SNIGGE, George (c.1545-1618), of Bristol.

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.1545, 1st s. of George Snigge, bencher of the M. Temple and mayor of Bristol 1574-5. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1564, BA 25 June 1566; M. Temple 9 Aug. 1567, called 17 June 1575. m. Alice, da. of William Young of Ogbourne, Wilts., at least 3da. Kntd. 1605.

Offices Held

Autumn reader, M. Temple 1590, Lent reader 1599, treasurer 1602, serjeant-at-law 1604; j.p.q. Glos. and Som.; alderman, Bristol, recorder 1593-1605; baron of the Exchequer 28 June 1605; c.j. Glamorgan circuit 14 May 1608-Feb. 1618.3


Before he became a judge, Snigge was active in the affairs of the county and the port, and was frequently employed there by the Privy Council. On two occasions he wrote to Lord Burghley—in 1586, recommending a man to be comptroller of the port of Bristol, and in 1597, complaining that the Bristol cloth trade was falling into decay, and that London merchants were acquiring a monopoly of ‘the iron of Wales, the lead of Mendips, and the calamine stone, being the commodities of these parts’. In 1599 he reported to Sir Robert Cecil that, as many ‘recusants and other dangerous persons’ were reaching Ireland from Bristol, he had instructed the officers of the port to prevent any but ‘known merchants, undertakers, and others sufficiently licensed’ from setting sail. In the same year, the Privy Council made him responsible for victualling the troops for Ireland, who were for some considerable time weatherbound in Bristol. In 1597 a merchant complained that Snigge had taken from him ‘a great quantity and provision of butter’ to the value of £27, ‘with pretence to make sale thereof for the relief of the poor’.4

Snigge was presumably returned for Cricklade through the Brydges family, but his exact connexion with them has not been traced. Once he was recorder of Bristol he naturally represented that constituency. He left no mark on the records of the 1589 Parliament. The George Snagge mentioned in the journals of that year is Thomas Snagge I the Speaker, who was dead by 1597. Thus the Mr. ‘Snagg’ repeatedly mentioned in the journals for 1597-8 can safely be said to be George Snigge, active both as committeeman and in debate. He served on the following committees: forestallers (7 Nov.); cloth (18 Nov.); Bristol (28 Nov.); Newport Bridge (29 Nov.); bread (13 Jan. 1598); relief of mariners and soldiers (26 Jan.); bail (27 Jan.); legal matters (1, 3 Feb.); wine casks (3 Feb.). He reported progress on the cloth bill mentioned above on 24 Nov. and again the next day, but on 30 Nov. recommended that it should not be proceeded with. Other bills he reported were concerned with erecting hospitals and workhouses (30 Nov.), defence (9 Dec.), letters patent for Exeter merchants not fit to pass (13 Dec.), a preacher for the Tower of London (16 Dec.), the continuance of statutes (19 Jan. 1598), benefit of clergy (19 Jan.), Lady Verney’s jointure (25 Jan.), bail (30 Jan.), and weights and measures (30 Jan.). On ?17 Dec. 1597 in the course of urging men ‘ever to have their wills ready’ he told a story

which I have read of a man in Italy, to whom in extremity of sickness the friars came to confess him, but they seeing he would answer nothing, said ‘If you hope to be saved through the death and passion of Jesus Christ, then hold up your finger’, which he did. ‘Then’, quoth the friar, ‘if you will give such land, and such land, and such a house to our monastery that we may pray for the health of your soul, then hold up your finger’, which he did. The son and heir of this man, seeing his father give away his land so fast that even almost all was gone, said ‘Father, if I shall beat these friars out from hence with a bedstaff ... hold up your finger’, which he did, so he beat forth the friars, saved his land and gave a good example to others to make their wills [in] time.

Snigge was also active in 1601. His committees were on privileges and returns (31 Oct.), penal laws (2 Nov.), the order of business (3 Nov.), silk weavers (10 Dec.) and Dover harbour (14 Dec.). On 11 Nov. he reported two bills (writs of error and fraudulent administration of intestates’ goods). Three cloth workers’ bills were committed to him on 18 Nov. and on 7 Dec. he reported that he had ‘reduced and drawn the three said bills into one bill’. He spoke on another bill regulating tradesmen, 11 Dec., and again the next day and on 15 Dec. about cloth. On this Parliament’s burning question of monopolies, only one intervention by Snigge is recorded, but that was important. It was Snigge who ‘wished a commitment to devise a course’ to inquire into the scandal, 20 Nov.5

Snigge died in London on 11 Nov. 1618, and lay in state for six weeks in the Merchant Taylors’ hall, before being buried in St. Stephen’s, Bristol. His will, dated 12 Mar. 1612, was proved 6 Feb. 1619, and an inquisition post mortem was held the next year.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: J.J.C. / P. W. Hasler


  • 1. Folger V. b. 298.
  • 2. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 3. W. R. Williams, Parl. Hist. Glos. 112; W. R. Williams, Welsh Judges, 131; Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 57, 95; PCC 11 Meade; CSP Dom. 1603-10, pp. 125, 156, 429; 1611-18, p. 85.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 329; 1598-1601, p. 888; Lansd. 86, f. 26; APC, xxvi. 338; xxvii. 217; xxix. 488, 556, 561.
  • 5. D’Ewes, 428, 552, 558, 562, 563, 564, 565, 566, 570, 572, 574, 579, 583, 587, 588, 589, 590, 592, 622, 624, 634, 642, 646, 669, 676, 678, 684; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 112, 123, 235, 317, 325; Bull. IHR, xii. 19.
  • 6. PCC 11 Meade; C142/377/95.