HANBURY, Richard (c.1534-1608), of Wood Street and Goldsmith's Row, London; later of Datchet, Bucks.

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.1534, s. and h. of John Hanbury of Elmley Lovett, Worcs. by Elizabeth, da. of John Broade of Elmley Lovett. m. Alice, da. of John Jasper Fisher, 2da.1

Offices Held

Member, Goldsmiths’ Co. by 1579.


Minehead burgesses were appointed to two committees on cloth (15, 23 Mar. 1593), but Hanbury’s name does not appear in the proceedings of the House. The Richard Hanbury whose details are given above has been assumed to be the 1593 Minehead MP only for want of another with closer connexions with the borough. His return would presumably have been due to some connexion with the Luttrell family who regularly nominated there. His wife was the daughter of a prosperous, but eccentric Chancery official who had ruined himself building a London house, ‘with gardens of pleasure, bowling alleys and the like’, so large that it earned the name of ‘Fisher’s folly’. Hanbury himself was a rogue who, with partners, including another goldsmith, named Wheeler, exploited the cumbersome structure of the mineral and battery works. Apart from frauds connected with the leases of concessions, his speciality was marketing ordinary iron instead of the special iron required for the wool-card industry, to make which he had been granted special privileges for obtaining fuel. The lessees refused to accept this iron and were sued in the Exchequer, and the iron workers, supported by the mayor and corporation of Bristol and by a commission headed by (Sir) Charles Somerset, drew attention to the widespread unemployment and loss of earnings caused. Burghley and the Privy Council intervened, but Hanbury refused to supply the proper iron until 400 tons of old stock had been accepted. In 1597, to prevent a complete stoppage, the Privy Council ordered him to provide 160 tons p.a. of the special iron at £12 a ton. Eventually, at Easter 1598, he and his partner were committed to the Fleet, and their goods sequestrated. By 25 July the two had come to heel.2

Hanbury and Wheeler, who became his son-in-law, engaged in other enterprises. In 1597 they appropriated goods to the value of £1,894 by fraudulently procuring letters of administration. By this time Hanbury was living at Datchet, having obtained the lease of the manor of Riding, or Ruding court, there in 1586. He also owned property in Stoke Poges and elsewhere in Buckinghamshire as well as lands in Worcestershire, and held leases in the city of London from the Goldsmiths’ and Fishmongers’ companies.3

He died in 1608 and in his lengthy will, made 16 May and proved 23 July of that year, gave £1,000 to Wheeler and his wife, reminding them of £5,000 which, he asserted, they had had from him since their marriage. Nine grandchildren were to receive £500 apiece, and the youngest boy—apparently a favourite—was to have £800. The elder daughter, who had married William Combe, was not mentioned and had probably died by this time. General provision was made for a large number of clerks, servants, friends, ‘the kindred of the Hanburys as shall be in greatest need’, and charity in general. £66 13s.4d. was allotted to build a free school at Feckenham, Worcestershire. The Goldsmiths were bequeathed £100, to be employed in the interests of poor workmen, and two sums of £20 to provide a dinner and a cup (melted down in 1637). Sir James Hanbury, an executor in an advisory capacity, was left £100 and the other executor, John Hanbury, goldsmith, was to receive £200. A Mr. Justice Williams was left £20. Hanbury was buried in Datchet church, where a memorial depicted him kneeling in prayer, accompanied by his wife and two daughters, under a pediment adorned with two Tudor roses and the arms of his family, his company and the city of London.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.


  • 1. J.B. Carrington and G. R. Hughes, Plate of the Goldsmiths, 60; Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 68; PCC 68 Windebanck; APC, xxvi. 450.
  • 2. D’Ewes, 501, 507; Monro, Acta Canc. 343; Lansd. 47, f. 151; 56, f. 163; 75, f. 200; 76, f. 72 seq.; 81, ff. 8, 18; 84, f. 4; W. R. Scott, Joint Stock Cos. ii. 419-23; APC, xii. 309; xxv. 317, 433-5, 450; xxvii. 215, 233-5, 316-18; xxviii. 409, 410, 592-3, 594-5, 611-12, 631.
  • 3. Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 435; APC, xxvi. 511; PCC 68 Windebanck; VCH Bucks. iii. 525.
  • 4. VCH Worcs. iv. 531; PCC 68 Windebanck; VCH Bucks. iii. 293.