Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

Offices Held


This Member may have been the Ralph Browne of Snelston, Derbyshire, who is presumed to have sat for Liverpool and Newton in the first two Elizabethan Parliaments, almost certainly owing both seats to Sir Ambrose Cave, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. Cave was a friend of the 2nd Earl of Bedford, on other occasions patron at Melcombe Regis, and the Liverpool and Newton Member possibly had some link, through Cave, with Bedford. But as Cave was dead by 1571, and there is no evidence of a personal connexion between Browne and Bedford, it is likely that the Melcombe Regis Member was a different man. There was a family of Brownes living in Frampton, Dorset, at this time, and Hutchins identifies the 1571 Member as Ralph, son of John Browne of Frampton by Joan, daughter of John Feret. However, no other pedigrees give this man’s name, and he is not mentioned in John Browne’s will, proved in 1554. According to Hutchins, this Ralph Browne died childless.

Another of this name, ‘of London, gentleman’, made his will in July 1575. A Chancery official, he bequeathed 40s. to ‘every one of my fellows, being six clerks in this office’. Also remembered was ‘my late good mistress the Lady Allington’, and he asked to be buried at St. Faith’s church near to his ‘old master Thomas Argall’. The poor children in Christ’s Hospital were to have 40s., and the same sum was left to poor prisoners in a number of London prisons. His wife Anne was sole executrix and residuary legatee. No children are mentioned; the ‘daughter-in-law’ Margaret Upton may have been a stepdaughter. The directions for a funeral without pomp, and bequests to ‘my brother and sister Walsingham’, suggest that this Ralph Browne may have been one of the 2nd Earl of Bedford’s circle.

Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 298; PCC 27 Tashe, 9 Daper, 29 Darcy.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge