FORSETT, Richard (d.1561), of St. Andrew, Holborn and Marylebone, Mdx.

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



Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

educ. G. Inn 1540, called 1542. m. bef. 1548, Margaret or Martha, 5 or 6s. inc. Edward, 3da.1

Offices Held

Commr. chantries Salop and Staffs. 1548; surveyor, ct. augmentations, Staffs. by 1548-52 or later; common pleader, city of London by 1555; Autumn reader, G. Inn 1557.2


By 1549 Forsett was living, as he continued to do for the rest of his life, in the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn, conveniently near to Gray’s Inn. At the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign he was a wealthy man. After acting for some time as crown farmer of Marylebone, he took a lease of the manor and rectory there, and bought himself a Suffolk estate, the manor of Wells Hall. In spite of this, almost all that is known of him after 1558 is connected with London, where he continued to hold the office of common pleader until his death. Among the State Papers is a ‘book’ for the Stationers Company, drawn up by him ‘in form of law’. In his only Elizabethan Parliament he sat for Saltash, presumably through the influence of connexions at court—either Cecil or the 2nd Earl of Bedford.3

When Forsett died in July 1561 he was probably still in middle age, though judging from the date of his call to the bar he must have entered Gray’s Inn (perhaps from an inn of chancery) at a more advanced age than was customary. He had made his will shortly before his death, leaving £20 to Cecil and asking him to take one of his sons into his service. Gilbert Gerard received £6 13s.4d. with a similar request. One passage may be connected with his purchase of Wells Hall, not otherwise mentioned:

Whereas I did buy a house ... in Monk’s Illeigh, Suffolk to the intent to take it down to be removed and set in another place, I will that my wife shall take the same down and set it where she shall think meet.

Forsett may have been the ‘Master Phassett, gentleman’ who, on 13 July 1561, was buried in the church of St. Andrew, Holborn: this was Forsett’s parish church, where the members of Gray’s Inn maintained a chapel. His widow married twice more, Roger Amyce and William Massey.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. E115/151/143; PCC 31 Loftes, 32 Martyn; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. i. 324; CPR, 1549-50, p. 31; Genealogist, n.s. xxi. 107-13; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 365.
  • 2. CPR, 1548-9, p. 137; Req. 2/23/7; Harl. 1912, f. 176v.
  • 3. CPR, 1549-51, p. 145; E115/151/143; Req. 2/23/7; Genealogist, n.s. xxi. 113; A. B. Beaven, Aldermen of London, i. 299; London Rep. 13, ii. f. 389v; 14, f. 515; Harl. 1912, f. 176v; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 167.
  • 4. Machyn Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 263; PCC 31 Loftes, 32 Martyn.