CHIPPINGDALE, John (d.1627), of Humberstone, Leics.

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

1st s. of George Chippingdale of Craven, Yorks. by his 1st w. Joan. educ. Fellow, All Souls Oxf. 1565, BCL 1570, DCL 1573. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Garbrand Harkes of Oxford, ?s.p.; (2) Frances Oliver of Houghton, Notts., 5s. (at least 1 d.v.p.) 5da.

Offices Held

Prebendary of Welton Ryval 1575-?1609; commissary of bp. of Lincoln from c.Feb. 1576-at least 1611; doctor of the arches 1576; jt. (with John Dannet 1586-99, with Chippingdale’s son Tobias from 1599) constable and porter of Leicester castle from 1586; commissary of the peculiar of Groby by 1591; master in Chancery by 1601.1

J.p. Leics. 1598.


Chippingdale had puritan sympathies, and his election for Leicester was doubtless favoured by the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. His office as constable of Leicester castle was held from the duchy of Lancaster, but there is no reason to think that the chancellor intervened in the 1588 election. In a letter to the recorder of Leicester, written early in James I’s reign, Chippingdale claimed that his membership of Parliament had been granted without his ‘requesting or seeking it’—which would suggest that the corporation acted independently in choosing him. This may have been so; at that time a trained and experienced lawyer, with the prestige conferred by civil and ecclesiastical office, was a particularly suitable candidate for a borough which had for two years been trying to get a ‘bill signed by Queen Elizabeth’, spending over £100 to no effect. Chippingdale used his influence with one of the masters of requests to get the matter settled: he later complained that he had never ‘had consideration’ from the borough ‘for using the place of their burgess’ in Parliament. In an application for a renewal of his lease of property in Gosling Close and elsewhere in Leicester he reminded the recorder that ‘many other favours have I done and may yet do, if it please God I live, and on the other side may disadvantage them [the borough authorities] if I have no kindness from them’.

In 1593 he proceeded against the townsmen for not grinding corn at the castle mills, and from time to time there was friction between castle and corporation over their respective rights and privileges. In June 1611, during an outbreak of plague in the town, the mayor wrote to Market Harborough:

we are sorry that we are of no better credit with you that a certificate from the mayor and aldermen of the borough cannot satisfy you, unless Mr. Doctor Chippingdale subscribe to the same. As though his insight to the state of Leicester for the sickness of the plague was clearer than ours which are daily over them, and he never.

Still, the corporation found Chippingdale useful in various ways. He described himself as the ‘servant’ of Sir Robert Cecil, to whom he several times appealed on local matters. Chippingdale is last mentioned in the year of his death, 1627, when the chamberlain paid his clerk for two warrants. His chief residence was at Humberstone, about a mile from Leicester, where he bought the rectory and advowson from Christopher Hatton I; within the borough he held leases known as Worship’s Grange, the Bull House, and the one in Gosling Close. His eldest son Tobias pre-deceased him, and the eventual heir was the second son John. The third, William, a merchant, was killed by the Spaniards.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.C.H.


  • 1. Vis. Leics. (Harl. Soc. ii), 157; Nichols, Leics. i. 343n, 589; iv. 632; Somerville, Duchy, i. 565; Lansd. 22, f. 52; C66/ 1549.
  • 2. Thompson, Leicester, 268; Rylands Eng. ms 874, f. 39; Nichols, i. 343n, 452-3, 589; Leicester Recs. iii. 296-8, 447; iv. 15, 24-5, 44, 103, 216, 239; HMC Hatfield, xv. 95; xvi. 409; VCH Leics. iv. 99n, 441; Vis. Leics. 157.