SCUDAMORE, (SKYDMORE), John (by 1503-71), of Holm Lacy, Herefs.

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 1503, s. of William Scudamore of Holm Lacy by Alice, da of Richard Mynors of Treago. m. (1) Sybil, da. of Walter Vaughan of Hergest, 4s. 5da.; (2) Joan, da. of William Rudhale of Rudhall, wid. of Richard Rede (d. 18 July 1544) of Boddington, Glos., s.p.2

Offices Held

Gent. usher, the chamber by 1524-35, esquire of the body ?1535; sheriff, Herefs. 1524-5, 1536-7, 1543-4, 1552-3; steward, duchy of Lancaster, Glos. and Herefs. 1524-d.; j.p. Herefs. 1528-d., Worcs. 1532-58/59, Oxford circuit 1540, Glos. 1554-58/59, Salop 1554; receiver, diocese of Hereford 1535, ct. of augmentations, Herefs., Salop, Staffs. and Worcs. Apr. 1536-54; commr. musters, Herefs. 1542, 1546, chantries, north and central Wales 1546, goods of churches and fraternities, Herefs. 1553; other commissions 1530-48; member, council in the marches of Wales 1553-?d.; custos rot. Herefs. by 1561; steward, Hereford and high steward, Archenfield, Herefs. in 1564.3


The Scudamores of Holm Lacy were a cadet branch of the family settled at Kentchurch: they had acquired Holm Lacy by marriage in the mid 14th century and John Scudamore was himself to augment it. He also built a house there on a site which, according to tradition, had been the dwelling-place of Walter de Lacy and his heirs. Further additions were to be made to the estate by the marriage of Scudamore’s son William with the heiress of (Sir) John Pakington of Hampton Lovett, Worcestershire.4

John Scudamore had early combined service in the royal household with duties in local administration. In 1534 he and his fellow-justices were asked by the mayor of Hereford to examine Richard Stopes alias Pewterer, a report of whose treasonable words went to Cromwell. That Scudamore had early found favour with Cromwell is shown by a letter of July 1534 from Scudamore to Alderman Ralph Warren, in which he deplored a fight which had taken place between ‘a lewd boy of mine’ and a servant of Cromwell’s, ‘a good master of mine’, and promised to put the offender in prison for a year if he caught him. Cromwell appointed Scudamore to make leases of the lands of the bishopric of Hereford after the death of Bishop Booth in 1535. He also seems to have ignored Bishop Rowland Lee’s objections to Scudamore when the president of the council in the marches sought to prevent his promotion in those parts, ‘as he is a gentleman dwelling nigh the welshry and kinned and allied in the same’. Scudamore’s opinion of the Welsh clearly differed from Lee’s, for he asked Cromwell whether he should not treat those parts of the marches annexed to the county as shire ground, adding that ‘the people are not well furnished but seem willing to serve the King if need be’.5

Scudamore’s Membership of the Parliament of 1529 is revealed by a lawsuit which arose out of it. In 1535 he brought a case in the Exchequer against Sir Edward Croft, who had been sheriff of Herefordshire in 1533-4. (A similar case was brought in Chancery against Croft by the executors of Sir Richard Cornwall, another knight of the shire for Herefordshire.) Scudamore claimed that on 2 Apr. 1534—three days after Parliament was prorogued—he had obtained a writ de expensis which he had delivered to Croft at Hereford on 20 June, and which the sheriff had executed at Ross on 20 Oct.: since then, however, Croft had refused to pay him the sum due and had caused him damages which he estimated at £20. As the amount involved, £30 16s., represented his wages for the 154 days which he had spent in going to, attending and returning from the fifth and sixth sessions of the Parliament, it is clear that he had been by-elected in place of John Rudhale, whose sister he was later to marry. His choice had evidently owed something to Cromwell, who had placed a circle against his name on a list of nominees to vacancies. Scudamore’s name next appears on another of Cromwell’s parliamentary lists written on the back of a letter of December 1534 and thought to be of Members having a particular, but unknown, connexion with the treasons bill then on its passage through Parliament; he was also the ‘Mr. Skydmore’ who served on a committee for the Act regulating the keeping of sheep which was passed during the sixth session. He may have sat again in the short Parliament of 1536, in accordance with the King’s general request for the return of the previous Members, but it is unlikely that he did so thereafter, except perhaps in 1545 when the names of the Herefordshire knights are lost. As the result of his suit against Croft is unknown, we cannot say whether financial considerations deterred him from seeking to prolong his parliamentary career, but its comparative brevity may have been due simply to the shire’s evident predilection at this time for regular change in its representation, few of its Members sitting more than once.6

