WARBURTON, Sir Richard (by 1568-1610), of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster and Carshalton, Surr.

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



1604 - 13 Jan. 1610

Family and Education

b. by 1568,1 yr. s. of Peter Warburton (d. aft. 1576) of Hefferston Grange, Weaverham, Cheshire.2 educ. Clement’s Inn; L. Inn 1583.3 m. c. July 1603,4 Anne (admon. 10 Aug. 1646), da. of ?William Vavasour of Weston, Yorks., lady of bedchamber to Eliz., 1s. 1da.5 kntd. 22 Apr. 1603.6 d. 13 Jan. 1610.7 sig. Rycharde Warburton.

Offices Held

Gent. pens. c.1591-d.8

Capt. privateer 1595, ft., Brill garrison 1602-d.9

Constable, Lancaster Castle, Lancs. 1600-d.; steward, Lonsdale Hundred, Lancs. 1600-d.; bailiff, Rigby, Wray and Singleton manors, Lancs. 1607-d.; clerk, Palatine county ct., Lancs. 1607-d.; surveyor of woods north of Trent, duchy of Lancaster 1607-d.10


Warburton’s pedigree stretched back to twelfth century, when his forebears first acquired the Cheshire manor of the same name. His great-grandfather served as county sheriff, and married a niece of the 1st earl of Derby. By 1550 the family held four manors and land in over 20 parishes. However, Warburton’s father Peter received only a small share of this property, being a younger son. In around 1581 Peter, or his son and heir of the same name, was assessed for subsidy at just £6 in goods, suggesting that he enjoyed only minor gentry status.11 Warburton himself, having no hope of a sizeable inheritance, initially sought a career in law. His admission to Lincoln’s Inn was probably secured by one of the benchers, his cousin Peter Warburton†, a client of their distant kinsman the 4th earl of Derby.12 In about 1591 Warburton became a gentleman pensioner, presumably with the assistance of Derby, who was then steward of the Household. Following Derby’s death two years later, Warburton attached himself to Robert Cecil†, captaining a ship in the latter’s unsuccessful privateering venture off the Spanish coast in the autumn of 1595. He probably accompanied Cecil to France in 1598, and seems to have owed his place at Bridport in the 1601 Parliament to his patron.13 Cecil certainly intervened to help Warburton obtain a captaincy in the Brill garrison a year later, despite opposition from the governor, Sir Francis Vere†. Vere’s objections were justified, since Warburton, who apparently viewed his commission primarily as a source of income, claimed his expenses assiduously but failed to take up his duties until mid-1604. In the interim he acquired both a knighthood and a wife, but although he retained his post as pensioner, his efforts at securing further offices attracted only the reversion of minor positions in the duchy of Lancaster.14

Warburton was elected to the 1604 Parliament for Penryn, most likely through the intervention of Cecil, who exercised some influence over the borough through his relatives the Killigrews, the local patrons.15 During the first session he was named to a conference on the Union (20 Apr.), and to three committees. Of these, one was appointed to examine the grievances raised by Sir Edward Montagu (23 Mar.), while the others were to scrutinize bills on overcrowding in the London area (2 July) and the disqualification of outlaws as parliamentary candidates (31 March). As a Penryn burgess he was also entitled to attend numerous bill committees considering trade issues such as the West Country’s concern over hops and pilchards (18 May and 20 June).16

Shortly after the end of this session, Warburton finally and reluctantly took up his army commission. In early August 1604 he reported details of the siege of Sluys to Cecil, whom he asked to stand as godfather to his son as a token of his continuing favour. Warburton was granted this request, and duly named his heir Cecil, but his pleas barely a month later for promotion to marshal at Brill fell on deaf ears. In December 1605 he brought his patron news of Vere’s mission to The Hague, and thereafter remained in England despite Vere’s explicit request for his immediate return.17

It is not clear whether Warburton was abroad at the start of the 1605-6 parliamentary session, as he does not appear by name in its records. In the third session he was nominated to four bill committees, one of which concerned the possessions of the 5th earl of Derby (3 June 1607). Another on 30 May dealt with the transfer to the Crown of the Cecil house of Theobalds, his patron’s principal residence. The others addressed breach of contract by sailors and abuses in the law courts (1 and 12 May).18

In October 1607 Warburton secured full possession of the offices granted in reversion in 1604, having already ensured that they would pass in turn to his son. Although his fees as a gentleman pensioner then merited the relatively high subsidy tax assessment of £26, this income would cease when Warburton died, leaving his family heavily dependent on the profits from his various Duchy posts and an annual pension of 100 marks held by his wife in her own right. Accordingly, in a letter probably written on his deathbed, he requested one last favour from his old patron, now earl of Salisbury, who permitted him or his executor to raise an additional sum by selling his Brill commission.19 Payments to him by the army ceased on 13 January 1610, the probable date of his death, since he was buried at St. Martin-in-the-Fields two days later. Administration of his estate was granted to his widow towards the end of the same month.20 None of Warburton’s direct descendants is known to have sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Paul Hunneyball


  • 1. Age calculated from date of admiss. to L. Inn.
  • 2. CHES 3/78/5; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 240. Warburton’s mother is sometimes identified as Katherine or Alice Coupe or Cooper, but this mar. took place c.1570: HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 578; G. Ormerod, Cheshire, i. 574; ii. 175.
  • 3. LI Admiss.
  • 4. Clifford Diary ed. V. Sackville-West, 13.
  • 5. Ormerod, ii. 175; Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 345; PROB 11/197, ff. 108v-9; Mortlake Par. Reg. ed. M.S. Cockin and D. Gould, 38. Warburton’s w. should be distinguished from Anne, sis. of Sir Thomas Vavasour*, an earlier lady of bedchamber: HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 554; E.K. Chambers, Sir Henry Lee, 161-2.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 102.
  • 7. E351/263.
  • 8. DL1/159/W8; E407/1/40.
  • 9. HMC Hatfield, v. 386; E351/255, 263.
  • 10. Duchy of Lancaster Office-Holders ed. R. Somerville, 80, 136, 139; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 89; HMC Hatfield, xxi. 188.
  • 11. Vis. Cheshire, 237-40; Ormerod, i. 567, 572; CHES 3/78/5; E179/85/68.
  • 12. HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 577.
  • 13. CP (Derby); HMC Hatfield, v. 386, 397; viii. 16; xxiii. 22; SP12/253/112; HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 556.
  • 14. HMC Hatfield, xii. 460-1; Add. 5753, ff. 248, 293; E351/255-7.
  • 15. HMC Hatfield, xvii. 461; Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 268-70; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 39-40.
  • 16. CJ, i. 151b, 160b, 180a, 213b, 243a, 251a.
  • 17. HMC Hatfield, xvi. 206-7, 305-6; xvii. 554; E351/259-63.
  • 18. CJ, i. 366a, 373a, 377a, 378a.
  • 19. Duchy of Lancaster Office-Holders, 80; E179/70/121; HMC Hatfield, xx. 36; xxi. 188, 199; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 95.
  • 20. E351/263; Reg. St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxv), 162; PROB 6/7, f. 183.