HARCOURT, Robert (d.1588), of Ronton Abbey, Staffs.

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 Sir John Harcourt, and bro. of Michael and Simon. m. Elizabeth, wid. of Robyns, citizen and merchant of London, s.p.; 1s. illegit.1

Offices Held


If the above identification is correct, Harcourt’s return may be attributed to his elder brother, Simon.

Harcourt was a merchant of the staple by June 1558 and married the widow of a London merchant. He appears to have been in trouble about 1576 over the purchase with Simon of the Staffordshire manor of Chebsey from Edward Stafford, and was apparently outlawed for a time. In 1583 he arbitrated in a dispute between the sons of Robert Harcourt of Ronton Hall. In his will, made 24 Mar. 1587 and proved 26 June 1588, he asked to be buried near his wife at Chebsey, where a monument was to be placed bearing the arms of the staple. He noted that Sir Edward Stafford owed him £1,000. He made numerous bequests of sheep. From his property in Berkshire £8 a year was to be paid for the maintenance at Oxford of ‘a poor scholar . . . whom I have brought up and kept of late time at learning’. The remainder of his estate was to go to his illegitimate son Thomas Parkins, a minor, who was to execute the will under the supervision of Michael and Walter Harcourt and his cousin Robert Harcourt of Gnosall. This namesake was the illegitimate son of Robert Harcourt (d.1558) of Ronton Hall. If, as is possible, Robert Harcourt of Gnosall was the 1563 Tamworth MP, this would explain why the name appears in second place on the Crown Office list of members.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Alan Harding


  • 1. Vis. Staffs. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. iii, pt. 2), 91; Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 590-1; PCC 59 Rutland.
  • 2. J.C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), i. 362; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. (ser. 3) 1914, pp. 95-7; Vis. Staffs. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. iii), 91-2, 95-6; Erdeswick’s Surv. Staffs. 133-6, 174; VCH Warws. iv. 77, 191; CPR, 1553 and App. p. 131; 1557-8, p. 301; 1558-60, pp. 25, 147, 412; Lansd. 85, ff. 79, 83; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 527; PCC 59 Rutland.