Scudamore was no stranger to the administration of ecclesiastical property when in April 1536 he became augmentations receiver for Hereford and the neighbouring counties. Although Edward Fox had received the temporalities of the see of Hereford in the previous September, Scudamore had continued to administer them because of the bishop’s preoccupation with the King’s business in Germany: in a letter of 31 Aug. 1535 Fox had thanked him for his diligence and had referred all suitors to him. In January 1536 he is described as ‘farmer of the parsonage of Bridstow’, and in the following month the 3rd Lord Ferrers received his fee of £5 as the bishop’s steward over the signature of Scuadamore as ‘receiver of the bishop’s lands’. The receivership was well paid but Scudamore had to work hard in it at least until the court of augmentations was reconstituted in 1547. He was then one of seven out of the original 29 receivers who were reappointed. As an augmentations official he was able to benefit considerably from the Dissolution, his major acquisition being the house and lands of Abbey Dore, Herefordshire, which he purchased in 1540 for £379.7

During the northern rebellion of 1536 Scudamore was appointed to attend upon the King with 40 men and eight years later he served in the army against France. Shortly before the dissolution of the court of augmentations in 1554 he was made a member of the council in the marches of Wales, an appointment which he may have owed to his Catholicism but from which he was not removed on the accession of Elizabeth. It was as a member of the council, custos rotulorum and steward of Hereford that in 1564 he headed Bishop Scory’s list of those in authority in Herefordshire who were unfavourable to the Elizabethan settlement: if his religion did not prevent his continued employment, he himself was sufficiently accommodating to subscribe to the Act of Uniformity.8

Scudamore’s will, made on 20 July and proved on 17 Nov. 1571, was nevertheless as firmly Catholic as that of the more intransigent Thomas Havard, who had refused to subscribe. He bequeathed his soul to God, the Virgin Mary and the company of heaven and gave £20 to the poor to pray for his soul; a further £100 was to be bestowed on his funeral if he died at or near Holm Lacy but otherwise was to be ‘distributed amongst poor people to pray for my soul and all Christian souls and in amending of highways’. His eldest son William had died before 1560 but he still had a large family to provide for, including several grandchildren. Of his daughters, Jane was then married to (Sir) William Devereux of Merevale, Warwickshire. The residuary legatee was Scudamore’s grandson and heir, John, who was to serve in six Elizabethan Parliaments as junior knight for Herefordshire: he was named executor together with Edward Cooper, archdeacon of Hereford, with Richard Seborne as overseer. Scudamore died on 25 Sept. 1571 and was buried beside his first wife at Holm Lacy, the inscription on their altar-tomb praying passers-by ‘of their charity to say for their souls a paternoster and an ave’.9

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. J. Edwards


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; E13/214/11; House of Lords RO, Original Acts, 25 Hen. VIII, no. 13.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Herefs. ed. Weaver, 63; C. J. Robinson, Mansions and Manors of Herefs. 174; C142/153/59.
  • 3. Somerville, Duchy, i. 637, 640; Coll. Top. et Gen. iv. 256; LP Hen. VIII, iv, v, vii, xi-xviii, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 75, 76, 84, 91, 372; 1548-9, p. 137; 1553, p. 416; 1553-4, pp. 19, 20, 23, 26; 1569-72, p. 225;Cam. Misc. ix(3), 12; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 47, 49; P. H. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, 356-7.
  • 4. Robinson, 138-41.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, vii, viii, xi; Elton, Policy and Police, 65.
  • 6. E13/214/11; LP Hen. VIII, vii. 56 citing SP1/82, ff. 59-62, 1522(ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v; House of Lords RO, Original Acts, 25 Hen. VIII, no. 13.
  • 7. LP Hen. VIII, ix, x. xiii-xv; Richardson, 47.
  • 8. LP Hen. VIII, xi, xix; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 12.
  • 9. PCC 44 Holney; C142/161/80; Coll. Top. et Gen. iv. 256.