STANHOPE, Sir John II (bef.c.1591-1638), of Elvaston, Derbys.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



16 Mar. 1626

Family and Education

b. bef. c.1591,1 2nd s. of Sir John Stanhope (d.1610) of Shelford, Notts. being 1st s. with 2nd w. Katherine, da. of Thomas Trentham† of Rocester, Staffs.; bro. of William†.2 m. (1) 29 Sept. 1608,3 Olive, da. and h. of Edward Beresford of Fenny Bentley, Derbys., 1da.;4 (2) 1622, Mary, da. of Sir John Radcliffe* of Ordsall, Lancs., 7s. (2 d.v.p.) 3da. (1 d.v.p.).5 kntd. 4 June 1607.6 d. 29 May 1638.7

Offices Held

J.p. Derbys. by 1614-17, 1623-d.,8 commr. subsidy 1624,9 Forced Loan 1626-7;10 freeman, Leicester 1628;11 sheriff, Derbys. 1629-30.12


Stanhope needs to be distinguished from a namesake of Yorkshire and Melwood Park, Lincolnshire, who was knighted in 1617.13 The Nottinghamshire estates of this Member’s father passed to his elder half brother Philip, later 1st earl of Chesterfield, while Stanhope himself inherited property in Derbyshire, centred on Elvaston, four-and-a-half miles south-east of Derby. In January 1621 he was granted a licence to travel abroad for three years and on his return was elected knight of the shire to the last Jacobean Parliament.14 He was mentioned twice in the surviving parliamentary records: on 8 Mar. he affirmed that the absentee Sir Thomas Gerrard, 2nd Bt.*, was ‘in course of physic’, and on 1 Apr. he obtained privilege for a servant.15 Re-elected to the first Parliament of the new reign, his only recorded activity was to attend a meeting of the committee for the bill to confirm an agreement between the king and the tenants of the manor of Macclesfield, to which the knights and burgesses of Derbyshire had been appointed.16 The following year he initially failed to obtain a seat, but when Sir William Cavendish I* succeeded to a peerage Stanhope took his place as senior knight of the shire. On 23 Mar. 1626 he asked for permission to assume his seat without taking the sacramental test but was refused. Presumably Stanhope complied, though he left no further trace on the records of the second Caroline Parliament.17

Although appointed a Forced Loan commissioner, Stanhope failed to attend the meetings held between the commissioners and the Derbyshire subsidymen in early 1627. In September he was still reported as being absent, and also his £20 assessment had not been paid.18 Stanhope was returned for Leicester to the third Caroline Parliament on the nomination of the 5th earl of Huntingdon. Stanhope’s second wife had been lady-in-waiting to the countess, and had helped her to evade an older suitor, Sir John Ferrers*.19 In the supply debate of 4 Apr. 1628, Stanhope advocated voting four subsidies, and on 3 May he moved for the release of his nephew Henry* from the Marshalsea, getting to his feet just as the Speaker was rising, as the latter apologized for not hearing Stanhope until he had stood up. Two days latter Stanhope produced the warrant for committing Henry Stanhope. He received his only committee appointment on 4 June, for the Ralegh restitution bill.20 During the 1629 session he is recorded as having spoken five times. He maintained on 10 Feb. that there were ‘good, grave, and weighty’ arguments for punishing sheriff Acton of London for contempt of the House in seizing the goods of John Rolle*, who had refused to pay Tunnage and Poundage, and moved for a division. Two days latter he challenged Sir Thomas Edmondes* to explain what he meant by ‘excessive liberty’ in debating the subject.21 His chief concern, however, was religion. On 7 Feb. he moved that Edward Liveley*, secretary to Bishop Neile of Winchester, should be required to examine and identify the handwriting in the draft pardon issued on 16 Jan. 1629 to Richard Montagu and other anti-Calvinists absolving them from any theological errors. A report on 16 Feb. that a Catholic priest had been reprieved by the king confirmed Stanhope’s fears:

When kings assemble Parliament they give themselves to their counsel. We are the great inquisitors of the kingdom. We find the state sick, few good men promoted, many ill and the worst of men promoted. Some have denied the king’s supremacy; some must have two pardons; all are disturbers of the peace of the church. The king’s attorney [(Sir) Robert Heath*] commanded to draw a draft, which he did. ... and sent it to the lord bishop of Winchester, who must pen it: I hope the king will not suffer this bad bishop long to serve the palace and be about him. Let us look to Clerkenwell: there [we] find Jesuits reprieved, bailed for nothing but denying to the best of kings and men their due allegiance.

