STOUGHTON, Adrian (1556-1614), of West Stoke, nr. Chichester, Suss.

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. 7 May 1556, 2nd s. of Thomas Stoughton† (d.1576) of Stoughton, Surr. and West Stoke with his 2nd w. Elizabeth, d. of Edmund Lewknor of Tangmere, Suss.; bro. of Lawrence†.1 educ. I. Temple 1579, called 1587.2 m. settlement 27 Mar. 1583, Mary (d.1635), d. of William Jordyn† of Chitterne, Wilts., 6s. (4 d.v.p.) 10da. (4 d.v.p.). d. 25 Oct. 1614.3

Offices Held

J.p. Suss. 1591-d., Chichester 1600-at least 1612; Hants 1602-d.;4 commr. grain, Suss. 1595;5 freeman, Chichester by 1604, Newport, I.o.W. 1610;6 commr. sewers, rape of Pevensey, Suss. 1602, Suss. 1604-at least 1610, Kent and Suss. 1604,7 subsidy, Suss. and Chichester 1603, 1608,8 piracy, I.o.W., Hants 1603, Southampton, Hants 1611, oyer and terminer, Home circ. 1605-d.,9 aid, Suss. 1609, 1612;10 chief steward, I.o.W. by 1612.11

Counsel to dean and chapter, Chichester 1595-at least 1605;12 recorder, Chichester 1600-d.;13 j.p. ‘learned in the law’, Guildford, Surr. 1609-d.14


A younger son in the Surrey family and a lawyer, Stoughton settled at West Stoke near Chichester, the manor having been purchased by his father from the Crown in 1560.15 His father represented Guildford in three Parliaments and Chichester in four. Stoughton was returned to Parliament for Haslemere in 1593, probably on the nomination of (Sir) William More† of Loseley, but thereafter sat for Chichester, where he was first returned in 1597 with his uncle Richard Lewknor†, whom he succeeded as recorder three years later. His father was Catholic in religious sympathy, but Stoughton himself showed no such leanings.16

Re-elected for Chichester in 1604, Stoughton was named to 41 committees and made four recorded speeches in the first Jacobean Parliament. In the 1604 session he twice contributed to the debates on the privilege case arising out of the imprisonment of Sir Thomas Shirley I* in the Fleet for debt. On 9 May he queried the sufficiency of the first bill passed by the Commons to secure Shirley’s creditors for its purpose or for indemnifying the warden of the Fleet.17 However, five days later, when the warden continued to refuse to release Shirley, despite himself being imprisoned in the Tower, he proposed fining the lieutenant of the latter, Sir George Hervey*, ‘for not doing his duty, in punishing the warden’.18 On 3 May Stoughton was named to attend the conference with the Lords about purveyance and four days later he was among those instructed to consider the petition and articles of the Commons on the same subject.19 His legal expertise presumably explains his appointment to the committee for the bill concerning common recoveries against infants. He was also one of those instructed to consider a number of social and economic measures, including bills against turning coppices into arable land, regulating wages (both on 28 Apr.), and preserving fish fry (14 May). Among his other committees were those for a bill for the separation of Blindley from the Surrey parish of Godstone (11 May), and two for breaking the entail of the estates of the Nevilles of Birling, (14 May and 14 June) situated principally in Kent and Sussex.20

Early in 1605 Stoughton secured a Crown lease of lands in Bosham, near Chichester.21 He was appointed to seven committees in the second session, beginning with the inquiry into the Spanish Company. This investigation was ordered on 5 Nov. 1605, and suggests that he in was Westminster at the time of the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. When the session resumed in the New Year his committee appointments included bills concerning purveyance (30 Jan.), poor relief (23 Jan.) and increasing the security of copyhold tenure (28 January). He was also named to consider the bill for repairing highways (6 Feb.), an issue of particular relevance to Sussex, where the roads were notoriously bad.22

Not surprisingly Stoughton showed some interest in legal reform. He was among those listed in the entry in the Journal of the second reading of the bill to improve the empanelling juries on 31 Jan., which, as it was rejected, may indicate that he spoke in the debate. A fortnight later he was named to consider the bill for the regulation of fees in courts of record. On 3 Mar. 1606 he brought in a bill ‘for the better satisfying of due debts’, but there were no further recorded proceedings.23

Stoughton was named to eight committees in the third session. The first of his three private land bills, which he was named to consider on 26 Nov. 1606, concerned the father of John Evelyn*, into whose family his nephew had married. He was also appointed to consider the bill ‘to reform the abuses of wide and wasteful writing’ of legal copies (12 May).24

