SLINGSBY, Francis (c.1522-1600), of Scriven, Yorks.

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.1522, s. and h. of Thomas Slingsby by Joan, da. of Sir John Mallory of Studley. educ. ?Oxf. or Camb. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Ingleby of Ripley; (2) 1556, Mary (d.1598), da. of Sir Thomas Percy, sis. of Thomas and Henry, earls of Northumberland, 9s. inc. Henry and William 3da. suc. fa. 1551.1

Offices Held

Jt. (with his fa.) keeper of Haia park, Yorks., duchy of Lancaster 1545; dep. warden of middle march bef. 1559; commr. musters, Northumb. 1559, Yorks 1595; j.p. Yorks (N. and W. Ridings) from c.1559; jt. dep. steward and constable of Knaresborough castle bef. 1569; feodary and master forester of Knaresborough, keeper and paler of Bilton park, porter and watchman 1571; commr. border causes 1596.2


Slingsby’s name does not appear in the printed registers of either Oxford or Cambridge University, but, according to the inscription on his tomb, it was after leaving university that he served as a captain of horse at the siege of Boulogne, 1544, and afterwards at the battle of Musselburgh. He was also said to have commanded a troop of horse in the reign of Queen Mary, and was active in border affairs. From the time of his second marriage, however, he seems to have settled on his estates, and, for the next 20 years his policy was to sell outlying holdings and consolidate them around Scriven. His new relatives by marriage seem to have thought that he could be drawn into a plot to rescue Mary Queen of Scots, then in custody in England. Instead, he was one of the ‘divers honest gentlemen’ who, at the time of the 1569 rebellion, gave the alarm by suddenly leaving their houses to man the defences. Slingsby garrisoned Knaresborough castle, together with his former father-in-law Sir William Ingleby, the joint constable, and sent to the Earl of Sussex, president of the council in the north, for orders. Replying to subsequent inquiries of the Privy Council as to the origins of the alarm, Slingsby said that there had been ‘doubts and suspicions in men’s minds, some on account of zeal to her Majesty, others for zeal in religion, some from suspicious inclinations and others from having knowledge of some matter’.3

Slingsby’s residence was adjacent to the borough of Knaresborough, which he twice represented in Parliament, and where two of his sons were later returned. His only recorded activity was his appointment to the committee of a bill for fortifying the frontier with Scotland, 25 Feb. 1581. In 1596 the bishop of Durham welcomed his appointment to a commission for border causes as being ‘a wise gentleman of good experience’. His service was considered the more valuable since the Scots were reported to be ‘both skilful and tough’. Slingsby died 3 Aug. 1600 and was buried in the Slingsby chapel on the north side of the choir in Knaresborough church, where a monument depicts him in armour. His fourth son, Henry, succeeded to the estates.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.


  • 1. Foster, Yorks. Peds. W. Riding; Parsons, Diary of Sir Hen. Slingsby, 395-408.
  • 2. Lansd. 53, f. 176; Somerville, Duchy, i. 526; LP Hen. VIII, xx(2), p. 445; CSP For. 1558-9, pp. 152, 167; 1559-60, p. 108; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 96; 1595-7, p. 144; Wheater, Knaresborough and its Rulers, 213; Border Pprs. ii. 199; C142/93/76.
  • 3. Ackrill, York and Ainsty Tragedy, 47; J. J. Cartwright, Chapters in Yorks. Hist. 69; CSP For. 1559-60, p. 151; CPR, 1555-7, p. 412; Yorks. Fines, passim.; Yorks. Deeds, passim; HMC Hatfield, i. 553, 571; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, pp. 93, 96-7; C. Sharp, Memorials of the Rebellion, pp. 8-9.
  • 4. CJ, i. 129; Border Pprs. ii. 209-10 and passim; C142/263/70; Coghill, Fam. of Coghill, 167; Parsons, 398-402.