Available from Boydell and Brewer
|16 Jan. 1559||FRANCIS NEWDIGATE|
|1571||NICHOLAS ST. JOHN|
|21 Apr. 1572||SIMON BOWYER|
|9 Nov. 1584||RICHARD WHELER|
|ROGER PULESTON I|
|9 Oct. 1586||RICHARD WHELER|
|ROGER PULESTON I|
|20 Oct. 1588||JOHN SEYMOUR|
|JAMES KIRTON I|
|3 Oct. 1597||ANTHONY HUNGERFORD|
|20 Oct. 1601||ANTHONY HUNGERFORD|
Great Bedwyn was a non-incorporated borough owned by the Seymour family, whose seat, Wolf Hall, lay within the parish. It appears to have been among the first properties restored to the family after the Duke of Somerset’s attainder. The precise composition of the Elizabethan electorate is not known, but return was made by the bailiff and burgesses.1
Those MPs who were not the direct nominees of the Earl of Hertford, Somerset’s heir, no doubt enjoyed his implicit approval. Three MPs were related to the Earl of Hertford: Francis Newdigate (1559) was his stepfather; John Seymour (1589) and Henry Ughtred (1589) were both cousins. Thomas Blagrave (1571) was Hertford’s auditor, and James Kirton I (1593) was his steward. Both Richard Wheler and Roger Puleston I, returned in 1584 and 1586, were lawyers retained by the Earl. Sir John Thynne (1563) had been steward to the Duke of Somerset, and Stephen Hales (also 1563) was the brother of John Hales I, author of a pamphlet vindicating the Earl of Hertford’s claim to the succession. Levinus Munck (1601) was Robert Cecil’s secretary and had lent money to Hertford. Henry Clifford (1559) and Nicholas St. John (1571) were Wiltshire landowners and Hertford’s followers in the county. Simon Bowyer (1572), a gentleman usher, and Francis Castilian (1597), son of the Queen’s Italian tutor, probably owed their seats at Great Bedwyn to a court connexion with Hertford. George Ireland (1572), a Lancashire gentleman, had no obvious links with either Hertford or the borough, but he had connexions with the Cliffords, who may have proposed him to the Earl. The remaining MPs were both members of the Hungerford family, whose estates lay near Great Bedwyn and who probably were sufficiently influential in the area to return themselves with Hertford’s approval. The identity of Thomas Hungerford (1593) has not been established.
- 1. Wilts. Colls. 373; Wilts. IPMs (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 20-31; Wards 2/Box 5/22/1; C2l9/26/127; C219/31.