PLEYDELL, John (by 1535-1608), of Frampton, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

b. by 1535, 7th s. of William Pleydell of Midgehall, Wilts. and Coleshill, Berks. by his w. Agnes; bro. of Gabriel. m. Katherine (?Hawkins).1

Offices Held


The description of John Pleydell, on the return for Cricklade in 1593, as ‘of Frampton’ distinguishes him from four of his nephews and namesakes. They were John Pleydell of the Middle Temple, eldest son of the MP’s brother Toby, who died in 1614;2the two John Pleydells, sons of his brother Virgil, of whom one died in 1590 and the other may have died young;3 and John Pleydell, eldest son of his brother Thomas, of the Shrivenham branch of the family.4 It was probably one of these nephews who was listed in 1582 as a member of the Earl of Hertford’s household at Tottenham.5

As the 7th son of a squire of moderate fortune John Pleydell of Frampton grew up with no great prospects; but the early deaths of his brothers Anthony and Virgil may have helped to improve them. William Pleydell, who died in 1555 or 1556, showed his regard for his youngest son by making him co-executor with his mother, and Agnes Pleydell did the same when she named him sole executor and residuary legatee in 1567. It does not appear that John was involved in the misadventures of his brother Gabriel during the reign of Mary, although both were then living at Midgehall, the manor near Wootton Bassett of which their father had taken a 95-year lease from the abbot of Stanley in 1534 and which he had sub-leased to Gabriel in September 1553. John Pleydell continued to describe himself as ‘of Midgehall’ during the first years of Elizabeth’s reign, but it is likely that strained relations with his wayward brother (who was unsuccessfully to challenge their mother’s will) made him desirous of living elsewhere. In January 1562 he bought the manor and rectory of Ampney Crucis, and the reversion of leases on them for upwards of £1,100, and he probably made his residence there for the next 30 years. He also had a house at Marridge, near Ramsbury, but this he sold in 1575.6

It was not until 1592 that John Pleydell began to acquire an estate at some distance from his family’s native territory. Since these are the first transactions in which his wife Katherine is found joined with him they perhaps followed a late marriage, and if, as is possible, Katherine was a Hawkins of Winchcomb the location of the properties would also be explained. In 1592 the couple bought the manor of Frampton; in 1593 they added the neighbouring Alderton, and two years later rounded off their purchase with the manor of Prescott. The properties cost them in all £1,620. Situated to the north-west of Winchcomb, on the eastern edge of the Vale of Avon, the new estate was separated by the Cotswolds from the older Pleydell lands at the head of the Thames Valley. It seems likely that at the same time as he bought Frampton John Pleydell parted with Ampney Crucis.7

But if it was Frampton which gave John Pleydell the standing for membership of the Commons, it was the borough of Cricklade, in the older Pleydell country, which provided him with a seat there. He had been preceded to Westminster by a number of his relatives: besides his brother Gabriel, his nephew and great-nephew by marriage, William and Henry Bayliffe, had both sat, as had Charles Danvers, a connexion of Henry Bayliffe’s wife. In emulating them John Pleydell would naturally have sought the favour of the Brydges family, which controlled the representation of Cricklade, for Frampton lay within three miles of the Brydges residence at Sudeley. It is indeed likely that Pleydell paid court to the Queen when she passed through Alderton on her way to Sudeley in September 1592. As one of the Cricklade MPs he may have served on a committee concerned with cloth, 15 Mar. 1593.8

There are occasional glimpses of John Pleydell’s position in the county during the closing years of Elizabeth’s reign. In the winter of 1597-8 he was one of the sureties, in a sum of £100, for William Lane as receiver-general of four western counties; and towards 1603—the document in question is undated—his name appears in a list of Gloucestershire knights and gentlemen who were probably being considered for appointment as sheriffs. His advancing years make it unlikely that he was the John Pleydell who was ordered in October 1601 to embark at Bristol for Ireland to help meet the Spanish invasion: this was probably one of his nephews.9

In Trinity term 1607 Pleydell arranged for three of his manors to go to his nephews Charles and William Pleydell, from whom he received £1,640, slightly more than he had himself paid 12 years before. That August he entered into an obligation of £1,000 to pay his wife an allowance of £4 a month. But by the following March he had defaulted upon this arrangement, and the forfeiture of the obligation was then granted to Richard Andrews and William Hawkins, the latter perhaps his wife’s father or brother. Within a few months, when the £1,000 itself was not forthcoming, Pleydell’s lands, which had been ‘extended’ for the debt, were granted to a groom of the chamber: they were specified as lying in Frampton, Alderton and Prescott, and were stated to be worth £230 a year clear. Pleydell died in 1608.10

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Muriel Booth


  • 1. Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 152-3; Genealogist, n.s. xii. 236; Harl. 888, f. 9; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 418; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xlix. 483.
  • 2. M.T. Adm. Reg. i. 27; PCC 126 Lawe.
  • 3. PCC 35 Stonard; Chanc. II/228/52.
  • 4. Vis. Berks. 1566, i. 48.
  • 5. HMC Bath, iv. 194.
  • 6. PCC 5 Ketchyn, 35 Stonard; Wilts. RO, 212A, BRA 247 bdle. 3; CPR, 1560-3, pp. 317-18; Wilts. N. and Q. viii. 317.
  • 7. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xvii. 142-3, 150-1, 157-9.
  • 8. Nichols, Progresses Eliz. iii. 129; D’Ewes, 501.
  • 9. HMC Hatfield, vii. 508; xv. 397; Lansd. 86/30; APC, xxxii. 280.
  • 10. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xvii 235-6; xlii. 31; SP 14/37/601; CSP Dom. 1603-10, pp. 418, 466.