Stoughton evidently supported the bill for repairing highways in the ‘wilds’ of Sussex, Surrey and Kent, which was committed on 10 June. It was reported and ordered to be engrossed on 23 June, but Stoughton, who had been eligible to attend the committee as a Sussex burgess, feared that the session would end before it was ready for enactment. Consequently, four days later he moved for the expediting of the measure, only to be told by the Speaker that the bill was properly a private one, though ‘followed and pressed as a public bill’, and that no fees had been paid to the officers, ‘nor any man took care to answer them’. There were no further recorded proceedings.25

In the fourth session Stoughton was among those ordered to attend the supply conference of 15 Feb. 1610, at which Salisbury first outlined what became the Great Contract, and his one recorded speech also concerned supply. He was one of those Members who, on 11 July, unsuccessfully opposed the granting of a fifteenth.26 He was again named to consider bills on the repair of highways (30 Mar.) and the recovery of debts (27 July), and he was one of the lawyers added by name for the bill on shipping and mariners on 8 May.27 On 16 July he successfully reported the bill to establish houses of correction for the punishment of vagrants in every county, which had been committed to all the lawyers of the House on 18 May.28

Stoughton was again returned for Chichester in 1614 and was, in addition, presumably responsible for the return of his nephew George for both Guildford, where Stoughton had been the justice ‘learned in the law’ since 1609, and Newtown, where he was presumably influential as chief steward of the Isle of Wight. As a lawyer and more experienced parliamentarian it was probably he who was the ‘Mr. Stougthon’ appointed to consider the bill against false bail on 16 April.29

Stoughton left no further trace on the records of the Addled Parliament, but this does not seem to have indicated declining health as in his will, written on 2 June 1614 in the last week of the Parliament, he described himself as ‘not sick in body to my knowledge’. He ordered that he should be decently buried, but ‘without wasting of my goods vainly and needlessly’. His wife was to have West Stoke for life and other lands near Chichester for 12 years during widowhood. He provided dowries of £400 each for his two youngest daughters, and, if the estate would bear it, £100 for the benefit of their elder sister Sarah, who had eloped three years previously with his clerk. ‘And I would have my daughter Sarah to know that her undutiful behaviour in her marriage and her forgetfulness to God the Father of Heaven and to me her father upon earth have been the cause why I have not dealt more liberally with her’. He named his wife executrix and his brother, his nephew and his son-in-law (Sir) Thomas Bowyer* overseers.30 He died the following October at Stoke, where he was buried. His elder son Thomas, then aged 20, died in 1626, without ever sitting in Parliament and leaving as heirs either Stoughton’s daughters or their children.31

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Add. 45193, f. 9v; HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 453-4.
  • 2. I. Temple database of admiss.
  • 3. Notes of Post Mortem Inquisitions taken in Suss. ed. E.W.T. Attree (Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv), 218; Add. 45193, f. 12v.
  • 4. Cal. Assize Recs. Suss. Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 242; C231/1, ff. 90, 134; C181/2, f. 169v; C66/1988.
  • 5. Harl. 703, f. 83.
  • 6. C219/35/2/87; I.o.W. RO, NBC 45, f. 196.
  • 7. C181/1, ff. 27v, 81, 95v; 181/2, f. 134v.
  • 8. E179/282/60, rot. 45; SP14/31/1.
  • 9. C181/1, ff. 73, 104v; 181/2, ff. 139, 213.
  • 10. SP14/43/107; E163/16/21, unfol.
  • 11. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/26.
  • 12. Acts of Dean and Chapter of Cath. Church of Chichester ed. W.D. Peckham (Suss. Rec. Soc. lviii), 139; W. Suss. RO, Cap.I/26/5, ff. 72, 77.
  • 13. C231/1, f. 90; OR.
  • 14. Surr. Hist. Cent. BR/OC/1/2, ff. 66v, 81v.
  • 15. CPR, 1558-60, p. 319.
  • 16. HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 452-4; M.C. Questier, Catholicism and Community in Early Modern Eng. 44-5.
  • 17. CJ, i. 968a.
  • 18. Ibid. 971b.
  • 19. Ibid. 198a, 202a.
  • 20. Ibid. 154b, 189b, 206b, 209a, 210a, 238b.
  • 21. C66/1635.
  • 22. CJ, i. 256b, 258b, 260b, 261b, 264a.
  • 23. Ibid. 262a, 268b, 277a.
  • 24. Ibid. 325a, 373a; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. ped. facing p. 171.
  • 25. CJ, i. 381b, 387a, 388a.
  • 26. Ibid. 393b, 448b.
  • 27. Ibid. 416b, 426a, 444a.
  • 28. Ibid. 429b, 450a; SR, iv. 1159-61.
  • 29. CJ, i. 466b. In Procs. 1614 (Commons), 91 the Members first name is given as ‘George’, however, this does not appear in the original. HLRO, HC/CL/JO/1/9, p. 35.
  • 30. PROB 11/124, ff. 388v-90v; STAC 8/257/20.
  • 31. H.R. Mosse, Monumental Effigies of Suss. 136; Notes of IPMs taken in Suss. 218.