MANWOOD, Roger II (by 1532-92), of the Inner Temple, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1532, 2nd s. of Thomas Manwood of Sandwich, Kent by Catherine, da. of John Galloway of Cley, Norf.; bro. of John. educ. St. Peter’s sch. Sandwich; I. Temple, adm. Feb. 1548, called by 1555. m. (1) settlement 30 May 1571, Dorothy (d. 14 Sept. 1575), da. of John Theobald of Seal, Kent, wid. of John Croke of London and of Christopher Allen of London, 3s. inc. Peter 2da.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of John Coppinger of Allhallows, Kent, wid. of John Wilkins of Stoke, Kent, s.p. Kntd. 15 Nov. 1578.2

Offices Held

Common serjeant, I. Temple 1552, bencher 1558, Lent reader 1565, serjeant-at-law 1567.

Recorder, Sandwich Apr. 1555-66; j.p.q. Kent 1561-d., Mdx. 1564-d., many other counties from 1573; commr. Rochester bridge 1561, 1568, 1571, 1574; steward or judge of Chancery and Admiralty cts. of Dover temp. Eliz; steward of liberties to Archbishop Parker to 1572; puisne judge c.p. 14 Oct. 1572; circuit judge, w. circuit by 1573-4, Oxford circuit by 1587; chief baron, Exchequer 17 Nov. 1578-d.; member, High Commission 23 Apr. 1576; receiver of petitions in the Lords, Parlts. of 1584, 1586, 1589.3


Roger Manwood was educated at Sandwich, in the grammar school attached to Thomas Ellis’s chantry. Admitted to the Inner Temple, he was called to the bar by 1555, perhaps even by July 1553, the date of his first known payment of 20s.—raised in 1555 to 40s. and two years later to £3—as counsel to the Cinque Ports. When in January 1555 Sandwich appointed him ‘counsel learned’ or, as Boys calls it, steward of the court or recorder, at an annual fee of 40s., the entry in the town book recorded ‘the good will, furtherance, travail and pains’ he had taken ‘concerning the drawing out of bills and other things for the common wealth of the town put into the parliament house’. The following years saw him hard at work for the ports, in particular for Sandwich and Rye, while continuing to discharge a series of duties, some serious, some less so, at his inn: the lighter ones culminated in his appearance, prophetically, as the ‘chief baron of the Prince’s Exchequer’ during the famous ‘solemn Christmas’ of 1561, when Sir Robert Dudley was the chief performer and Christopher Hatton also took part.4

Manwood was to sit for Sandwich in every Parliament between 1558 and 1572, when he became a judge, and if the port had had its way he would have begun to do so earlier. On 4 Oct. 1555 Sandwich elected him and Nicholas Peake as its Members in Mary’s fourth Parliament, but on the return made from Dover castle on 15 Oct. he appears as the second Member for Hastings and Sir John Perrot as Peake’s fellow-Member for Sandwich. This transposition, if it was not a mere clerical oversight, can almost certainly be attributed to the lord warden, Sir Thomas Cheyne; he had once before imposed his son-in-law Perrot on Sandwich, but this time he was able to accommodate the displaced person elsewhere. From what is known of the relationship between Cheyne and Manwood, who was to be an executor of Cheyne’s will, the arrangement is likely to have been an amicable one. It was not, however, to be repeated at the next election in December 1557, when after Sandwich had chosen both Manwood and his elder brother it was John Manwood who was superseded by another of Cheyne’s sons-in-law, Nicholas Crispe: the elder Manwood would have to wait for a seat until 1571. Of Roger Manwood’s Membership of the two Marian Parliaments all that is known is that he was paid the statutory 2s. a day for attending them and that his name is not to be found on the list of those who opposed a government bill in 1555.5

At Mary’s death Manwood’s brilliant but ill-fated legal career had only just begun. He had presumably not yet bought much property in Sandwich, and his benefactions to the grammar school and the poor of the town were still in the future. He is remembered as an exceptionally corrupt lawyer who gave vast sums to Kentish charities. He died on 14 Dec. 1592, and was buried at Hackington.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from fee for legal services in 1553. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 135; Add. 29759, ff. 26-27, 101-2; C142/244/112; W. Boys, Sandwich (1792), 245 seq.; Foss, Judges, v. 516, 523; Arch. Cant. xvii. 239n; Berry, Peds. Kent, 356.
  • 3. Sandwich little black bk. f. 62; CPR, 1560-3, p. 37; 1563-6, pp. 38, 43; 1569-72, p. 278; 1572-5, p. 194; Strype, Parker, ii. 168; Grindal, 309-10; Foss, v. 407-8; Egerton 2345, f. 45; APC, xv. 226; LJ, ii. 61, 113, 145.
  • 4. Foss, v. 516; Masters of Bench of I.T. 11; I.T. Recs. i. passim; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch Soc. recs. br. xix), 249, 252, 256 et passim; Sandwich little black bk. f. 62v et passim; Rye chamberlains’ accts. 6, ff. 150v, 171, 183.
  • 5. Sandwich little black bk. ff. 74, 122v; C219/24/222, 224; PCC 1 Chaynay.
  • 6. L. W. Abbott, Law Reporting in Eng., 65-66, 136-7, 143, 169, 195, 205, 211, 216, 227; Foss, v. 516; W. K. Jordan, Social Institutions in Kent (Arch. Cant. lxxv), passim; Hasted, Kent, ix. 52; C142/244/112; Newman, N.E. and E. Kent, 236-7.