CALFIELD (CALFEHILL, CAULFEILD), George (d.1603), of Kettle Hall, Oxford.

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

s. of Alexander Calfield of Great Milton, Oxon. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1561, BA 1567; G. Inn 1568, called 1581. m. by 1577, Martha, da. of Richard Taverner of Wood Eaton, Oxon., at least 4s. 2da.1

Offices Held

Ancient, G. Inn 1584, pensioner 1594, reader (but respited) 1595, bencher 1597; freeman, Oxford 1586, one of the 13, 1591; j.p. Oxon. by 1599, Brec., Glam. and Rad. by 1601; 2nd justice of assize, Brec., Glam. and Rad. 1600.2


Calfield presumably owed his first return to Parliament to a contemporary at Gray’s Inn, Robert Raunce, who had acquired a lease of the fee farm of Chipping Wycombe borough from the dean of Windsor. In his will, Raunce made Calfield joint trustee of his lands.3

Why, for his next Parliament, Calfield was returned by the city of Oxford is unexplained. He was a graduate of the University, and the family homes of himself and his wife were less than ten miles away, but that he was then resident—one of the city’s two qualifications for a burgess of Parliament—is open to doubt, and he did not satisfy the other—that only a freeman might be a burgess—until at the very last moment the city conferred its freedom upon him and then immediately chose him as ‘the other burgess’ to accompany Francis Knollys, the steward’s son. But he was a lawyer, and until his death 17 years later he served the city as its legal adviser and regular parliament man, resident for some part of the time in Dr. Kettle’s ‘new building in Canditch’ (where Broad Street now is), receiving in return the fees and expenses appropriate to his professional ‘travail’ as well as occasional gifts of wine and gloves, but no parliamentary wages. In September 1591, after he had attended two Parliaments as Member for Oxford and been ‘suitor’ to Lords Buckhurst and Cobham for a settlement of the current dispute between town and University, the ‘roomes’ (i.e. rank) of chamberlain and bailiff were conferred upon him—without fee—‘in consideration that he had taken great pains for this city, being burgess of the Parliament ... and had not anything allowed him ... towards his charge and expense therein’. On the same day he was elected one of the 13 ‘associates’, the inner cabinet of the town council, a position which he retained for life.4

The first mention of Calfield in the parliamentary journals comes in 1593, when he was appointed (19 Mar.) to a committee concerned with the lands of Mr. George Ognell. For his part in securing the renewal of an earlier Act for the repairing of bridges and roads in the vicinity of Oxford he was repaid £4 10s.‘which he laid out in the Parliament house’ plus 30s.‘for other expenses concerning the same’. Also, he was excused the £5 admission fee which he should have paid when he became an associate. In 1597 he served on a committee concerned with corn (8 Dec.). As burgess for Oxford he was appointed to committees on brewers (3 Apr. 1593), bread (13 Jan. 1598) and the parsonage of Rotherstone (2 Dec. 1601), reporting the progress of this last bill to the House on 4 Dec.5

Judging from the number and variety of its calls upon him, Oxford may well have been Calfield’s foremost client, but doubtless he attended on others, in London as in the city. His inn, too, had to be served. Recognizing ‘his degree and calling at the Common Laws’ and ‘his good readiness and ability at all times to advise the counsel the mayor of this city’, Oxford in April 1597 resolved that he should ‘have and take his place with the senior alderman’ and so be nearer the mayor with his advice. A further gratification followed in July: the sum of 20 marks ‘against his reading in Gray’s Inn’. He is said to have been Oxford’s recorder, but he was not: Robert Atkinson still lived and functioned, and indeed outlived him.6

Calfield died intestate in October 1603. Administration of his estate was granted to his son and heir Alexander, on 5 May 1604. Owing to Alexander’s illness, administration was re-granted in 1610 to two other children. Another son, William, became end Baron Charlemont [I] when the 1st Baron, Caifield’s younger brother Toby, died unmarried in 1627.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: H.G.O. / E.L.C.M.


  • 1. CP, iii. 134-5; Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 148; PCC admon. act bk. 1610, f. 201.
  • 2. H. E. Salter, Oxford Council Acts (Oxford Hist. Soc. lxxxvii), 29, 65; W. R. Williams, Welsh Judges, 130.
  • 3. PCC a Windsor.
  • 4. Oxford Council Acts, 47, 64, 226, 376; H. E. Salter, Oxford City Properties (Oxford Hist. Soc. lxxxiii), map facing p. 270; Oxfordshire Place-names (Eng. Place-name Soc. xxii), 21.
  • 5. Oxford Council Acts, pp. xliii, 78; D’Ewes, 503, 514, 569, 579, 662, 667.
  • 6. Oxford Council Acts, 110, 113; CP, iii. 135.
  • 7. Oxford Council Acts, 157; PCC admon. act bk. 1604, f. 201; 1610, f. 193d; CP.