BATEMAN, John (d.1596), of Newark-upon-Trent, Notts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

?s. of John Bateman of Newark by his w. Alice, wid. of John Spondon.

Offices Held

Sec. to 2nd Earl of Rutland to 1563, afterwards to 6th Earl of Shrewsbury.


Although there are numerous references to Bateman in Elizabethan correspondence, and a number of his own letters survive, little has been discovered about his private life or background. He was in the service of the earls of Rutland by 1543 and six years later accompanied the 2nd Earl to the Scottish borders, being named as one of the Earl’s two secretaries in the Rutland accounts of that year. Whether or not he was the John Bateman who was an exile in Geneva in 1558, he again occurs as Rutland’s secretary in 1560, when, hearing rumours that the Earl had secretly married, he asked him for instructions about passing on the information. Some time after Rutland’s death in 1563, Bateman joined the household of the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, perhaps as the result of Shrewsbury’s marriage to Gertrude, Rutland’s sister. He continued to correspond with the 3rd Earl of Rutland, and acted for him in the sale of Holywell House, London, but the committal of Mary Queen of Scots to Shrewsbury’s custody brought him heavier responsibilities with his new master.

During the period of the conspiracies and rebellions between 1569 and 1572 Bateman acted as a source of intelligence for Cecil, reporting on security precautions and on Mary’s attitude in general, and running messages between Tutbury or Sheffield and London. According to Mary, Shrewsbury looked ‘to Bateman to be instructed on how to deal with me, because he is ablest, and clean turned from the Earl of Leicester’. This, and the terms of a letter from Shrewsbury to Bateman in March 1572, indicate that he was a man of power and influence. In 1585 a ‘Bateman’ is mentioned as a servant of Henry Cavendish, son of ‘Bess of Hardwick’, Shrewsbury’s 3rd wife.

John Bateman’s returns to Parliament for Nottingham can be attributed to his connexion with the earls of Rutland, while his absence from Parliament in 1571 was probably due to his duties at Sheffield. Probably he was the John Bateman, gentleman, whose will, dated 26 Aug. 1596, was proved at York on the following 7 Oct. In it he described himself as of Newark, and left £6 13s.4d. to the church there, where he asked to be buried. He also bequeathed £10 to the poor of Newark town and parish. Small sums were to go to his nephews and nieces, Anne and Leonard Kempe, and Francis, William and John Lawes. The last named was made sole executor and residuary legatee.

C1/762/11-14; C. Brown, Hist. Newark, i. 238; York prob. reg. 26, no. 373; HMC Rutland, i. 71, 89, 91, 100, 190; iv. 339, 355, 362, 371; C. H. Garrett, Marian Exiles, 82; CSP Scot. 1563-9, pp. 663, 675, 679; 1569-71, pp. 73, 185, 232, 512, 635, 658; 1571-4, p. 158; A. Labanoff, Lettres de Marie Stuart, iii. 48.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe