STOCKMAN, William (c.1560-1635), of Barford House, Downton, Wilts.

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



Family and Education

b. c.1560,1 o.s. of John Stockman of Downton and his 2nd w. Dorothy, da. of ?John Good of East Tytherley, Hants. educ. Thavies Inn, L. Inn 1579.2 m. (1) Jane (bur. 15 Jan. 1614), 6s. (4 d.v.p.);3 (2) 9 Nov. 1619,4 Anne (bur. 22 Apr. 1645), da. of Thomas Ernley of Brembridge, Westbury, Wilts., wid. of Henry Dove of Salisbury, Wilts. (d.1616), 1s. suc. fa. 1606. bur. 2 Nov. 1635.5 sig. Will[ia]m Stockman.

Offices Held

Collector subsidy, Salisbury 1602;6 commr. sewers, Hants and Wilts. 1605;7 surveyor, Clarendon pk., Wilts. 1610;8 j.p. Wilts. by 1614-d.;9 commr. subsidy, 1621, 1624, 1628, 1629;10 collector (jt.), Privy Seal loan 1625-6;11 commr. oyer and terminer, Wilts. 1631.12

Recvr., Wilts. estates of the 3rd and 4th earls of Pembroke by 1610-d.13


Stockman’s family had been settled at Downton, Wiltshire since the early sixteenth century. In the 1560s his father, John, purchased a 61-year lease of the bishop of Winchester’s local estates, including Barford, where he built a mansion house in 1569.14 He subsequently leased several other Wiltshire properties from the Crown, as well as the keepership of East Meon Park, Hampshire.15 By 1575 John belonged to the 2nd earl of Pembroke’s household, perhaps as surveyor of his estates.16 Stockman himself took out a lease of five parsonages in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire in 1586, and later purchased a manor in Hampshire.17 His father settled Barford and another manor on him in 1598, and he inherited the remainder of the family estates in 1606.18 This made him a landowner of substance: his holding in Whiteparish alone, four miles east of Downton, was worth £500 p.a.19

Stockman’s election for Downton in 1604 can be explained by his links to the bishop of Winchester and with William Herbert, 3rd earl of Pembroke. The returning officer at Downton was the bailiff of the bishop’s liberty, an office held by the Stockman family by right of their lease of Barford manor.20 If this interest was not sufficient of itself, Stockman’s links to the Pembroke interest doubtless secured him a nomination, as the earl leased Downton manor from the bishop. Stockman made no recorded contribution to the work of the Commons, and though he became receiver of Pembroke’s Wiltshire estates by 1610, he was not returned to Parliament again.

By 1619 Stockman had built extensive hunting lodges close to Downton at Hamptworth and Newhouse. The latter was constructed in hexagonal form, and was probably modelled upon nearby Longford Castle, recently rebuilt by Sir Thomas Gorges†.21 However, these undertakings may have contributed to his financial embarrassment, for he began selling numerous farms to honour mounting debts.22 He also encountered difficulties with the bishop, who sued him in 1613 for allegedly mismanaging certain woodland. However, Stockman’s lease of the bailiff’s office at Downton was renewed in 1628.23 Stockman immediately leased the office to Thomas Pinchon, but when the bishop withheld the latter’s fees for three years for failing to collect revenues, Pinchon sued Stockman for the recovery of his £100 purchase price.24

Stockman made his will on 7 June 1635. Asking to be buried in the chancel at Downton by the side of his father, wife and four sons who had predeceased him, he left a total of £340 to various relatives and £55 to the poor of Downton and neighbouring Whiteparish. His farm stock and chattels were left to his wife, while two manors in Hampshire and land in Whiteparish were to be settled on two of his surviving sons.25 Stockman died on 2 Nov. following and was buried at Downton on the same day.26 No further member of the family served in Parliament. Stockman himself was remembered in Downton by a charity established in 1626, which continued until at least 1823.27

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Henry Lancaster


E115/380/94; Wilts. IPMs ed. G.S. and A.E. Fry (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 217.

  • 1. Age calculated from date of admiss. to L. Inn.
  • 2. LI Admiss.
  • 3. PROB 11/170, f. 15.
  • 4. Wilts. RO, 1966/1.
  • 5. Ibid. 914/1.
  • 6. Wilts. RO, G23/1/170/4.
  • 7. C181/1, f. 103v.
  • 8. Add. 38444, f. 59.
  • 9. Wilts. RO, A1/150/4-5.
  • 10. E179/199/398; C212/22/20, 23; Add. 34566, f. 132.
  • 11. E401/2586, f. 25.
  • 12. C181/4, ff. 87v, 89, 101.
  • 13. Wilts. RO, 2057/A1/2; 2057/S5/3; Surveys of Manors of Philip, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery ed. E. Kerridge (Wilts. Rec. Soc. ix), 84.
  • 14. R.C. Hoare, Hist. Wilts. ‘Downton’, 38-9, 52, 57; Wilts. RO, 490/1198, 781, 784.
  • 15. E310/1/33; 310/4/53; CPR, 1580-2, p. 198; VCH Hants, iii. 67; iv. 591, 601.
  • 16. Harl. 7186, f. 27v.
  • 17. SO3/1, unfol., Jan. 1586; C2/Jas.I/S14/22; VCH Hants, iii. 241.
  • 18. CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 218.
  • 19. C2/Chas.I/S52/56.
  • 20. VCH Wilts. xi. 30.
  • 21. Ibid.
  • 22. Wilts. RO, 906/W/211; 413/179.
  • 23. E134/11Jas.I/M1613.
  • 24. C2/Chas.I/S56/67.
  • 25. PROB 11/170, f. 15.
  • 26. Wilts. RO, 914/1.
  • 27. R.C. Hoare, Hist. Wilts. ‘Frustfield’, 47, 69.