1559. Clearly the whole story behind Arnold’s elections is not known: he was the only Gloucester MP in this period who was not a borough official. His fellow MP in 1559 and 1563 was the recorder Pate. However, in 1571 Pate was defeated by his deputy Atkins, who, relying on popular support, was returned to six consecutive Parliaments. This was humiliating for Pate, who applied for a new writ at least in 1572, and eventually accompanied Atkins to the Parliament of 1586. Atkins, though still supported by the popular party, was defeated at the 1597 election, and, although by this time in debt, embarked on extensive and fruitless litigation in Star Chamber.3
Author: P. W. Hasler
An account of Gloucester is one of the set pieces in Neale, Commons, 272-81. See also DUDLEY, Sir Robert.