SAUNDERS, Nicholas II (1563-1649), of Ewell, Surr.

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. 1563, 1st s. of Nicholas Saunders of Ewell by his 1st w. Isabel, da. of Sir Nicholas Carew of Beddington. educ.Balliol, Oxf. 158; I. Temple 1583. m. by 1585 Elizabeth, o. da. and h. of Richard Blount I of Coleman Street, London and Williton, Som., 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1587. Kntd. 1603.[footnote]

Offices Held

J.p.q. Surr. 1590-c.96.


Saunders’ grandfather was cofferer to Queen Mary and his father a Catholic recusant in 1577, 1580 and 1585. He, the father, remained on good terms with Lord Burghley, to whom he bequeathed an emerald ring and to whose ‘honourable favour, direction and protection’ he commended his son, the 1593 Haslemere MP. The latter, also a Catholic, was presented with his father for nonconformity in 1585, but after his father’s death he conformed (though his wife did not) and was even on the 1592 Surrey commission for the suppression of Jesuits. Saunders seems to have had a special relationship with the puritan William More I, who brought him into Parliament for Haslemere, and to whom Saunders wrote after More had left that Parliament prematurely:

as I am very glad for your own sake that you are quiet now at home, free from the wearisome attendance here, so I am sorry for mine own sake that you are gone in that I am half out of countenance wanting your presence here.

Saunders, who described himself as More’s ‘dutiful son and assured friend’, told More about the Commons proceedings of 6 Apr. The bill against sectaries had a difficult report stage, and while the committee for the bill and the objectors to it met separately, the remainder of the House

passed away the time reasonably pleasantly in arguing a merry bill of the brewers, which we have passed, and by Mr. Stevenson’s speech to it, who was called up by my means to speak, who of himself meant it not. But the chiefest matter of pleasure to the House was through the bill of Cranbrooke, which I procured to be read.

Eventually the committee returned, having agreed on a number of amendments, and the bill against sectaries passed the House. ‘We were content to yield anything so we might rise, for it was past three ere this was concluded and ended’. It is not clear which of the two Nicholas Saunders in the House it was who was appointed to committees on the subsidy on 26 Feb. and 1 Mar. and to one on the poor law, 12 Mar.1

In 1596 Saunders took part in the Cadiz expedition, presumably as a follower of Lord Howard of Effingham, a commander of the expedition. Saunders was instructed to wait at Plymouth after the main fleet had left, and to join it ‘as soon as certain business was ended’. He was, however, arrested at the suit of a trader to whom he had promised to sell some sugar, having received £400 as an advance payment. The mayor of Plymouth informed Cecil that Saunders had laid up his ship, landed his ordnance and was trying to sell both. He was released at Cecil’s request, and wrote on 23 July that he would shortly be sailing. The fact that he had sugar to sell in 1596 suggests that he may have been the Nicholas Saunders who was a privateer in the 15905.2

Saunders’ father married as his second wife Margaret, widow of Richard Blount, and Saunders himself made a fortunate marriage to her daughter. Between 1591 and 1601 he sold three estates, including land in Lambeth inherited by his wife, as well as part of the Ewell property. When suggesting himself to the Earl of Salisbury in 1605 as a successor to Sir George Harvey as lieutenant of the Tower, he commented that his estate, though somewhat lessened by others’ unjust dealing, was yet worth £500 a year. Saunders died 9 Feb. 1649.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière


Information from Mr. J. W. Walker is gratefully acknowledged.

  • 1. C. H. Dudley Ward, Fam. of Twysden of Twisden, 140; Surr. Arch. Colls. liv. 94, 96-7; Hyland, A Century of Persecution, 202-3, 229, 231-2, 327, 388, 392-3; APC, xii. 152; PCC 7 Rutland; The Times, 12 Dec. 1929; Neale, Commons, 402-3; Parlts. ii. 288-92; W. Prynne, Hidden Workes of Darkenes, 69; D’Ewes, 474, 481, 499.
  • 2. APC, xxv. 399, 460-1; Lansd. 150, f. 186; HMC Hatfield, vi. 228-9, 244, 258-9, 280.
  • 3. Vis. Surr. loc. cit.; PCC 47 Pyckering; Surr. Arch. Colls. liv. 82; VCH Surr. iv. 59; HMC Hatfield, xvii. 242; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 150, 152, 165, 167, 173.