CONINGSBY, Humphrey II (d.1601), of Sopwell, nr. St. Albans, Herts.

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

2nd s. of John Coningsby of North Mimms by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Henry Frowick of Oldford and North Mimms. m. Mary or Maud, da. and coh. of Sir Richard Lee of Sopwell, s.p.1

Offices Held

J.p. St. Albans by 1586, steward of St. Albans from c.1584-8; muster master and provost marshal, Herts. 1589.2


Coningsby was a St. Albans corporation official for some years. The stewards of the borough in the Elizabethan period usually had a legal education, but Coningsby’s name has not been found in the inns of court registers. About 1560 he leased the manor of Sopwell, about a mile south of St. Albans, from Sir Richard Lee: 15 years later, on Lee’s death, he and his wife inherited the property. After resigning the stewardship of St. Albans in September 1588, Coningsby appears in connexion with county rather than borough affairs. The wars in the Netherlands and the levying of troops to fight against the Armada forces had aggravated the problem of ‘sturdy rogues’ in the home counties, and Coningsby, as muster master and provost marshal, was connected with attempts to deal with the problem.3

Coningsby had a fairly active career in Parliament, serving on committees in his first Parliament concerned with hue and cry (4 Feb. 1585) and adultery (3 Mar. 1585). In 1587 he was named to two committees dealing with matters of religion (8 Mar.) and fraudulent conveyances (14 Mar.). He is recorded as suggesting, on 22 Mar. 1587, that a proviso be inserted into the bill for the breeding of horses. In 1589 he was named to the committee appointed at the beginning of the session to deal with questions of privileges (7 Feb.), and with privileges and returns at the beginning of the 1593 and 1597 Parliaments. On 8 Feb. 1589 he moved for ‘better attendance in this House hereafter than hath been of late accustomed’, and was appointed to committees on the subsidy (11 Feb.), a privilege case (12 Feb.) and the Queen’s dislike of the purveyors bill (27 Feb.). In 1593 he served on two committees concerned with the subsidy (26 Feb., 1 Mar.), and one on the assize of fuel (26 Mar.), and in his last Parliament he was named to the monopolies committee on 10 Nov. 1597 and served on committees dealing with the penal laws (8 Nov.), brokers (7 Feb. 1598) and the defence of the realm (16 Jan.).4

He died intestate 22 Feb. 1601 and was buried at St. Peter’s Peter’s church, St. Albans. A dispute arose over his—estate an inventory showed goods worth £189 7s.2d.—between his widow and one Ralph Coningsby, described as his next-of-kin. The sentence, pronounced on 12 Feb. following, granted administration to the widow, by this time married to Ralph or Raphael Pemberton of St. Albans.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.C.H.


  • 1. R. Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 444, where his w. is called Mary; Vis. Herts. (Harl. Soc. xxii), 45, 149; PCC 15 Montague.
  • 2. Lansd. 46, f. 205; mayor’s ct. bk. of St. Albans from 1586, f. 10; CSP Dom. 1581-90, pp. 605, 630.
  • 3. VCH Herts. ii. 413, 426-8, 511; Chauncy, Herts. 459; mayor’s ct. bk. ff. 10, 24.
  • 4. D’Ewes, 346, 362, 413, 415, 417, 429, 430, 431, 432, 440, 471, 474, 481, 510, 552, 553, 555, 581, 594.
  • 5. Cussans, Herts. Cashio (xv-xvi), 289-90, 292; PCC 15 Montague; admon. act bk. 1601.