WHITE, Robert (1518/19-65), of Christchurch and Moyles Court in Ellingham, Hants.

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. 1518/19, 1st s. of Henry White of London by Audrey, da. and coh. of Robert Fenrother of London. m. by 1543, Catherine, da. of George Barrett of Belhus in Aveley, Essex, 1s. William 7da. suc. fa. 1535.1

Offices Held

J.p. Hants, 1553-58/59.2


Robert White’s father, who had been an eminent lawyer and under sheriff of London, entrusted his property in Hampshire, Kent and Middlesex to the executors of his will to keep his children in a manner suitable to their station and to send his sons ‘to school and to court’ as they thought fit. The wardship of Robert White was acquired in 1538 by a rising lawyer William Thornhill. White may have followed his father, his uncles John Kirton and Nicholas Tichborne, and his guardian in receiving a legal education, although there is no trace of him at an inn of court and he is not known to have practised as a lawyer. His patrimony consisted of two manors in Eling, a moiety of the manor of Bednam in Alverstoke and other lands in Hampshire including Milford near Christchurch; he also inherited through his mother a lease of the manor of Notting Hill with land in Chelsea, Kensington and Paddington, a valuable property which he exchanged with the King in 1543 for land in Hampshire, and a tenement in St. Dunstan in the East, London. He appears to have preferred the life of a country gentleman to residence in the capital since nearly all that has been discovered about him refers to the management of his Hampshire estate which he enlarged by several purchases, notably that of Christchurch priory in 1548, and consolidated by exchanges; the remainder of his inheritance in and around London he sold off gradually.3

Queen Mary asked that ‘such as be grave men, and of good and honest behaviour and conversation, and especially of Catholic religion’ should be chosen for the fourth Parliament of her reign, and in electing White as its senior Member Poole respected her wishes. As far as is known, he had no personal link with the borough, for which his former guardian Thornhill had sat in the Parliament of 1529, even though his main residence was not a dozen miles away, but his kinship with (Sir) Thomas White II gave him a connexion with John Paulet, Lord St. John, steward of the royal manor of which Poole was a ‘member’. Unlike his partner John Phelips, White did not join the opposition to a government bill.

After Elizabeth’s accession White was removed from the Hampshire bench, and nothing more has come to light about him before his death on 30 Jan. 1565. He had made his will on the previous 15 Nov. as an adherent of ‘the true Catholic faith of Christ.’ He directed that £6 be given to the poor of Christchurch and 6s.8d. to each of the four London gaols, while several servants were left sums varying from 10s. to 40s. He bequeathed to his daughters £100 each on marriage, to his sister Elizabeth, widow of Sir John Godsalve, a ring and a gelding, and to Sir John Berkeley a piece of silver; five marks each went to his supervisors, Chidiock Paulet and Edward Barrett, a brother-in-law. At the inquisition following his death White’s house, which had 23 rooms in addition to outhouses and stables, was valued at £795.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/57/8. PCC 37 Hogen, 19, 36 Bodfelde; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 145-6; N. and Q. clxxi. 148-51; C142/142/88; LP Hen. VIII, xviii.
  • 2. APC, iv. 347; CPR, 1553-4, p. 19.
  • 3. Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 16 passim; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 63; Cal Ct. Hustings Wills ed. Sharpe, ii(2), 630-1; PCC 26 Hogen; N. and Q. clxxi. 150; C142/57/8; DKR, x(2), 297; CPR, 1547-8 to 1557-8 passim; LP Hen. VIII, xviii; VCH Hants, iii. 193, 204; iv. 119, 554, 565.
  • 4. HMC 13th Rep. IV, 320; PCC 4 Stonard, 17 Tashe; N. and Q. clxxi. 148, 151, 167; CPR, 1563-6, p. 236; Hants RO, wills B1564/65; C142/142/88.