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|2 Nov. 1584||CHRISTOPHER RITHE|
|1586||WILLIAM MORGAN III|
|NICHOLAS SAUNDERS II|
|15 Sept. 1597||FRANCIS AUNGIER|
|12 Oct. 1601||FRANCIS WOLLEY|
Haslemere was a ‘tithing’ in the manor of Godalming, which came into the hands of the Crown in Edward VI’s reign. Anthony Browne† Viscount Montagu was its steward from 1553 until his death in 1592. Though a Catholic, Montagu was trusted and rewarded by the Queen, being one of the commissioners for the trial of Mary Stuart in 1586, serving against the Armada in 1588, and entertaining the Queen at Cowdray in 1591. Thus, while there need be no doubt that he could have obtained the enfranchisement of a borough if this was his ambition, two questions remain: why Haslemere rather than Godalming, which had been incorporated for ten years by 1584, and what could have induced Browne to want it? Perhaps the answer to the second lies in some undiscovered connexion between him and the two undistinguished London lawyers, father and son, who were its first Members. As if to emphasize the obscurity of the whole matter, it was stated, only some dozen years later, that the place had ‘sent two burgesses to Parliament from time whereof the memory of man was not to the contrary’.
One of the 1586 MPs, William Campion, may have owed his return to the Rithes. The 1589 Members were another London lawyer, Hugh Hare, and John Haselrigge, of Clapham, Surrey, a brother-in-law and neighbour of Bartholomew Clerke, master of requests. All the remaining MPs for Haselmere in this period were connected with the Mores of Loseley. (Sir) William More I ‘recommended’ the grant of the 1596 charter, and (Sir) George More bought the place (still part of the hundred of Godalming) for a little over thirteen hundred pounds in November 1601. Thus the end of the patronage story is as clear as the beginning is obscure.
VCH Surr. iii. 1, 47-49; E351/309; PRO Index 6800, Signet office docquet bk.; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 657.