QUARNBY, Humphrey (by 1513-65/66), of Nottingham.

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



Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1513, s. of Thomas Quarnby of Derby by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Henry Tickhill. m. Elizabeth da. and h. of Robert Mellors (d.1515 or later) of Nottingham, at least 3s. 3da.2

Offices Held

Sheriff, Nottingham 1534-5, alderman by 1541, mayor 1542-3, 1549-50, 1555-6, 1562-3, j.p. by 1552.3


Humphrey Quarnby was by trade a bell-founder. His family did not make its mark in Nottingham until Quarnby’s appointment as sheriff in 1534 was followed by the election of his uncle Nicholas Quarnby to fill a vacancy in the town’s representation in Parliament. Their ascendancy doubtless owed something to a double alliance with the influential Mellors family, the uncle marrying Robert Mellors’s widow and the nephew his daughter and heir. The younger Quarnby succeeded to Mellors’s bell-foundry and to his municipal position. He bought metal from the dissolution commissioners, including a bell from the Nottingham Greyfriars, and among the bells he cast were those commissioned for Worksop priory during the reign of Mary. He became a warden of the Nottingham free school, which two generations of Mellors had patronized.4

Privileged to hold ‘a greyhound to chase’ and to hunt hares and foxes in Sherwood forest, Quarnby possessed property in various parts of Nottingham, his own house being on Swine Green. He was involved in considerable litigation, notably with kinsmen of his wife over her inheritance. As a townsman and municipal dignitary he was a natural choice for one of Nottingham’s seats at the opening of Mary’s reign. Unlike his fellow-Member in October 1553, Thomas Markham, he did not oppose the initial measures towards the restoration of Catholicism. The will which he was to make a dozen years later bears out his religious conservatism; this did not however prevent his election to Elizabeth’s second Parliament, of which he was a Member at his death in 1565 or 1566.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: C. J. Black


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Thoroton, Notts. ed. Throsby, ii. 40-41; Nottingham Bor. Recs. iv. 395.
  • 3. Nottingham Bor. Recs. iii. 465; iv. 101, 416-18.
  • 4. Ibid. iii. 194; iv. 108; VCH Notts. ii. 368.
  • 5. Nottingham Bor. Recs. iii. 215; iv. 395, 396; C1/741/241, 1172/32, 1183/1; N. Country Wills, ii (Surtees Soc. cxxi), 43-44.