STANFORD, John I (1537-1603), of Leicester and Elmesthorpe, Leics.

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. 1537, 1st s. of Thomas Stanford, mayor of Leicester. m. (2) Elizabeth, da. of John Heyrick, sis. of Robert and William Heyrick, 4s. inc. John II 1da. suc. fa. 1583.

Offices Held

Freeman, Leicester 1558, chamberlain 1565, coroner 1573-4, mayor 1576-7, 1592-3.


Stanford was a butcher who inherited property in the parish of St. Nicholas, Leicester, and the manors of Barkby, Elmesthorpe and Hamilton. He contributed £25 towards the Armada fund and was assessed at £14 14s. in goods for the second payment of the subsidy in 1590. For at least the second and third sessions of the 1572 Parliament he received wages at 2s. a day and his charges. This amounted to £7 14s. in 1576 and £6 6s. in 1581. The common council jibbed at the latter payment because Stanford had promised to take no payment or charges ‘except he did good to the town’ and this, they said, he had not done. Certainly his name has not been found in the known surviving records of either of his Parliaments. Still, he was instrumental in preserving Leicester’s independence during his second mayoralty when Thomas Heneage, newly made chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, tried to get both nominations to Parliament ‘as heretofore it hath been to my predecessors’. This was a reference to 1584 when Sir Ralph Sadler had asked for both seats and received one. Stanford and the majority of the common hall ‘agreed to have no stranger’ and elected two townsmen, including Stanford himself, before presenting Heneage with the fait accompli and telling him that the concession to Sadler in 1584 was unique.

Towards the end of his life, Stanford returned to Elmesthorpe, where he died, 17 Mar. 1603. He was buried three days later in Barkby church. His will, made on 31 Aug. 1600 and proved 18 May 1603, expressed his confidence in redemption ‘from sin, hell and death’.

Leicester Mayors, ed. Hartopp, 66, 72, 73; Vis. Leics. (Harl. Soc. ii), 160; DL1/81/24; Leicester Recs. iii. 137, 146-7, 157, 163, 167, 187, 188, 250, 266, 465; Neale, Commons, 173; PCC 37 Bolein.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.N.