ZOUCHE, John I (c.1515-85), of Ansty, Wilts.

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. c.1515, yr. s. of John, 8th Lord Zouche, of Harringworth, Northants., prob. by 1st w. Dorothy, da. of Sir William Capell of London. m. by 1545, Catherine, da. of Sir George St. Leger of Annery in Monkleigh, Devon, wid. of George Courtenay of Powderham, Devon, 3 or 4s. inc. Francis. Kntd. 10 Nov. 1549.2

Offices Held

Esquire of the body extraordinary by 1533; gent. pens. 1540, steward and bailiff, duchy of Cornwall manor of Mere, Wilts., keeper, Mere park 1539-d.; warden, Gillingham forest and bailiff, town and manor of Gillingham, Dorset 1539-d., bailiff for Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, unknown property by 1548; j.p. Wilts. 1558/59-d.; sheriff 1559-60; commr. musters 1573; other commissions 1551-68.3


As the son of a peer and the nephew of Sir William Paulet, later Marquess of Winchester, John Zouche was well placed to gain entry to the court. He and two other courtiers, George Carew and Edward Rogers, appear in Cromwell’s remembrances for 1536 in connexion with a bond for £60, and later in the same year he and Rogers were granted a licence to import Toulouse woad and Gascon wine.4

Zouche probably owed his appointment early in 1539 to duchy of Cornwall offices at Mere, formerly held by the attainted Marquess of Exeter, to another kinsman, Sir Thomas Arundell, receiver-general of the duchy, while those that he secured shortly afterwards at Gillingham, a few miles across the Dorset border, may have accrued to him through another family connexion, their former holder, John Rogers. These two offices were to involve Zouche in a Star Chamber dispute with William Grimston, a former servant of Sir John Rogers. Zouche was included in the King’s new bodyguard, the ‘spears’, or gentlemen pensioners, and was one of the esquires who greeted Anne of Cleves. The manor of Encombe, Dorset, granted to him in May 1540, he immediately alienated to Sir Thomas Arundell, but the manor and rectory of Ansty, which he leased in April 1541 was to become his chief residence; he received a life grant of it later in the same year and in 1546 he was granted it in tail male in return for his services and £100. In 1543 he was one of an evidently Protestant group, including Sir Edward Baynton and Gawain Carew, summoned before the Privy Council for eating flesh in Lent.5

Zouch was knighted at Westminster six days after the opening of the third session of the Parliament of 1547. He appears on the Crown Office list drawn up for the fourth session as having replaced John Story at Hindon, which lies a few miles from Ansty. Story had been committed to the Tower on 24 Jan. 1549 and had been there for the remainder of the second session; Zouche could therefore have taken his place either during that session or at the opening of the third. Hindon was one of the bishop of Winchester’s boroughs, but with Bishop Gardiner also in the Tower Zouche may have owed his return to his uncle Paulet who was steward of the bishopric. He probably enjoyed the support of his neighbour Sir William Herbert, soon to be created Earl of Pembroke, from whose home at Wilton he wrote in January 1552 to persuade the commissioners for the sale of crown property to retain Mere: it was presumably Pembroke who was to sponsor his later return for Shaftesbury. With such patrons, his advent in Parliament was in keeping with the downfall of the Protector Somerset; his brother Richard, who succeeded their father in August 1550, was to serve as a commissioner for Somerset’s trial. Zouche himself was to benefit from the execution in 1552 of Sir Thomas Arundell, whose manor of Tisbury, Wiltshire, he was to obtain on a 30-year lease. The return for Hindon to Edward VI’s last Parliament is missing, but in view of Zouche’s standing and connexions it is not unlikely that he was re-elected.6

In the pardon which he sued out in October 1553 Zouche was described as of Ansty, ‘alias Queen’s servant’, and he retained a position in the royal household throughout Mary’s reign. In 1551 he had been granted a life annuity of 200 marks to take effect from the death of Elizabeth Zouche, formerly abbess of Shaftesbury and presumably a kinswoman; he surrendered the patent in 1555 in exchange for a life annuity of £100. In 1557 he made a similar exchange of an annuity of £43 from Charles, 8th Baron Stourton, recently attainted of felony, for a life interest in his offices at Mere. He did not, however, reappear in Parliament during the reign, although his stepson Sir William Courtenay II was one of the most prominent of the opposition in the Parliament of 1555.7

Although he had stayed out of trouble Zouche doubtless welcomed Elizabeth’s accession. He was pricked sheriff of his county in 1559 and in 1564 he was described, like Sir John Thynne, as ‘a furtherer earnest in religion’. Zouche was to remain an active administrator in his county until his death on 30 May 1585.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. R. Johnson


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from family history and career. PCC 13 Holder; E150/939/1; Hoare, Wilts. Alderbury, 207; DNB (Zouche, Richard); CP, xii (2), 948; C142/209/44; Lit. Rems. Edw. VI, p. cccvii.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, ii, xiv, xv, xix, xx; E163/12/17, nos. 37, 50, 54; CPR, 1550-3, p. 142; 1558-60, pp. 86, 103; 1563-6, pp. 39, 42, 260; 1569-72, p. 219; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 464.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, x, xi, xiv.
  • 5. Ibid. xiv-xvii, xi; CPR, 1558-60, p. 86; St.Ch.2/16/351-9; APC, i. 114.
  • 6. Hatfield 207; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxix. 241; APC, iv. 5; CPR, 1553-4, p. 340.
  • 7. CPR, 1553-4, p. 413; 1554-5, p. 172; 1557-8, p. 312.
  • 8. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 36; C142/209/44.