SEBOURNE, Richard (by 1524-84), of Sutton St. Nicholas, Herefs.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1524, s. of John Sebourne of Sutton St. Nicholas by a da. of John Parrott of Moreton. educ. I. Temple. m. by 1545, Elizabeth, da. of William Elton of Ledbury, 1s. 6da.1

Offices Held

Bencher, I. Temple 5 Feb. 1550.

J.p. Herefs. 1547, q. 1554-77, j.p.q. Cheshire 1558/59, 1564-82, Mon. 1558/59, 1564-77, Salop 1564-77, Welsh counties 1558/59, 1564-77; commr. relief, Herefs. 1550, to survey lands of bpric. of Hereford 1559; other commissions 1554-d.; dep. justice of Anglesey, Caern. and Merion. Mar. 1559; member, council in the marches of Wales 1560-77 or later.2


Richard Sebourne was of gentle birth but modest patrimony and his study of the law was probably intended to qualify him for its practise or for office-holding. By 1555, when his inn called on him to read, he was well launched on his local career and may already have come into his inheritance, so that he probably did not grudge the £40 which it cost him to evade the obligation; thereafter he is not known to have held office at the inn.3

Although by 1554 Sebourne was a justice of some years standing, his election in the autumn of that year as first knight of the shire smacks of official intervention: the names of both knights were inserted over erasures on the return. Whether or not Bishop Heath, president of the council in the marches, supported Sebourne as he clearly did the other knight, Thomas Havard, the man best placed to influence the outcome was Sir John Price, secretary to the council and sheriff on the occasion. Price’s friendship with Havard is not known to have extended to Sebourne, but the two were near neighbours outside Hereford and it was from Price that Sebourne had bought the manor of Rushock on his marriage in 1545. Like both Price and Havard, Sebourne attended the Parliament until its dissolution and so avoided the prosecution which awaited the Members who withdrew from it early without leave.4

Sebourne’s employment under Elizabeth, notably as a member of the council in the marches, shows that he conformed to the new order in religion as he had done to the old, even if Bishop Scory’s judgment of him in 1564 as ‘unfavourable’ implies that he shared the Catholicism for which other members of the family were noted. There is no hint of dissent in the will which he made on 18 May 1584 and which was proved on the following 7 July. He asked to be buried beside his parents in the chancel of Sutton church and left 100 marks for distribution to the poor at the discretion of his son and heir John, whom he named executor. His wife had predeceased him and three of his six daughters were unmarried at his death.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. J. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Herefs. ed. Weaver, 26, 64; Williams, Herefs. MPs. 39.
  • 2. CPR, 1547-8, p. 84; 1553, p. 354; 1553-4, pp. 34, 35, 37; 1558-60, pp. 31, 422; 1560-3, pp. 283, 438; 1563-6, pp. 23, 26, 28, 29-31, 41-42; 1569-72, p. 225; P. H. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, 356-7; R. Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 52, 96, 102, 111, 125; SP12/121, f. 3v; Hatfield 223/7. CPR, 1553-4, p. 20 gives John Sebourne as j.p. Herefs. 1554 probably in error for Richard Seborne who was certainly on the bench at this time, Hereford pub. lib., city muniments, bag 8, no. 14.
  • 3. Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 187, 194.
  • 4. C219/23/59; LP Hen. VIII, xx.
  • 5. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 12; Cath. Rec. Soc. lvii. 44; lxi. 31; G. Anstruther, Seminary Priests, i. 305; SP12/247/8; Williams, 98, 285; CPR, 1566-9, p. 114; PCC 15 Watson.