He suggested a remonstrance ‘to show how the king’s mercy is abused’. Three days later he moved for the names and offices of all recusants at Court and their reasons for being there; ‘also what priests and Jesuits are in any prison in or about London, for they are at liberty to go sometimes five miles to say Mass’.22

‘A choleric man’, Stanhope refused to pay Ship Money, and when the sheriff, John Gell, distrained his cattle in 1635, Stanhope sent a servant to rescue them. Summoned before the Privy Council, he was excused attendance on testimony that ‘he is so afflicted with the stone and pains of the gout, that he cannot stir without danger of his life’, and allowed to reside in the Smithfield home of Sir George Hastings*. He was discharged on payment of his assessment.23 ‘Sick and weak in body’ when he drew up his will on 12 Mar. 1638, he requested that there should be no funeral ceremony. Token legacies were left to various friends and relations, including his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Hutchinson* and Brian Palmes*, and the poor of Elvaston were granted £10. To his wife, appointed sole executrix, he left the residue of his estate, including £3,400 in money and bonds, and at least £500 out on loan. He was buried at Elvaston on 30 May 1638, the day after his death, leaving a nine-year-old son and namesake as his heir.24 As a parliamentary commander Gell revenged himself during the Civil War by defacing Stanhope’s monument, which cost £600, and compounded the outrage by marrying his widow. The family parliamentary record was resumed in 1702 by Stanhope’s great-grandson Thomas, whose younger brother William was raised to the peerage in 1730 as Lord Harrington.25

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Virginia C.D. Moseley


  • 1. R. Thoroton, Thoroton’s Hist. of Notts. ed. J. Throsby, i. 288.
  • 2. Collins, Peerage, iii. 421; iv. 284; PROB 11/105, f. 259; C142/381/152.
  • 3. J. Sleigh, ‘Par. Regs.’, N and Q (ser. 4), i. 582.
  • 4. Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 8; PROB 11/136, f. 245.
  • 5. Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 8; ‘Funeral Certificates’ ed. G.W. Marshall, The Gen. n.s. i. 184; C2/Jas.I/R10/62.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 142.
  • 7. C142/265/182.
  • 8. C66/1988; 66/2761; C231/4, ff. 35, 154.
  • 9. C212/22/20-1, 23.
  • 10. E179/93/355, f. 1; C193/12/2, ff. 9v.
  • 11. Procs. 1628, vi. 154.
  • 12. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 31.
  • 13. J. Nichols, Progs. of Jas. I, iii. 276.
  • 14. SO3/7, unfol., Jan. 1620[/1].
  • 15. Ferrar 1624, p. 66; CJ, i. 751a.
  • 16. C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 227.
  • 17. Procs. 1626, ii. 349.
  • 18. E179/93/355, f. 11; SP16/79/67.
  • 19. C2/Jas.I/R10/62; Procs. 1628, vi. 154.
  • 20. CD 1628, ii. 308; iii. 236, 245, 257; iv. 83.
  • 21. CD 1629, pp. 189, 198.
  • 22. CD 1629, pp. 50, 83, 151, 214; Oxford DNB sub Mountague, Richard.
  • 23. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 505; CSP Dom. 1636-7, p. 365; 1637, p. 116; PC2/46, pp. 279, 393.
  • 24. PROB 11/177, f. 165v; C142/565/182; ‘Funeral Certificates’, 184; WARD 10/43/1.
  • 25. L. Hutchinson, Mems. of Life of Col. Hutchinson ed. J. Hutchinson, 106.