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COLBRAND, James (bef.1544-1600), of Chichester, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. bef. 1544, o.s. of Thomas Colbrand of Boreham by Alice, da. of John Michell of Cuckfield. educ. I. Temple 1562. m. (1) Jane (d.1580); (2) Martha, da. of Oliver, 1st Baron St. John of Bletso, wid. of Richard Cheney of Suss., 1s. suc. fa. 1552.
Capt. Chichester trained band 1585-7; j.p. Suss. from 1591, sheriff 1597-8; commr. subsidy and dep. lt. by 1599.
The Colbrands came from Laughton, where they had held land since the fifteenth century. They subsequently resided at Boreham, in the rape of Hastings, where they built the family residence. They were related to the Pelhams. Colbrand himself owned land in Boreham, Wartling, Wenfield, Warminghurst and elsewhere in the county. His most extensive estates were in the Pevensey district and these involved him in a number of suits tried before the court of the duchy of Lancaster. He conveyed land in the parish of Southone to Lord Buckhurst in 1586. During Elizabeth’s reign, the subsidy assessment on his lands increased from £20 to £30.1
Colbrand may have represented Ludgershall through the influence of his future father-in-law, Lord St. John, though, as the marriage took place a decade or so later than his first return there, there must have been a previous connexion between the two families. In any case any influence on Ludgershall presumably came from the Lydiard Tregoze branch of the St. Johns, rather than from the main branch at Bletsoe, Bedfordshire. After Lord St. John’s death in 1582 Colbrand’s further attempts to enter Parliament were unavailing until 1597, when he was returned for Appleby, owned by the Cliffords to whom Colbrand was related through the St. Johns. The first mention of Colbrand in the journals of the House was a speech on 27 June 1572 on the subject of sea marks and buoys. On 17 Feb. 1576 he was appointed to a committee concerning dags and pistolets; and 28 Jan. 1581 to another concerning the preservation of woods. In the 1597 Parliament, he served on committees dealing with the penal laws (8 Nov.), the punishment of rogues (22 Nov.), a private bill (20 Jan. 1598), corn and the continuance of certain statutes (3 Feb.).2
In 1584 and 1586 Colbrand contested Chichester. On the first occasion, having resided in the town for some years, he opposed Lewknor for the second seat and gained the support of an alderman and some of the free citizens. The mayor, who had not expected a contest, postponed the election for a few days, giving the Lewknor party time to drum up support. Colbrand, ‘in a great rage’, accused his opponents of coercion and denounced his erstwhile supporters as turncoats. During the next two years he strengthened his position amongst the humbler inhabiants, but only two of the better sort supported him in 1586. On that occasion he started his election day by quarrelling with Edward More. He then objected to the reading of a Privy Council letter urging the re-election of the previous Members. Amidst an uproar, the poll was taken: many of Colbrand’s supporters proved to be members of his trained band or ‘of the meanest and basest sort of people’. As each side challenged the other’s supporters, the lists of voters were sealed while the corporation decided whether free citizens were allowed to vote in the election of the commoners’ Member and also, since Colbrand was not a free citizen, whether he was eligible for election. The decision went against him. Persistent to the end, he tried to persuade Lewknor, who had won the poll, to resign in his favour, and then persuaded the mayor to write to Dr. Dale asking him, as a non-resident, if he would resign his seat. This provoked a sharp reprimand from the Privy Council, who reminded the mayor of their previous letter and of Chichester’s promise to re-elect Dale. Colbrand went to Westminster notwithstanding, and commenced a suit in the Star Chamber which he either lost or abandoned. Out of favour in Chichester, he lost his captaincy of the trained band, yet somehow within ten years he had sufficiently recovered his credit to become sheriff of the county.3
He died 21 Oct. 1600 and was succeeded by his son John, aged ten, who was made a baronet in 1621. In his will Colbrand asked to be buried by night, next to his first wife. The widow was executrix and Walter Covert overseer.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. C142/190/287, 264/110; Mousley thesis, 470-1; Suss. Arch. Soc. xi. 168-70; xxiv, 256 n; vi. 88; Add. 5937, f. 86; Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 43; Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 54, 152, 202; Ducatus Lanc. iii. 244, 261, 280, 330, 334; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 348.
- 2. VCH Hants, iv. 374; Neale, Commons, 264; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl. f. 66; CJ, i. 106, 120; D’Ewes, 561, 570, 583, 589, 592; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 103, 121, 124.
- 3. Mousley thesis; Neale, Commons, 263-72.
- 4. C142/264/110; Burke, Extinct Baronetcies, 123; PCC 77 Wallop.