CHOLMLEY, Sir Henry (1609-66), of West Newton Grange, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



8 Jan. 1641

Family and Education

bap. 2 Feb. 1609, 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Richard Cholmley (d.1631) of Whitby by 1st w. Susan, da. of John Legard, merchant, of London and Ganton, Yorks.; bro. of Sir Hugh Cholmley, 1st Bt. educ. I. Temple 1628; travelled abroad 1633. m. c.1638, Katharine (d.1672), da. of Henry Stapleton of Wighill, wid. of Sir George Twisleton, 1st Bt., of Barley, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da. Kntd. 27 Dec. 1641.2

Offices Held

Lt.-col. of militia ft. Yorks, by 1640; j.p. Yorks. (W. Riding) 1642-8, (N. and W. Ridings) Mar. 1660-d., Westmld. Mar.-July 1660; commr. for levying money, Yorks, 1643, assessment (N. and W. Ridings) 1644-8, Aug. 1660-1, (N. Riding) 1661-d., northern assoc., (N. and W. Ridings) 1645, militia, Yorks. 1648, Mar. 1660, oyer and terminer, Northern circuit July 1660; dep. lt. (N. Riding) 1661-d.3

Col. of ft. (parliamentary) 1642-4, 1648, June-Oct. 1660.4

Commr. for regulating excise 1645, abuses in heraldry 1646, exclusion from sacrament 1646, scandalous offences 1648.


Cholmley was intended for the legal profession, but he was expelled from the Temple after the Christmas disorders in 1634, and his marriage a few years later to a wealthy widow made him financially independent. Unlike his elder brother, he remained faithful throughout the Civil War to the Long Parliament, in which he represented Malton, and in 1648 he directed the siege of Pontefract. But his conduct was not sufficiently vigorous to please the radicals, and he did not sit after Pride’s Purge. Out of office during the Interregnum, he had become an active Royalist in 1659, when he persuaded his nephew Barrington Bourchier to join in Booth’s rising, and he took a prominent part under Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax, in the overthrow of the military junta. The Rump ordered his arrest on 18 Feb. 1660, but he returned to the House when the secluded Members were readmitted three days later.5

Cholmley was not popular in his own county, and at the general election of 1660 he was returned for Appleby chiefly by means of the dowager countess of Pembroke, whom he had assisted in her dispute with her tenants in Craven. A moderately active Member of the Convention, he was appointed to 14 committees, twice acted as teller, and made eight recorded speeches. A court supporter, he was sent to the Lords on 2 May with the King’s letter, and was one of the four Members to count the votes for the deputation to carry the reply, to which he was himself elected. On returning to Westminster he was appointed to the committee for the recovery of the queen mother’s jointure, and acted as teller for the motion to impose only a moderate fine on Francis Lascelles, one of the Yorkshire regicides. He intervened several times in the indemnity debates, proposing Maj.-Gen. James Berry as one of the persons to be excepted from the bill, and opposing the reading of a petition from Oliver St. John but urging favour for Bulstrode Whitelocke. On 2 July he said that he supported ‘in part’ the formidable list of categories proposed for political disablement. After the recess he described the militia bill as unnecessary, because the King was already in control; the issue ‘had set them together by the ears once before, and [he] desired it might be let alone’. Nevertheless he was added to the committee for the bill. Lord Wharton sent him a copy of the case for modified episcopacy. He presented Bourchier’s petition on 9 Nov., and spoke in its favour. On 19 Nov. he said: ‘If the King’s present revenue was made up [to] £1,200,000 a year, the court of wards might be spared without any further trouble’.6

Cholmley is not known to have stood in 1661. He was rewarded for his services with a grant of £1,000 out of the Bourchier estates, which were otherwise guaranteed against forfeiture. An active magistrate and deputy lieutenant, he was prevailed on in the spring of 1666 ‘to leave a plentiful fortune and great reputation in his own country’ in order to deputize for his nephew, Sir Hugh Cholmley, as superintendent of the harbour works at Tangier. It was thought that his military experience would be useful in man-management, but Henry Norwood, the deputy governor, found his excessive zeal and uncontrollable temper intolerable, and it was fortunate that he died after a few months. His body was brought home for burial in his private chapel at West Newton Grange on 30 June 1666. His children were all dead without issue by 1680.7

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Leonard Naylor


  • 1. Did not sit after Pride’s Purge 6 Dec. 1648, readmitted 21 Feb. 1660.
  • 2. Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ii. 254; PC2/43/53.
  • 3. Cholmley Mems. (1787), 60; W. Riding Sess. Recs. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. liv), 363; H.B. M’Call, Fam. of Wandesford, 291.
  • 4. E. Peacock, Army Lists, 36.
  • 5. Keeler, Long Parl. 134; Cal. I. Temple Recs. ii. 221; Cholmley Mems. 29; D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 211-12; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 310, 598; CSP Dom. 1659-60, pp. 293, 373; 1660-1, p. 446; Monckton Pprs. ed. Peacock, 26.
  • 6. Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 643; G. C. Williamson, Lady Anne Clifford, 214, 255; CJ, viii. 14, 60, 181; Bowman diary, ff. 5, 7, 28, 42v; Old Parl. Hist. xxiii. 2, 8, 17.
  • 7. Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 196; CSP Dom. 1663-4, pp. 463, 474; Sir Hugh Cholmley, Account of Tangier (1787), 252, 255-6; Clay, ii. 254.