BLYTH, George (d.1581), of Cambridge and London and York.

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 Blyth of Cambridge, regius prof. of physic, by Alice, da. of Peter Cheke. educ. Trinity Coll. Camb. BA 1554, MA 1558, fellow 1560; incorp. Oxf. 1560; L. Inn Mar. 1563. m. July 1573, Anne Egerton, spinster of London, s.p.

Offices Held

Dep. regius prof. Greek, Camb. 1562; servant of Lord Burghley by 1571-4; dep. sec. to council in the north 1574, sec. 1578; j.p. Yorks. (all three ridings) by 1577.


Blyth owed his offices and at least his introduction to Parliament to his relative by marriage Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley. At Maldon in 1571 Blyth’s brother-in-law Peter Osborne, Burghley’s servant at the Exchequer, was originally returned. He chose to represent Guildford and probably secured the seat for Blyth in his place. Dunheved in 1572 is more difficult to explain. Blyth owned the manor of Portlowe in Cornwall, apparently by a crown grant, but there is no evidence that he ever lived in the county, or had any local influence. Once again Cecil was probably responsible, though it may be noted that John Osborne, Peter’s son, sat for the neighbouring borough of Newport in 1586.

Blyth had a brilliant career at Cambridge, where Michael Hickes was a pupil: Blyth kept up a connexion with him and his relatives, the Penns, for some years. The date of his entry into Cecil’s service is not known. In 1568 he was in France. Writing to Hickes in March of that year from Orleans, he declared he was using the French tongue because he had ‘lost’ his native language. There is no evidence that he was on an official mission. He was back in England, and a member of Burghley’s household, by December 1571, when he received a warrant from the Exchequer, as ‘servant to the Lord Burghley’, for money which he had paid ‘to sundry persons for letters brought from Dover and Rye concerning her Majesty’s service’. On 14 July 1574 Burghley thanked Walsingham for his favourable consideration of ‘George Blyth, my late servant’, and that August the president of the council in the north commended ‘Mr. Blyth, newly joined to the council’ on Burghley’s recommendation. Four years later, on the death of Thomas Eynns, Blyth became secretary, an office which he held until his death during the summer of 1581. The president asked Burghley that an equally worthy man should be sent to succeed him and on 18 Aug., only a week after Blyth’s death, he wrote again, approving of Burghley’s choice of a successor.

Blyth had made a nuncupative will on his death bed, ‘in a parlour of his dwelling house within the close of the cathedral’. He bequeathed to his wife ‘all his goods which God had blessed him with’. His small amount of real estate went to his brother Francis.

L. G. M. Praeger, Notes on Yorks. Branch of Fam. of Blyth, 9 n; London Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxv), 57; Reid, Council of the North, 488; SP12/97/11; E351/541, f. 137; Lansd. 5, ff. 111, 190 seq.; 10, ff. 72, 74; 18, f. 196; 19, f. 152; 33, ff. 14, 16; CPR, 1555-7, p. 364; 1560-3, p. 18; Wards 7/20/196; PCC 29, 45 Darcy.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.