ALFORD, Lancelot (d.c.1616), of Meaux, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

yr. s. of John Alford of Holt, and bro. of John. educ. ?Beverley g.s.; L. Inn Nov. 1567. m. Anne, da. and h. of Sir William Knowles of Bylton, 1s. Kntd. 1603.

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks (E. Riding) from 1561; mayor, Beverley 1591-2, ‘governor’ of Beverley by 1596-8.


Alford was connected with Beverley from an early age. He was presumably named after his uncle Lancelot Alford of Beverley, who died about 1563, and in his will directed that young Lancelot, who was an executor and the sole residuary legatee, should be sent to school at Beverley ‘or some other meet and convenient place’ for three years. He was not to marry under 24 years of age without the consent of the supervisors, Christopher Estofte and Roger, Francis and John Alford. The Lincoln’s Inn admission register describes the Alford admitted in 1567 as ‘of Cheshire’, but it seems likely that he was in fact the future MP.

The most important property bequeathed to Alford by his uncle was the lease of Meaux abbey, which had been held by the family since 1540. In October 1586 he made a new arrangement about the estate with Christopher Hatton who granted him the site of the abbey, and early in James I’s reign Alford leased woods and pastures in the district for 40 years at £45 annual rent and ‘32s. increase by the price of two sheep for his Majesty’s household.’

A county official in Yorkshire for 20 years or more, a member of the commission of the peace, and one of those responsible for musters in the wapentake of Holderness, Alford was for some time also a leading member of the Beverley corporation. In October 1592 he was elected a justice there when John Truslove relinquished the post on becoming mayor, but in January 1595 he was, at his own request, ‘discharged of his place of justice of the peace ... for that he hath divers suits and businesses in London’. During his period of office at Beverley he and Truslove were granted letters of attorney to represent the town in an Exchequer suit against Michael Wharton. The last reference found to Alford is in May 1598, when he was ‘displaced at his own request’ from the governing body of Beverley. The exact date of his death is unknown, but on 15 Sept. 1616 letters of administration were granted to his son Sir William.

Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 486; Lansd. 51, f. 4; 94, f. 139; Beverley Recs. (Yorks Arch. Soc. rec. ser. lxxxiv), 36, 96-101 passim; York prob. reg. 17, f. 269; Rylands Eng. ms 310; G. Poulson, Hist. Holderness, i. 84-5; ii. 315; PRO Index 6802; PCC admon. act bk. 1616.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.C.H.