ARDERN (ARDEN), Richard (by 1515-62), of Sulgrave and Whitfield, Northants.

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



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1515, yr. s. of John Ardern (d.1535), of Cottisford, Oxon. by Isabel, da. of John Gifford of Twyford, Bucks. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. BA 1529, fellow 1531, MA 1534. m. 3s. 1da.; 1s. illegit.1

Offices Held

Proctor, Oxf. Univ. 1538-9.2


Richard Ardern, a younger son in a family settled at Cottisford since the mid 15th century, was the second of that family to hold a fellowship at Magdalen. His half-brother Leonard Ardern was admitted to Corpus Christi in 1528 and seven years later was ordained to the priesthood. His marriage may have been the occasion of Ardern’s vacating his fellowship at Magdalen, which he had done by 1541, but it did not end his association with the college, which held lands at Brackley, some two miles from Whitfield, where Ardern may well have settled as its bailiff. He had been bursar of the college from 1536 to 1539 and early in the reign of Mary he sued a burgess of the town for money promised him in return for a lease of the college property. He also appears occasionally in the Brackley court rolls in pleas of debt, as do members of his family. Few other traces of him have been found: in 1543 he witnessed a covenant between John Welsborne (his brother Anthony Ardern’s master) and Thomas Thorne, and in 1556 he contributed 6s. worth of bread to his kinsman Sir Thomas Pope’s foundation-feast at Trinity College.3

Although no link has been found between him and the 3rd Earl of Derby other than in respect of the borough of Brackley, Pope and Welsborne were not Ardern’s only distinguished connexions. He was related through the Giffords to the Wenmans and through them to Sir John Williams, later Baron Williams of Thame, who in 1547 had secured the election of his son Henry Williams and his son-in-law Richard Wenman as knights for Northamptonshire. William Chauncy, knight of the same shire in three Marian Parliaments, was a kinsman of William Riseley to whom Thomas Gifford of Twyford bequeathed a cup in a will of which Ardern’s brother John of Cottisford was overseer. Nothing is known of Ardern’s role in the Commons. He was probably a Catholic: the Arderns of Cottisford and Kirtlington were to be recusants in the following reign and three members of the family in Northamptonshire were to be arrested for alleged complicity in the Babington plot.4

Ardern’s will was made on 9 Aug. 1562 and proved on the following 17 Nov. He left Sulgrave rectory to his eldest son and sole executor William, £100 to each of his two younger sons, 100 marks to his daughter and £20 to his illegitimate son and namesake, who was to be sent to the school at Brackley founded by Magdalen College. Anthony Ardern and Thomas Thorne were overseers. William Ardern did not long survive his father and in his own will of 27 Apr. 1564 he left horses to Robert, son of Lawrence Washington, and ‘my brother’ John Tompson, and named Lawrence Washington and Tompson overseers.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 128-9; Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 12; PCC 29 Streat.
  • 2. Emden, 12.
  • 3. VCH Oxon. vi. 106; W. D. Macray, Magdalen Coll. Reg. n.s. i. 120; ii. 66; CP40/1138/315v; C1/1098/35; Northants. RO, Ellesmere mss box X 449 ct. rolls, 10 July 1556, 27 May 1558, 10 July 1559; LP Hen. VIII, xviii.
  • 4. PCC 4 Bucke; A. Davidson, ‘Catholicism in Oxon. 1580-1640’ (Bristol Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1970), 39, 209-10, 312; Northants. Rec. Soc. xxvii. 32-33.
  • 5. PCC 29 Streat, 1 Crymes; Northants. Past and Present, iv. 37.