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

Background Information

No names known for 1510-15


 (not known)
aft. 1532JOHN SCUDAMORE vice Rudhale, deceased2
aft. 2 Sept. 1533?JAMES BASKERVILLE vice Cornwall, deceased3
1536(not known)
1545(not known)
1553 (Mar.)(not known)
1554 (Apr.)JOHN LINGEN
 (aft. 3 May 1554 not known)
 (aft. 27 Nov. 1555 not known)

Main Article

The Herefordshire elections were held at Hereford castle by the sheriff. No individual or family was powerful enough to dominate the shire and the only magnate who might have done so, Walter Devereux, 3rd Lord Ferrers, created Viscount Hereford in 1550, was too preoccupied with his interests elsewhere; his grandfather and great-grandfather had sat for Herefordshire but his own sons entered the Commons for other counties. Nearly all the Herefordshire knights lived in the county, most being of established families there, and the one exception, John Vaughan (if correctly identified as a younger son in the family of Porthaml, Breconshire), was of Herefordshire descent with a Herefordshire mother, held the stewardship of several manors in the county and was a kinsman of the sheriff Sir Richard Vaughan. Thomas Havard and Gregory Price both sat for Hereford, Havard at least five times before his election for the county and Price six times afterwards, but only Vaughan was returned outside the county and few of those who sat only for Herefordshire did so more than once within the period. All except Vaughan served on the commission of the peace for Herefordshire, although some, including the young James Croft and the even younger Price, were not appointed to it until after their first election, and about half of them served one or more terms as sheriff.

Election indentures survive for the first Parliament of Edward VI and all those of Mary save that of April 1554. The contracting parties are the sheriff and some half dozen named electors et alios; those present included John Scudamore in 1547, October 1554 and perhaps 1555, Humphrey Coningsby in October 1554 and Sir James Baskerville in 1555. The names of both knights are inserted over erasures in 1554, when one at least, Havard, clearly enjoyed the support of the sheriff, Sir John Price. The names given by the compilers of the Official Return for the Parliament of 1542 may have been taken from the dorse of the writ (now illegible) or from the 18th-century index attributed to Kipling; only Croft’s Membership is confirmed from other sources and in Vaughan’s case there is also a problem of identity. He is not the only Herefordshire knight who cannot certainly be identified. Some time after the death of John Rudhale Cromwell proposed either John Scudamore or James Baskerville as replacement and Scudamore, whom Cromwell had seemingly preferred, is known to have been by-elected, but when in the autumn of 1533 Sir Richard Cornwall also died it may well have been Baskerville who took his place. There were then, however, two James Baskervilles, father and son, of whom probably the father, a man experienced in shire administration and known at court, was the minister’s nominee. There were likewise two John Lingens, again father and son, alive in 1539, but in this instance the son was of better standing than the father, a man of very poor reputation. The two Cornwalls were father and son and the younger James Baskerville and John Baskerville were brothers. Other Members were related in a tightly knit county community: Sir Richard Cornwall was the uncle of his fellow-Member Rudhale and Gregory Price was, by November 1559, Humphrey Coningsby’s son-in-law. Coningsby himself was a brother-in-law of the leading Marian Sir Francis Englefield, whose aunt had married the elder John Lingen and who was otherwise related to both the Cornwalls and the Rudhales. An earlier relationship with the Devereux was renewed when the younger James Baskerville married a daughter of Lord Ferrers, and this connexion adds weight to the statement (made by Browne Willis) that Baskerville sat again for Herefordshire in March 1553, since Ferrers, then Viscount Hereford, was a supporter of the Duke of Northumberland, under whose aegis the Parliament had been called. Croft was also in favour with the duke and a likely candidate for the other Herefordshire seat.9

Three of the knights are known to have claimed payment of parliamentary wages, Cornwall for the Parliaments of 1523 and (through his executors) 1529, Scudamore for 1529 also and Croft for 1542: three of these claims led to lawsuits. The county was named in the Acts (22 Hen. VIII, c.1 and 37 Hen. VIII, c.15) regulating the sale of wool, and in those (23 Hen. VIII, c.2; 28 Hen. VIII, c.9; 37 Hen. VIII, c.23 and 1 Mary st.2, c.14) providing for the building of new gaols. At the Union of Wales with England three lordships were transferred from the marches to Herefordshire, but in Mary’s reign it lost Bucknell to Shropshire.

Author: A. J. Edwards


  • 1. SP1/55/67.
  • 2. E13/214/11; House of Lords RO, Original Acts, 25 Hen. VIII, no. 13.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, vii. 56 citing SP1/82, ff. 59.62. 'Hereford' appears twice on the list but its inclusion among the boroughs was a clerical slip.
  • 4. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Index 16763; E13/222/2v; C1/973/75.
  • 7. Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. C219/18B/33, 19/37, 21/70, 23/59, 24/72, 25/52.