ANSLEY (ANSLOWE), Brian (d.1604), of Kidbrooke and Lee, Kent.

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

Prob. yr. s. of Brian Ansley (d.1536) of Kent by Anne, da. of John Polsted. m. Audrey, da. of Robert Tyurell of Burbrook, Essex, 1s. d.v.p. 3da. (1 d.v.p.).1

Offices Held

Gent. pens. 1564-1603; master of the harriers from 1570; warden of the Fleet by July 1574-bef. 1588; j.p.q. Kent from c.1584.2


Ansley’s father was an officer of the royal cellars under Henry VIII, and he himself was ‘one of the band of gentlemen pensioners to her Majesty the space of 30 years’. He received a monopoly to import steel, another to export coney skins, and the wardenship of the Fleet prison. This last he farmed for £100. ‘In Mr. Anslowe’s time’, it was later reported, ‘were insurrections, slaughter of servants, and irons and stocks inflicted.’ As far as is known, Ansley was as unconnected with Peterborough as he was with the county—unless he inherited his father’s office of woodward of Braden, near Towcester—and it was unusual for the borough to be represented by the strangers at this time. Presumably his return was due to Cecil influence, after Henry Cheke had chosen to sit for Bedford.

Towards the end of his life Ansley fell ‘into such imperfection and distemperature of mind and memory’ that he was thought ‘altogether unfit to govern himself’. He was cared for by his younger surviving daughter, Cordell, who claimed that her sister Grace’s husband Wildgoose wished to have Ansley ‘begged for a lunatic, whose many years’ service to her late Majesty deserved a better agnomination’. Ansley resolved the situation by dying, 7 July 1604, leaving Cordell executrix, who proved the will the same day. Wildgoose unsuccessfully challenged the will, and Cordell erected a monument in Lee church, where Ansley was buried on 13 July 1604, ‘at her own proper cost and charges in further testimony of her dutiful love ... against the ungrateful nature of oblivious time’.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Wards 7/41/171; Hasted, Kent (ed. Drake), i. 124 n, 136-7, 247 et passim; Rylands Eng. ms 296, f. 113; Athenaeum, 2 Sept. 1876 quoting M.I.
  • 2. E407/1/6; E163/14/8, f. 17; OEconomy of the Fleete (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxv), 191; CPR , 1569-72, p. 56; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 190.
  • 3. HMC Buccleuch, iii. 11; LP Hen. VIII, vii. 147; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 554; 1603-10, p. 190; HMC Hatfield, ii, 209; iv. 257; xv. 262, 265-6; OEconomy of the Fleete, 9, 15, 116, 191; Add 12504, f. 193 seq.; Wards 7/41/171; APC, viii. 274; xviii. 56; xx. 193; xxiii. 203; xxviii. 309; xxix. 142; PPC 36 Hogen, 68, 93 Harte; Reg. St. Margaret, Lee (Lewisham Antiq. Soc. 1888), 41.