STEVENSON, Richard (d.1611), of Boston, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

m. Sisill, poss. da. of Thomas Thory of Halton Holegate, at least 1s.

Offices Held

Mayor, Boston 1586-7, alderman from 1586.


Stevenson was probably related both to Robert Stevenson, the Queen’s farmer at Boston, and to the Stevenson family long established at Wrangle, some eight miles north-east of Boston, but the connexion has not been firmly established. He was prominent in the Boston corporation for 15 years after his mayoralty, and one of the town’s wealthiest citizens. When the friction between the town and the port officials came to a head about 1593, it was Stevenson, with Anthony Irby, who spoke for the town in the ensuing negotiations which took place under the aegis of Burghley, the town’s ‘head recorder’. In 1596 he was the leading citizen implicated in the trouble over sheep grazing on the West fen. He also took part as ‘a man of great credit in those parts’ in the efforts to have the fens drained.

In the 1593 Parliament Stevenson was on committees concerning recusants (28 Feb.) and he spoke on the Fitzherbert privilege case (2 Mar.). On 9 Mar. in the debate on jury service, the anonymous journal reports an intervention by Stevenson: ‘I protest I no more meant to speak in this matter than I did to bid you all to breakfast’. At this there was general laughter. He was put on the committee for the ‘merry bill of the brewers’ (3 Apr.) and, according to Nicholas Saunders II, he spoke to it on 6 Apr., though he ‘meant it not’. Boston agreed to pay his expenses at the 1597 Parliament, when he served on committees concerning penal laws (8 Nov.), the possessions of the bishopric of Norwich (30 Nov.), the deprivation of Marian bishops (3 Dec.), malt (12 Jan. 1598) and wine casks (3 Feb.).

Stevenson died in 1611, asking to be buried in the choir of the church at Boston.

A. R. Maddison, Lincs. Wills, ii. 132, 136, 185; Boston corp. min. bk. passim; C142/216/97, 238/40; P. Thompson, Hist. Antiqs. Boston, 75, 76, 454, 623; HMC Hatfield, iv. 315, 317; viii. 244; Lansd. 73, f. 132; 87, f. 8 seq.; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 691; 1591-4, p. 130; 1595-7, p. 70; 1598-1601, p. 19; D’Ewes, 477, 481, 514, 553, 565, 567, 578, 592; Cott. Titus F.ii, anon. jnl. f. 54.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. M. Thorpe