MORE, Sir Robert (1581-1626), of Loseley, Surr. and Holborn, London
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Family and Education
b. 21 May 1581,1 1st s. of Sir George More* (d.1632) and his 1st w. Anne da. and coh. of Sir Adrian Poynings† of Wherwell, Hants.2 educ. Corpus, Oxf. 1595, BA (Univ. Coll.) 1598; I. Temple 1600.3 m. 12 May 1601 (with £2,200), Frances (d.1636), da. of Sampson Lennard* of Hurstmonceaux, Suss., 6s. (1 d.v.p.) 5da. (1 d.v.p.).4 kntd. 8 June 1603.5 bur. 2 Feb. 1626.6
Kpr. (jt.) Farnham Little Park, Surr. and constable, Farnham Castle, Surr. 1600-8;7 freeman, Guildford, Surr. 1604;8 j.p. Surr. 1607-d.;9 commr. subsidy, Surr. 1608, 1622, 1624,10 aid 1612;11 collector, Privy Seal loan (jt.), Surr. 1613;12 dep. lt. Surr. by 1619-at least 1624;13 commr. charitable uses, Surr. 1624,14 oyer and terminer, Home circ. 1624-d.15
More, who first entered Parliament in 1601 at the age of only 20, lived all his life in the shadow of his father, Sir George More, one of the most prominent parliamentarians of this period. His father settled on him lands worth £160 p.a. at his marriage in 1601, and his father-in-law agreed to house the married couple for two years. Subsequently the couple resided at his father’s house at Loseley in Surrey, where he was given the use of ‘the old house’ and his allowance was made up to £300.18
Knighted in 1603, More was returned for Surrey in the following year while still only 22, presumably thanks to his father’s influence. Sir George was elected at Guildford, and thereafter father and son alternated between the county and the county borough. During the first Jacobean Parliament More was named to 17 committees but made no recorded speeches. During the first session he was twice ordered to attend the king concerning the Buckinghamshire election dispute (28 Mar. and 12 Apr.), and on 20 Apr. he was one of those instructed to hear James ‘explain his own meaning in the matter of the Union’ with Scotland. He was also among those ordered on 1 June to prepare for a conference with the Lords on the bishop of Bristol’s book about the Union.19
In July 1604 More’s father, as collector for Surrey, sent him a Privy Seal for a loan of £25.20 More may have made a good impression at Whitehall, for he had become a gentleman pensioner by the summer of 1605. He was named to five committees in the second session; to consider bills to regulate building in London (24 Feb.), to reform the Marshalsea Court (13 Mar.), and to prevent unlawful games (26 April). He was also added to the committee on recusants for the 6 Feb. 1606 conference with the Lords, and ordered to attend the king with the House’s grievances on 14 May.21 In the third session he was appointed on 24 Nov. 1606 to attend the conference with the Lords on the Union and, the following day, to consider a private bill to enable the father of John Evelyn* to sell lands in Surrey.22 In 1608 he and his father surrendered their joint offices of constable of Farnham castle and keeper of the park in exchange for a Crown pension of £100. 23 In the fourth session he was instructed on 15 Feb. to attend the conference with the Lords at which the Great Contract was proposed. He was also appointed to the committee to consider the preservation of game (22 Mar.), a matter raised by the king the previous day. His remaining appointments concerned bills to prevent clerical non-residence (16 Apr.) and enforce the payment of debts due by simple contract (27 June); another dealt with Lord Bergavenny (Edward Neville†) (7 July). On 5 July More was added to the committee for religion and instructed to attend the conference with the Lords the following day to consider the bill on ecclesiastical canons. He took the oath of supremacy on 5 June.24 Nothing is known of any part he may have played in the short fifth session.
