BELASYSE, Henry (1604-1647), of Oulston, nr. Thirsk, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press

Constituency

Dates

1625
1626
1640 (Apr.)
1640 (Nov.) - 6 Sept. 1642
1644 (Oxf. Parl.)

Family and Education

b. 20 May 1604, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Belasyse* and Barbara, da. of Sir Henry Cholmley† of Roxby, Yorks.1 educ. Trin. Camb. 1615; L. Inn 1619.2 m. 1622, Grace (d. 7 Jan. 1660), da. of Sir Thomas Barton of Smithells, Lancs., 7s. (5 d.v.p.) 7da. (2 d.v.p.).3 d. 20 May 1647.4

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (N. Riding) 1628-44, custos rot. 1641-4, j.p. co. Dur. 1634-44, Cawood and Ripon liberties 1641;5 commr. sewers, N. Riding 1632, 1638, oyer and terminer, Northern circ. 1638-41, subsidy N. Riding 1641, Poll Tax 1641, assessment 1642, array, Yorks. and co. Dur. 1642;6 dep. lt. N, Riding 1642.7

Treas. (jt.) of monies to pay off the Scots army 1641.8

Biography

Belasyse was sent to Cambridge at an unusually early age, perhaps to evade the requirement to take the Oath of Allegiance. In 1620 his father leased the advowson and tithes of a neighbouring parish, presenting William Bearman, a former Trinity student who may have been his son’s tutor. Family influence secured Belasyse’s return at Thirsk in 1625, in which his only recorded contribution was the tabling of a bill ‘to preserve the liberties of the Commons’ House of Parliament’ on 28 June. It was immediately given a first reading, but went no further. Returned for Thirsk once again at the next election, Belasyse left no trace on the records of this Parliament.9

After Belasyse’s father was created Lord Fauconberg in 1627 William Mallory*, discussing the prospects for a fresh Parliament with Christopher Wandesford*, suggested that Belasyse should partner Sir Thomas Wentworth* in a contest for the county seats against Sir John Savile*. While the latter was a puritan, his commission for compounding with recusants had garnered him unexpected support among Catholics, and Wandesford believed that his defeat could only be arranged by a pairing with Belasyse, whose family was also ‘gracious with the papists’; the deal was concluded by Belasyse’s uncle Sir Ferdinando Fairfax*. Returned by a narrow margin, Belasyse was not very active: he was named to committees concerning a petition against Sir Simeon Steward* (10 May 1628) and a bill concerning the charter of the Somers Island Company (10 Feb. 1629). In the supply debate of 4 Apr. 1628 he echoed his father’s earlier reluctance to be over-generous, supporting a grant of four subsidies in preference to the five eventually voted. On 2 Mar. 1629, when (Sir) John Eliot* tabled three inflammatory resolutions in defiance of the attempt by the Speaker, John Finch II, to adjourn the House, it was Belasyse who moved ‘that the Speaker if he would not put it [the adoption of Eliot’s proposals] to the question should come out of the chair and the House should choose another’.10

No action was taken against Belasyse after the dissolution, which suggests that the government did not consider him to have been one of the ringleaders of the demonstration. His father quickly became an opponent of Wentworth’s administration as lord president of the North. At the height of the quarrel in 1631, with Fauconberg accusing Wentworth of misconduct, Belasyse was committed to the Gatehouse prison by the Privy Council for a month, and on his release he sought to provoke Wandesford to a duel. Warrants were issued for his arrest in 1633, when he and his father defied the Proclamation ordering country gentlemen to keep Christmas on their estates, apparently in order to evade the jurisdiction of the Council in the North until Wentworth had left for Ireland. Relations were patched up by vice-president Sir Edward Osborne* - Belasyse’s brother-in-law - but Belasyse remained an opponent of arbitrary government in 1640 and was only a late convert to the royalist cause.11

Belasyse surrendered at Newark, where his brother John† was governor, in May 1646, and almost immediately began composition proceedings. He died intestate on 20 May 1647 only days after his and his father’s fine had been set at £5,302, a sum which was reduced by £1,000 after the local parson was persuaded to testify that Belasyse had died some weeks earlier. His eldest son Thomas succeeded as 2nd Baron Fauconberg in the following year, and was summoned to the Other House in 1657 by his father-in-law, Oliver Cromwell*. The next family member to sit in the Commons was his great-great-grandson, returned for Peterborough in 1768.12

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy

Notes

  • 1. Coxwold (Yorks. Par. Reg. Soc. cxx), 42; Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 232-3.
  • 2. Al. Cant.; LI Admiss.
  • 3. Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 232-3; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xvi. 3.
  • 4. Coxwold, 131.
  • 5. C231/4, f. 250; 231/5, pp. 140, 426; C181/5, ff. 216-17.
  • 6. C181/4, f. 114; 181/5, ff. 96v, 203; Yorks. Arch. Soc. MD125; SR, v. 83, 107, 150; Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 7. N. Yorks. RO, mic. 1282/9109.
  • 8. SR, v. 123.
  • 9. Richard Cholmley Memorandum Bk. (N. Yorks. RO, xliv), 206, 224; Trin. Coll. Adm. i. 227; Procs. 1625, p. 257.
  • 10. Wentworth Pprs. ed. J.P. Cooper (Cam. Soc. ser. 4. xii), 278, 287; CD 1628, ii. 312, 319; vi. 62; CD 1629, p. 255.
  • 11. J.T. Cliffe, Yorks. Gentry, 297-8; R. Reid, Council in the North, 414-16, 427; APC, 1630-1, pp. 292-3, 345-6; Fairfax Corresp. ed. G.W. Johnson, i. 231; H. Aveling, Northern Catholics, 229-30; PC2/42, pp. 472, 508, 526; CSP Dom. 1631-3, p. 529; Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 76.
  • 12. Royalist Comp. Pprs. ed. J.W. Clay (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xviii), 167-70; HMC Astley, 21; Coxwold, 104; Borthwick, Bulmer deanery act bk. 1641-68, f. 28v; PROB 6/27, f. 27.

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