SKINNER, John II (by 1509-71), of Reigate, Surr.

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 1509, 1st s. of John Skinner I of Reigate by Catherine, da. of one Barley. m. settlement 1530, Anne, da. of Thomas or Walter Newdigate, 1s. John 5da. suc. fa. ?1543.1

Offices Held

Servant of Sir Anthony Browne by 1540; clerk of the avery by 1541; under steward, lordship of Banstead, Surr. by 1546; commr. relief, Surr. 1550, musters 1557, conventicles 1557, subsidy 1563; j.p. 1554, q. by 1558/59-64; collector of loan 1557; clerk of the green cloth by 1564-d.; usher and crier, KB by d.2


Nothing is known for certain of John Skinner’s upbringing and his early career is not easily disentangled from the last phase of his father’s. He is unlikely to have been the Oxford graduate of 1521 but he could have spent some time at the Inner Temple. When first heard of at court in 1540 he was in the service of Sir Anthony Browne, master of the horse. Since that office had earlier been held by Sir Nicholas Carew, a neighbour and friend of the Skinners, it may have been from Carew’s service that Skinner passed to Browne’s and so to the King’s; Carew was one of the trustees named by the elder John Skinner when he gave Anne Newdigate a life interest in certain property on her marriage to his son.3

By the close of 1541 Skinner was clerk of the avery in the royal stables. He was so described when in December of that year the council attendant on the King recommended that he should be given charge of Lord William Howard’s house at Reigate after Howard had been sent to the Tower for suspected complicity in Catherine Howard’s treason; the Council’s letter, written by (Sir) Ralph Sadler, was signed by, among others, Sir Anthony Browne. At the parliamentary elections in Surrey which immediately followed, Browne was returned for the shire and Skinner for Reigate. Both may be thought to have had crown support, but Skinner’s election, with his uncle James Skinner, also answered to the family’s standing in the borough; his father had been returned for it in 1529 and probably since, and it was evidently thought prudent to identify the new Member by the addition of ‘junior’ to his name. He may have been re-elected to the next Parliament, for which the names of the Reigate Members are lost; he had probably succeeded to his patrimony in 1543, had accompanied the King to France in the following year and had bought a house and lands in Reigate.4

Under Edward VI Skinner appears to have made little headway. The 30-year lease of all the attainted 3rd Duke of Norfolk’s property in and near Reigate which he obtained in March 1547 did not secure him a seat in the Parliament of that year and his only local promotion was to the relief commission in 1550; the John Skinner named in October 1551 as one of the commissioners to reform the canon law was almost certainly a namesake, doubtless the registrar of the ecclesiastical commission of 1559. In July 1553 Skinner attended the funeral of Edward VI as second averer in the stable. The reign of Mary first brought him into prominence. His appointment to the Surrey bench followed, and perhaps rewarded, his steadfastness during the rebellion of his kinsman