More was re-elected for Guildford to the Addled Parliament and was named to six committees, including the privileges committee (8 April). He made no recorded speeches, but on at least three occasions his appointment to a committee followed a speech given by his father at the bill’s second reading. These concerned bills against false bail (16 Apr.), the reform of the clergy (12 May), and London housing (1 June). In addition, More was named to consider bills for the better observance of the Sabbath (7 May) and the naturalization of the daughters of Sir Horace Vere (17 May).25
Returned again for Guildford in 1620, More was given a sugar loaf by the borough the following May.26 Appointed to attend the conferences with the Lords about recusancy (16 Feb. 1621), monopolies (13 Mar.) and the Sabbath (24 May), he was also among those instructed to consider the bill against purveyance (21 Apr.), which his father had described as ‘over-much clogged’ at its second reading, and a naturalization bill (24 May).27 As a Surrey Member he was entitled to attend the committee named on 6 Mar. to consider the Wey navigation bill, a measure promoted by Guildford and steered through committee by Sir George More; like his father he had signed a petition in its favour.28 It was probably during this Parliament also that a bill was prepared to establish his claim to property in Kent formerly belonging to his maternal grandfather, Sir Adrian Poynings, but there is no evidence that it was ever introduced.29
By 1622 the rents from the lands settled on More totalled over £400 a year.30 On 29 July 1623 he administered the towel to the Spanish ambassadors after a banquet at Whitehall.31 He was elected for the second time for Surrey in 1624, when his eldest son Poynings More was returned for Haslemere. More was appointed to 13 committees. On 26 Feb. he was the first Member named to consider the bill against drunkenness after moving ‘a difficulty in the penning ... that whereas the testimony of one man is sufficient to accuse anyone, what if a drunkard do accuse ten others, being drunk?’.32 He spoke again on 22 Mar., in the debate concerning the Pontefract election dispute, saying that the House ‘ought to take notice of the return of the mayor’ rather than a rival indenture, which had been subscribed by other inhabitants of the borough.33 On 27 Apr. he presented to the House both a list of Surrey’s recusant officeholders and a letter, the contents of which are unknown.34 In addition he was appointed to committees to consider bills concerning scandalous ministers (22 Mar.), simony at the universities (12 Apr.) and recusant wives (1 May). On 23 Apr. he was also named to the committee to consider the sheriffs’ accounts bill, but did not attend either of the recorded meetings. A week later he was instructed to attend the conference with the Lords about the bills concerning limitation of actions and pleadings in the Exchequer. Among several private bills, he was named to consider one for the restoration in blood of his kinsman Carew Ralegh† on 8 Apr., although he did not attend the only recorded meeting of the committee eight days later.35
More was again returned for Guildford to the first Caroline Parliament. He was appointed to consider the clergy subscription bill on 27 June 1625, and after the House had adjourned to Oxford he was added to the committee appointed to consider the writings of the Arminian Richard Montagu (2 Aug.), but not before pondering ‘the question at large, touching the fallibility of grace according to the distinction of the schools of the antecedent and consequent will of God’. On the last day of the Parliament, 12 Aug., he moved ‘that we should send some humble message to His Majesty, desiring longer respite, both for his business and the commonwealth’, and later, in committee of the whole House, he opposed the drawing up of reasons for the refusal of supply, ‘as not seasonable, because we had not yet refused’.36
On 11 Nov. 1625 while very ill ‘of a quartan ague’, More settled some of his lands on trustees, including his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Crymes*, to provide for his younger children. He made a will the following day, leaving the three eldest £500 each, the rest £400 apiece, ‘and the child my wife now goeth withal £300’. He died in early 1626, and was buried in the Loseley chapel in St. Nicholas’, Guildford. The will was proved by his widow on 6 Apr. in the Surrey Archdeaconry Court, and again, by his eldest son, Poynings More, in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in 1647. Poynings was under-age in 1626 and consequently More’s widow was obliged to purchase his wardship for 200 marks.37
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Alan Davidson / Ben Coates
- 1. Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 96.
- 2. Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 3.
- 3. Al. Ox.; I. Temple database of admiss.
- 4. Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 67; Surr. Hist. Cent. LM/348/291, 1590, 1650; T.B. Lennard, Acct. of Fams. of Lennard and Barrett, 216; LMA, DW/PA/7/12, f. 361.
- 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 110.
- 6. Surr. Hist. Cent. St. Nicholas, Guildford, par. reg.
- 7. Manning and Bray, iii. 137; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 437.
- 8. Surr. Hist. Cent. BR/OC/1/2, f. 57.
- 9. Cal. Assize Recs. Surr. Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, p. 22; Harl. 1622, f. 76.
- 10. SP14/31/1; C212/22/21, 23.
- 11. E163/16/21.
- 12. E403/2732, f. 132v.
- 13. C.H.J. ‘Storing of Gunpowder at Guildford’, Surr. Arch. Colls. xxiv. 180; SP14/179/43.
- 14. Manning and Bray, iii. 157.
- 15. C181/3, ff. 120, 180.
- 16. E407/1/37; HMC 7th Rep. 678.
- 17. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 1, p. 59.
- 18. Surr. Hist. Cent. LM/348/291, 1649.
- 19. CJ, i. 157a, 169b, 179b, 230a.
- 20. Surr. Hist. Cent. LM/1511/3.
- 21. CJ, i. 259b, 263a, 284a, 301a, 309a; Surr. Hist. Cent. LM/1889.
- 22. CJ, i. 324b, 325a.
- 23. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 437.
- 24. CJ, i. 393b, 413b, 418b, 444a, 446b, 447a; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 15.
- 25. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 33, 91, 172, 218, 268, 402.
- 26. Surr. Hist. Cent. BR/OC/6/1, p. 10.
- 27. CJ, i. 522b, 551a, 585b, 622a, 626a.
- 28. Ibid. 539b; Surr. Hist. Cent. LM/1331/32.
- 29. Surr. Hist. Cent. LM/1548.
- 30. Surr. Hist. Cent. LM/1420.
- 31. Lansd. 255, f. 349.
- 32. CJ, i. 674b; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 31.
- 33. CJ, i. 745a.
- 34. Ibid. 776b.
- 35. Ibid. 695a, 696a, 746a, 758a, 762b, 773a; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 208, 225.
- 36. Procs. 1625, pp. 253, 380, 382, 474.
- 37. Surr. Hist. Cent. LM/2011/70A, 350/11/1-2; Berks. RO, D/ELL/C1/149; LMA, DW/PA/7/11, f. 368-v; PROB 11/200, f. 85.