WESTON, Robert (by 1522-73), of Lichfield, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. by 1522, 3rd s. of John Weston of Weeford, Staffs. by Cecily, da. of Ralph Neville and sis. of Ralph, 4th Earl of Westmorland; bro. of James†. educ. All Souls, Oxf., fellow 1536, law dean 1538; BCL 1538, DCL 1556; adv. Doctors’ Commons 1 Oct. 1556. m. Alice da. of Richard Jenyns or Jennings of Great Barr, Staffs., 1s. 3da.1
Principal, Broadgates Hall, Oxf. 1546-9; vicar-gen. Lichfield diocese in 1550, chancellor, Exeter diocese 1551-3, Lichfield diocese by 1564; dean of arches 11 Jan. 1560-67; commr. visit diocese of Lichfield 1560, to enforce Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy 1562 [I] 1568, England 1571, piracy 1564; master in Chancery by 1563; ld. chancellor and ld. justice [I] 1567; dean, St. Patrick’s, Dublin 11 June 1567-d., Wells 30 June 1570-d.2
It was on the recommendation of Sir Thomas Wriothesley that in May 1546 Robert Weston was appointed deputy to John Story in the regius professorship of civil law at Oxford; in the same year he became principal of Broadgates Hall, as Story had earlier been. Unlike Story, whose Catholicism drove him abroad in 1549, Weston accepted the Edwardian Reformation and remained at his post; in November 1550 John ab Ulmis reported during his visit to Oxford that he found Weston ‘a man of pleasing elocution and considerable erudition’.3
It was Weston’s appointment late in 1551 as chancellor to the new bishop of Exeter, Miles Coverdale, which linked him with that city and so led to his Membership of the Parliament of March 1553. The corporation preserved the rule that only freemen could be elected by admitting Weston on Feb. ‘at the instance of the Twenty-Four for divers considerations’. Weston’s interlude at Exeter came to an end when in the following September Coverdale was deprived, but his future at Oxford was secured by his renewal as deputy professor on the appointment of William Aubrey II to the chair. After taking his doctorate in July 1556 he became an advocate at Doctors’ Commons and practised in the court of Canterbury. His election to the Parliaments of 1558 and 1559 may not have been unconnected with his profession, which could have involved work for the ecclesiastical authorities at Lichfield, although the bishop himself, a zealous Catholic, would hardly have viewed with favour a man of Weston’s religious record. His local ties and residence in the city, strengthened by his marriage into a prominent Lichfield family, doubtless conduced to his adoption, and he must have been known to the borough’s patron William, Lord Paget, although no connexion has been traced between him and Paget such as those which accounted for the election of his fellow-Members Richard Cupper and Henry Paget. He is to be distinguished from the ‘Dr. Weston’ who spent the greater part of 1558 in the Tower; this was Hugh Weston, successively dean of Westminster and Windsor who was deprived and imprisoned for immorality.4
Weston’s considerable attainments were recognized by Elizabeth who entrusted him with key posts in the administration of Ireland. He died in Dublin on 30 May 1573.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard
- 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Erdeswick, Staffs. 164; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. iii(2), 20n; CP (1887), viii. 112; Foss, Judges, v. 543. Although the published pedigrees disagree as to whether Cecily Neville was Weston’s mother or grandmother, what little is known about Cecily establishes her identity with Weston’s mother. PCC 25 Peter; N. and Q. (ser. 4), iv. 367; Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p.618.
- 2. Emden, 618; J. Vowell alias Hooker, Bps. of Exeter, 43; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 46-47; CPR, 1560-3, pp. 279-80; 1566-9, pp. 27, 173; 1569-72, pp. 2, 440-2; Strype, Parker, i(1), 152; CSP For. 1558-9, p. 287; 1561-2, p. 127; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 24; Add. 1566-79, p. 525; CSP Ire. 1509-73, pp. 294, 335-6.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII , xxi; CPR , 1553-4, p. 395; Rep. R. Comm. of 1552 (Archs. of Brit. Hist. and Culture iii), 81.
- 4. D. H. Pill, ‘The diocese of Exeter under Bp. Veysey’ (Exeter Univ. M.A. thesis, 1963), 346; Exeter mayor’s ct. bk. 1545-57, f. 321; Exeter Freemen (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. extra ser. i), 79; Trans. Dev. Assoc. lvi. 206-7; lxii, 221; CPR , 1553-4, p. 395; J.C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parlt. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), i. 352; E179/178/168; DNB (Weston, Hugh).
- 5. M. Mason, St. Patrick’s, Dublin , 166-7, app. liv.