RIDDLESDEN, Stephen (d.1607), of St. Katherine Colman, 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

educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1571, BA 1575, MA 1578. m. Elizabeth, da. of John Palgrave of Barningham Norwood, Norf. by Urith, da. of Sir William Saunder of Ewell, Surr., ?1s. 2da. Kntd. 1604.

Offices Held

Clerk of the ordnance by 1595; ld. admiral’s deputy ‘for the searching and measuring of coal, grain and salt upon the seas’.


Riddlesden was a Yorkshireman, perhaps connected with the West Riding family of that name. His early patron was Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex, who left him £6 on his death in 1583. Shortly afterwards, Riddlesden was in the service of Charles Howard I, the lord admiral, who obtained him a job connected with prize jurisdiction, employment that enabled him to set up as a moneylender on the side. In 1588 there were complaints that he abused his authority, but by 1595 he appears in the records as clerk of the ordnance, an office confirmed to him, jointly with John Riddlesden, for life in 1604 at a fee of 2s. a day. In 1590 he devised a scheme for reforming the coinage that would, he reckoned, yield a profit of £100,000. Nine years later he declined the comptrollership of the mint on the ground that it had ‘no other commodity belonging to it but the bare fee of 100 marks yearly’. His one appearance in the Commons was for the Howard borough of Bletchingley, and his sole recorded activity was his membership of the committee to draw up the subsidy bill, 28 Feb. 1593.

‘Lying sick upon his deathbed’, in 1607 Riddlesden ‘would not be troubled with any worldly matters’, and left his widow (who later married Sir Edward Fox) to dispose of his goods. His heir, William, was still a minor. As well as his London house Riddlesden had property at Aldeby, Norfolk, and Clavering-cum-Langley, Essex.

Vis. Norf. (Norf. and Norwich Arch. Soc.), ii. 26; HMC Var. iv. 304; Lansd. 39, f. 49; 65, f. 17; 144, f. 55; 145, f. 262; HMC Hatfield, iv. 226, 239; v. 347; ix. 346-7; Pevsner, W. Riding, 400; Bradford Hist. Soc. ii. 131-4; pat. rolls 2 Jas. I, f. 11; APC, xv. 368; xvi. 385; xxix. 713; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 81; D’Ewes, 478; PCC 98 Huddleston, 61 Ridley; C142/327/102; Morant, Essex, ii. 612.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: H.G.O.