HORDE, John (1521/23-81), of Bridgnorth, Salop.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. 1521/23, 1st s. of Richard Horde of Bridgnorth by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir David Mathew of Radyr, Glam.; bro. of Jerome. educ. Eton c.1538. m. 1556, Catherine, da. of Adam Otley of Pitchford, Salop, 7s. inc. Thomas 6da. suc. fa. by 1554.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Bridgnorth 1549-50, coroner 1550-1; j.p.q. Salop 1579.2


The Horde family had been pre-eminent in Bridgnorth since the beginning of the 15th century, when it had acquired by marriage the property of the family of Palmer, which had supplied Bridgnorth with many bailiffs and Members. John Horde’s father, a younger son, was custos rotulorum for Shropshire and first known recorder of his native borough.3

Horde early achieved notoriety. In March 1541 he confessed before the Privy Council to robbing his old school at Eton of images and plate, which he sold to a London goldsmith: he was put in prison but released a week later on the recognizance of £100 entered into by his uncle Alan Horde, a lawyer of the Middle Temple. His father died in or shortly after 1550, when a new recorder was appointed: by then Horde had already been bailiff. In June 1553 he was granted a 21-year lease of a ‘ruinous messuage’ within the King’s castle at Bridgnorth. The timing of the grant may have been significant, for there are hints that Horde leaned towards the Duke of Northumberland. His family, in common with other Shropshire gentry, had recently had dealings with the duke, and a Richard Horde was to be arrested with Sir Robert Dudley after Mary’s accession: through his aunt’s marriage to Sir Edward Grey of Enville, Horde was distantly connected with Lady Jane Grey.4

Horde was returned for Bridgnorth to Mary’s third Parliament with his younger brother Jerome, who had already sat for the town in the two previous Parliaments of the reign. Unlike Jerome, he was one of the Members who withdrew from the House without leave before the dissolution, an offense which eventually cost him a fine of 53s.4d. in the King’s bench in Michaelmas term 1558 and may have precluded him from sitting again under Mary. On Elizabeth’s accession Horde might have been expected to come to the fore, especially as he had recently married into the affluent family of Otley, from which he obtained property in Shrewsbury and in Gloucestershire. In 1564 Bishop Bentham commended him to the Privy Council as ‘a wise and godly man’ fit to be made a justice, and he eventually became one, but he neither held municipal office again nor sat in another Parliament. This may be explained partly by the fact that until nearly the end of his life he did not control the greater part of the family property. After the death of his father’s eldest surviving brother Thomas Horde, his cousin Frances Horde’s husband Thomas Fermor occupied Horde Park and used his position to become sheriff, knight of the shire and finally recorder of Bridgnorth. It was not until Fermor’s death in August 1580, without issue by this marriage, that Horde came into the family inheritance which he was to enjoy for little more than a year. He died on 5 Dec. 1581, four days after making a will which was proved on 22 Nov. 1582. He named his wife, his 22 year-old eldest son Thomas and his brother-in-law Richard Otley executors and John Broke II and Richard Prince overseers.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Harding


  • 1. Aged 33 in 1555-56, Top. and Gen. i. 35. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 252-3; Bodl. Gough Salop 5, f. 9; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. liv. 182.
  • 2. Bridgnorth mss 9/2, ff. 561, 564.
  • 3. J. F. A. Mason, Bridgnorth, 17-18, 31; Bodl. Blakeway 8, f. 285; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. liv. 180 seq.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xvi; PPC, vii. 152, 158; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. liv. 181; CPR, 1553, p. 389; CP40/1109 mm. 10-10v (enrolled deeds); APC iv. 305; PCC 6 Jankyn.
  • 5. KB27/1176, 1188; Wards 2/30/102/5; NLW, Pitchford mss, 289, 614, 639, 641, 658, 921; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 45; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. liv. 183; C142/197/58; PCC 41 Tirwhite.