Available from Boydell and Brewer
|10 Jan. 1559||SIR EDWARD ROGERS|
|SIR WILLIAM ST. LOE|
|1562/3||SIR EDWARD ROGERS|
|SIR MAURICE BERKELEY I|
|28 Apr. 1572||SIR HUGH PAULET|
|SIR MAURICE BERKELEY I|
|Jan./Feb. 1576||SIR GEORGE SPEAKE vice Paulet, deceased|
|26 Oct. 1584||HENRY BERKELEY II|
|1586||(SIR) HENRY BERKELEY II|
|18 Nov. 1588||FRANCIS HASTINGS I|
|1593||(SIR) FRANCIS HASTINGS I|
|12 Sept. 1597||SIR FRANCIS POPHAM|
|SIR HUGH PORTMAN|
|1601||SIR MAURICE BERKELEY II|
The Somerset gentry took turns as knights of their shire throughout this period, amicably so far as is known, except for one contest, in 1571, the details of which can be learned from a letter of advice sent by Edward Phelips of Montacute to his son in 1614, when the son was facing a contest in the county. The 1571 candidates were Amias Paulet, heir to Sir Hugh; George Rogers of Cannington, whose father, the comptroller of the Household, had represented Somerset in 1559, and who had died in 1568; and John Stawell of Cothelstone. Phelips explains that the electors assembled in ‘Mr. Hodge’s great pasture’, where a ‘view’ was taken. ‘He that hath the greatest number to have the first place, the next the second place, and the third to lose it’.1 Paulet came first, Rogers second and Stawell was defeated. It is interesting to see that it was Amias Paulet, rather than his father, whose candidature was put at risk, and, the son having secured the seat, the father came in next time. A point for conjecture is what the result would have been if separate elections had been held for each of the two seats. Perhaps then Rogers would have been the senior knight as his social status demanded, he being already in possession of the family estates, while Paulet had not yet succeeded. Stawell never stood again. He was made KB at James’s coronation and his son was senior knight of the shire in 1625.
Sir George Speake, who came in at the by-election following Sir Hugh Paulet’s death, may have had the backing of his uncle, the other 1572 man, Sir Maurice Berkeley I. Thomas Horner (1584, 1586) was from a minor family, and had not succeeded to his estates, but he had made a fortunate marriage to the daughter of John Popham, an ‘alliance with Judge Popham that swayed all the temporal government in Somerset’. Francis Hastings I (1589, 1593) had recently removed to Somerset as steward of the estates of his brother the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. His fellow MP on both occasions, Edward Dyer, had inherited Somerset estates, but was more courtier than country gentleman.
Author: P. W. Hasler
- 1. Som. RO, Phelips fam. letters 1581-1772, ff. 12-13.