MARKHAM, Ellis (by 1515-78), of Laneham, Notts.

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



Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1515, 5th s. of Jerome Markham by da. of William de Longvilliers. m. Rosamund, da. of Sir Peter Frescheville of Staveley, Derbys., wid. of Robert Smith of Nunstainton, co. Dur., 2s.1

Offices Held

Servant of Abp. Lee by 1536-44, of Queen Catherine Parr by 1547, ?of Princess Elizabeth; surveyor of works, receiver and keeper of woods, duchy of Lancaster, Ripon, Yorks. 1547; commr. relief, Notts. 1550; j.p.q. 1554, 1561-2, 1573-d.2


Ellis Markham was a great-grandson of Sir John Markham, l.c.j., who established a branch of this influential Nottinghamshire family at Sedgbrook Hall in Lincolnshire. A younger son, Markham built up his own landed estate: in 1547 his lands were assessed at £10 a year and in 1558 at £40. By 1553 he was holding the site of the prebend and lands in Newthorpe, Yorkshire, but nothing has come to light about his other acquisitions.3

By 1536 Markham was a servant of Edward Lee, archbishop of York. On the outbreak of the Lincolnshire rebellion Lee used him to spread the news at Ripon fair of the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury’s advance against the rebels. He was still in Lee’s service in 1544, when he was sent to intercede with the lord chancellor on the archbishop’s behalf, but his master’s death in that year released him for employment elsewhere and by 1547 he had established himself in the household of Queen Catherine Parr. On her death he may have transferred to the household of Elizabeth, for in 1558 he was styled an ‘old pensioner’ in it. He was, however, mainly occupied in Yorkshire, where from 1547 he was duchy of Lancaster receiver at Ripon, which two years earlier had passed to the crown from the archbishopric. It was doubtless his familiarity with the possessions of the see which led to his appointment as one of its sequestrators when in October 1553 Archbishop Holgate was committed to the Tower: his part in the sale of Holgate’s goods was to be the subject of an unsuccessful action against him in 1561 by Archbishop Young, who accused him of selling them before Holgate was convicted, and also complained to Cecil of the favour shown to Markham.4

Markham must have owed his knighthood of the shire in the second and third Marian Parliaments chiefly to his local connexions: his cousin Sir John Markham had achieved it two or three times before, and would do so twice more, and Sir John’s two younger sons Thomas and William each sat for Nottingham. That it was a cousin, and not a son, who wore Sir John Markham’s mantle during his parliamentary interlude under Mary may reflect the older man’s Protestantism, or perhaps only the esteem which was to lead him to make his cousin an overseer and legatee in his will. Ellis Markham’s religious position has to be deduced chiefly from his later acceptance by the Elizabethan government, but unlike his father-in-law Sir Peter Frescheville he was not among the Members who quitted the Parliament of November 1554 without leave.5

Markham’s life under Elizabeth seems to have been that of a country gentleman of second rank. He died in 1578 and was buried in Laneham church. His lifesize statue, kneeling in magisterial robes with his son Gervase standing behind him, was erected on his tomb.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: C. J. Black


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 24; C. R. Markahm, Markham Memorials, i. 134-5; CPR, 1572-5, p. 29.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xii; E315/340/52; Lansd. 3(89), f. 194; Somerville, Duchy, i. 527; Stowe 571, f. 13v; CPR, 1553, p. 357; 1553-4, p. 22; 1560-3, p. 440; 1563-6, pp. 38, 42.
  • 3. E179/69/47/ Lansd. 3(89), f. 194; CPR, 1553, p. 87.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xii, xix; R. B. Smith, Land and Politics, 184; Markham, 134-5; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 188; A. G. Dickens, Robert Holgate (Borthwick Pprs. viii), 27-28.
  • 5. N. Country Wills, ii (Surtees Soc. cxxi), 16.
  • 6. Markham, 135.