CRADOCK, Francis (c.1547-94), of Brocton, nr. Stafford and the Middle Temple, London.

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

b. c.1547, s. of Matthew Cradock of Stafford by Elizabeth (d.1596). educ. M. Temple 1566, called. m. 31, Oct. 1580, Mirabelle, da. of William Byrde of London, at least 1s. suc. fa. c.1592.

Offices Held

Recorder, Stafford by 1583.1


Of a family of wool merchants, Cradock became a lawyer, and his fortunate marriage to the daughter of a former customer of London raised his status sufficiently for several city men to put forward his name to Lord Burghley as a commissioner, to serve, for example, in investigating lead mining interests in 1581. In July 1585 Burghley appointed him deputy to Sir Amias Paulet in his capacity as steward for the sequestrated lands of Thomas, 4th Lord Paget, an agent of Mary Queen of Scots. In 1588 Cradock was called on by the Privy Council to give evidence before the Earl of Shrewsbury and the Staffordshire deputy lieutenants about a priest and his shelterer.2

Cradock was returned for Stafford to every Parliament held between his being appointed recorder and his death. He was an active Member from the start, being named to at least five committees in his first Parliament: concerning the private bills of Edward Fisher (15 Dec.) and Sir Thomas Lucy (17 Dec.), fraudulent conveyances (18 Feb. 1585), libellers (19 Feb.), and the maintenance of highways and bridges (24 Feb.). In the debate on the Queen’s safety, 9 Mar. 1585, he spoke in favour of a proviso that the Queen ‘at her discretion, by proclamation and enrolment in the three courts of record, might repeal it or any part’. This was rejected as ‘a dangerous precedent’. The journals of the 1586 Parliament do not give sufficient details about the committees to enable an assessment of his contribution to be made, though he was probably the Mr. ‘Charnocke’ on the committee of the bill (25 Feb. 1587) for the attainder of Lord Paget. On 15 Feb. 1589 he spoke on the first reading of the purveyors bill, and was appointed to its committee. On 27 Feb. he was one of those appointed by the Commons to discuss with the Lords the Queen’s dislike of the purveyors bill. On 22 Feb. he served on a private committee and on the 25th he introduced a bill for the ‘perfecting of divers statutes’ which received a first reading. He was again an active committeeman in the 1593 Parliament, taking a special interest in the abortive bill against recusants, which, after being introduced in two forms in the Commons, was finally allowed to sleep and replaced by a new bill originating in the Lords. He spoke at length on the second reading of the original bill, 28 Feb., stressing that ‘it were fit every part of it were considered of and reformed’. His suggestions were liberal. He was against driving recusants to extremes. Things to be considered were ‘whether it be good to deprive them of all their goods, for so we shall leave them no means of living’ and whether, recusants being reconciled, then lapsing, ‘and afterwards be newly reconciled again, shall be enabled to take benefit of their lands and goods: for ’tis hard if, after their repenting they be not restored’. Cradock was named to the committee re-considering the bill, and on 20 Mar. reported

that he and the residue of the committee have met together, and upon good considerations have thought good to amend sundry things in the said bill. And opening unto the House the effects of some amendments ... it was ordered ... that they should be inserted into the said bill accordingly.

He also served on committees concerning the subsidy (1 Mar.), a private bill (8 Mar.) and a legal bill (9 Mar.).3

Cradock died 19 Apr. 1594, leaving a son Walter, aged nine, who was possibly himself an MP in 1601.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


  • 1. Add. 19125; Lansd. 31, f. 168; C142/239/97; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. i), 68; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), i. 379; PCC admon. act bk. 1593, f. 43.
  • 2. Erdeswick’s Surv. Staffs. p. lviii; CPR, 1558-60, pp. 24, 411; APC, xxiv. 371; Lansd. 31, f. 168; 46, f. 24; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 544.
  • 3. D’Ewes, 339, 340, 353, 355, 364, 432-3, 437, 438, 440, 476, 477, 481, 495, 496, 498, 503; Harl. 7188, f. 92; Lansd. 43, anon. jnl. f. 173; Neale, Parlts. ii. 282-6.
  • 4. C142/239/97.