NEWMAN, George (c.1562-1627), of Canterbury, Kent.

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.1562 s. of Richard Newman. educ. Trinity Hall, Camb. 1581, LLB. 1584, LLD. 1589. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Peter Wycliffe of Wycliffe, Yorks., 1s. 1da.; (2) Mary Gough, 1da.; (3) Sybilla, da. of George Wenland of Allensmore, Herefs., 4s. 4da. Kntd. 12 Nov. 1616.1

Offices Held

Commissary, diocese of Canterbury by 1587; judge of the Admiralty of the Cinque Ports Mar. 1602; master in Chancery extraordinary 1603; member, Coll. of Advocates 30 Jan. 1604; judge, ct. of audience 1617.2


Newman’s background is obscure. By 1587, after spending several years at Cambridge as a student of the civil law, he was Archbishop Whitgift’s commissary for the diocese of Canterbury, retaining the office under Bancroft and Abbot, and exercising the jurisdiction of his principals as ordinaries of the diocese of Canterbury. While he was commissary he obtained the reversion of the office of dean of the arches, but when (Sir) Daniel Dunne died in the autumn of 1617, Newman was passed over, although he did obtain, as consolation, the position of judge of the court of audience.

In March 1602 Henry Brooke alias Cobham II*, 11th Lord Cobham, warden of the Cinque Ports, appointed Newman judge of the Admiralty court of the Ports, granting him as his deputy full powers. These were considerable, as by the sixteenth century the warden, by virtue of his office of admiral, possessed in the Ports all the jurisdiction which the lord high admiral exercised in the rest of the country. Cobham’s successors continued Newman in office until his death, and the state papers and Privy Council registers contain much information about his activities. He dealt with a great variety of business, doing justice in cases involving wreck, fishing rights, and the possession of disputed goods.3

On 16 Oct. 1601, before Newman became judge of the Ports, a common assembly was held at Dover to choose MPs. Newman presented himself, craving

to be admitted a freeman of this town and tendered the sum of five pounds in gold for the redeeming of the same, which, in respect of the good which hereafter he may do for this town ... is repaid unto him again.

He was then elected ‘by general assent and consent of the whole house’. The other Member was nominated by the lord warden. Newman made at least one speech in the 1601 Parliament. On 9 Dec., at the second reading and commitment of a bill for the true making of cloth, he offered a proviso safeguarding the rights of alnagers to seize any cloth sold contrary to law. The House instructed him to place it before the committee. They must have received it favourably, as it was included in the final Act. The barons of the Cinque Ports were appointed to two committees in 1601: the main business committee (3 Nov.) and one on the Severn harbour (21 Nov.).4

Newman died 7 June 1627, leaving property in Kent to his wife and children. In his brief will he bequeathed £10 to Doctors’ Commons. The widow was executrix.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A.G.R.S.


  • 1. P. Parsons, Monuments and Painted Glass in Kent, 259-60; Vis. Kent. (Harl. Soc. liv), 119.
  • 2. Arch. Cant. lvi. 1; HMC 5th Rep. 139; PRO ms index Petty Bag Office: C. Coote, Civilians, 68; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, ii. 105.
  • 3. Parsons, 259; Holdsworth, Eng. Law, i (7th ed.), 599; Arch. Cant. xxii. 103; xxv. 14; xxvi. 22, 36; xlix. 183; lvi. 1; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 99, 105; HMC 5th Rep. 139, 140; HMC 13th Rep. IV, 124, 143; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 117; 1601-3, pp. 233-4; 1603-10, p. 377; 1611-18, pp. 352, 414, 481; 1619-23, pp. 225, 357, 376, 411, 555; 1623-5, pp. 162, 194, 200, 222, 376, 484, 489, 491, 493; 1625-6, pp. 22, 47, 192, 255, 358, 363, 367; Add. 1580-1625, p. 660; APC, 1625-6, pp. 95, 123, 194, 316, 368, 390, 394; 1626 (June-Dec.), 44, 261; 1627 (Jan.-Aug.), 393; K. M. E. Murray, Const. Hist. Cinque Ports, 128-9.
  • 4. Egerton 2095, f. 446; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 298; D’Ewes, 624, 647; Statutes of the Realm, iv. 977.
  • 5. C142/435/122; PCC 65 Skynner.