Political History of Penkridge, 1258 - 1603

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The early years when the name of the MPs is sometimes not known.

1258

 

In the Parliament of 1258, called by Simon de Montfort the sheriff of Staffordshire sent four MPs to Westminster, all supporters of de Montfort.

 

Sir Robert de Halghton (Haughton)

Sir Adam de Brimpton of Church Eaton

Sir William Bagot of the Hyde (Hyde Lea, Coppenhall)

Payne de Wasteneys of Tixall

 

 

1290-1399

 

Knights of the Shire were elected by the county in the county court. The election took place in the open air at court after the receipt of a writ from the sheriff. Anyone could be present, villein, freeholder, great lord. The candidate would be proposed and seconded by great magnate and then elected by an unanimous vote.

 

During this period 115 parliaments were held in which 2 knights were sent to Westminster. There are no records for 11 of the parliaments. In the remaining 104, 84 different knights were elected. Of these 50 were knights before their first election and a further 8 were knighted after their election. The remaining 26 were squires. The 58 knights were the heads of the important county families of the time.

 

In 1293 there were about 40 knightly families in Staffordshire including,

 

William Bagot of the Hyde

Ralph Basset of Drayton Basset

Walter Beysin of Water Eaton

Adam de Brimpton of Church Eaton

John Giffard of Chillington

Robert de Halghton

William Trumwynne of Cannock

William de Wrottesley.

 

In 1305 William Trumwynne and Philip de Barynton represented the county. John de Pikstock, a prosperous wool buyer and lord of Dunston, Penkridge, represented Stafford.


 

1399-1509

 

During this period the election was usually decided by the sheriff and the steward of the great lord of the day. There were 61 parliaments but the names have been lost for 25 of them. The knightly families in Staffordshire tended to become more significant politically as few great lords actually lived in the county. The once mighty duchy of Lancaster was merged with the crown. The Earl of Stafford did not live in Staffordshire. At times there was only one peer residing in the county, the bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, so the landed gentry ruled.

 

Richard Littleton of Pillaton Hall, Penkridge, son of a chief justice, MP for Staffs 1504, 1510.

 

 

1509-1603

 

Names known for 26 parliaments. 28 mps. From 1571 and for the next 300 years there were no Roman Catholic MPs, ruling out the Giffard, Fowler, Draycot and Fitzherbert families.

 

Sir Edward Littleton of Pillaton Hall MP,  1529-36, 1553, 1554-5.

 

 Sir Thomas Giffard 1553, 1554-5 and John Giffard of Chillington 1553-4. Briefly the Giffards were the most powerful family in Staffordshire. Three generations of the family, alive at the same time, held seats at Westminster and held the post of sheriff.

 

1555

Thomas Giffard and Sir Edward Littleton represented the county.

 

However, on 8th August 1575 Queen Elizabeth I visited Chillington, passing through Penkridge. Three days later Giffard and all the heads of Roman Catholic families were summoned to appear before the Star Chamber. Until his death in 1614 Giffard was constantly in prison or on parole. His estates were administered by the crown and he was fined 40 a month.

 

In 1585 the Privy Council nearly turned Chillington into a prison for Mary, Queen of Scots before choosing Chartley. For next 150 years the Giffards held no public office in Staffordshire.