HORSEY, Sir John (1510-65), of Clifton Maybank, Dorset.

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



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. 25 July 1510, 1st s. of (Sir) John Horsey of Clifton Maybank by Joan, da. of one Mawdley of Croscombe, Som. m. 14 Dec. 1539, Edith, da. of Richard Phelips of Charborough, Dorset, wid. of John Stocker of Poole, Dorset, 1s. John 2da. suc. fa. 23 Dec. 1546. Kntd. 22 Feb. 1547.1

Offices Held

Servant, household of Cromwell by 1538; j.p. Dorset 1540-d.; commr. relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553, subsidy 1563; sheriff, Som. and Dorset 1558-9.2


John Horsey succeeded his father in December 1546 and was knighted in the following February, at the coronation of Edward VI. He had begun his career in the service of Cromwell, to whom he sold the manor of Horton Horsey in Sussex, but the minister’s fall preceded his own entry into local government, a sphere in which he became increasingly active with the accession of Edward VI. In the autumn of 1553 Horsey, who may have sat for Dorset earlier that year in the second Edwardian Parliament, for which the county’s returns are lost, was returned to the first Parliament of the new reign with Sir Giles Strangways II, the son of his father’s erstwhile partner in the House. This Parliament saw the emergence of a group opposed to the reunion with Rome, and the names of those who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, Protestantism, were marked with a cross on the list of its Members; crosses were originally entered over both Horsey’s and Strangways’s names but the one by Horsey’s was struck out. Whatever his religious opinions, Horsey was not again chosen for Parliament although his group continued to dominate Dorset and at least one of its number was usually elected for the knighthood of the shire. Some suspicion fell on him during the rebellion of the Duke of Suffolk and Sir Thomas Wyatt II after the part played by his nephews Francis and Edward Horsey became known, but Sir John Rogers and others vouched for his loyalty. He kept his place on the Dorset bench but it was not until the accession of Elizabeth that he served a term as sheriff.3

Horsey made his will on 14 June 1564, asking to be buried at Sherborne beside his father. His heir was his only son to whom he also left half his goods; the other half he left to his wife, his executrix, together with two thirds of his lands for three years, for the payment of his debts and legacies. He named nine overseers of his will, including John Leweston. Horsey died on 17 Jan. 1565.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Date of birth given at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/84/37. Hutchins, Dorset, iv. 427, 429 n.
  • 2. M. L. Robertson, ‘Cromwell’s servants’ (Univ. California Los Angeles Ph.D. thesis, 1975), 502-3; LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xv; CPR, 1550-3, p. 142; 1553, pp. 352, 414.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xv, xvii; Bodl. e Museo 17; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 58; D. M. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies, passim.
  • 4. PCC 9 Morrison; C142/141/2; Newman and Pevsner, Dorset, 376.