RADCLIFFE, Sir John (1539-68), of Old Cleeve, Som.

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

bap. 31 Dec. 1539, 4th s. of Robert Radcliffe, 1st Earl of Sussex, by 3rd w. Mary, da. of Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, Cornw.; half-bro. of Sir Humphrey Radcliffe. m. Anne, s.p. Kntd. 22 Feb. 1547.1

Offices Held


The 1st Earl of Sussex died three years after the birth of his youngest son John Radcliffe, who was brought up by his mother and her second husband Henry, 12th Earl of Arundel. It was as the son, half-brother and stepson of three earls that Radcliffe was knighted, when only in his eighth year, at the coronation of Edward VI. He received the manor of Cleeve from his father or half-brother and when he was 15 his stepfather was licensed to grant him Northam manor in Devon. His precocious election to Mary’s last Parliament he must likewise have owed to these two kinsmen: Castle Rising belonged to the dukes of Norfolk, and the 4th Duke was Arundel’s son-in-law and Sussex’s cousin. This was the first occasion on which the borough returned Members and Norfolk may have secured its enfranchisement to provide his servant Sir Nicholas Lestrange with a seat. Nothing is known of Radcliffe’s role in the House but he was presumably interested in the Act for the assurance of the Countess of Sussex’s jointure (4 and 5 Phil. and Mary, no.13) passed during the first session. He was re-elected at Castle Rising to the next Parliament but was replaced by the duke’s stepfather Thomas Steyning and sat instead for Grampound, where he presumably owed his return to one of his mother’s family. His half-brother Sir Humphrey Radcliffe also sat in both Parliaments. Radcliffe died on 9 Nov. 1568.2

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Baptism given in H. B. Wilson, St. Laurence Pountney, 129. CP, xii(1), 519-20; PCC 21 Babington; DNB (Radcliffe, Robert) incorrectly gives the earl’s second wife as Sir John’s mother.
  • 2. Collinson, Som. iii. 512; CPR, 1553-4, p. 372; 1563-6, p. 8; Reg. St. Olave, Hart St. (Harl. Soc. xlvi), 108, 120.