GLASCOCK, Edward (bef.1577-c.1603), of Cripplegate, London.

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

b. bef. 1577, 1st s. of Edward Glascock (d.1605) of Sible Hedingham, Essex by Joan, da. of Thomas Turner of Blunt’s Hall, Suff. educ. Queen’s, Camb. 1587, BA 1591; MA from Corpus 1594; incorp. Oxf. 1597; G. Inn 1594, called 1600. m. aft. Jan. 1600, Mary, da. and h. of Sir Robert Catlyn, wid. of (Sir) John Spencer of Althorp, Northants. s.p.

Offices Held


Glascock’s return for Sudbury, no doubt partly due to his influence as a local man in view of his father’s estate of Glascocks nearby, was possibly aided by a connexion, through his mother, with the Fortescues. In the 1601 Parliament he was an active and uninhibited speaker, opposed equally to excessive interference by Parliament with the liberty of the individual and to the puritan zeal for legislation on what he considered to be matters of conscience. He was placed on the main business committee 3 Nov. that year, and spoke the same day on a puritan bill for the suppression of alehouses:

I will only liken this bill to the suppression of stews and bawdy houses in old time; that where then all whores and bawds were together in one house, now being suppressed, every man’s house is a bawdy house; so, if you take away alehouses, or hinder them from being drunk there, it will be a ready way to make every man drunk at his own house, at home.

On 7 Nov. he opposed a bill designed to deter people from going to an alehouse within 2 miles of their own house by making them liable to a penalty equal to their subsidy payment:

it was a common and usual thing in Lancashire and those parts for gentlemen as they go a-hawking to go and take a repast at an alehouse: yea, men sometimes of 500 marks a year: but Mr. Speaker, I hope these men are not intended to come within this bill. And for the Act itself, I think it to be a mere cobweb to catch flies in.

The previous day he had put ‘a pleasant case’ on the bill to make void any contract signed on a Sunday:

I would willingly put one case to the House: to know whether it be their minds, if a man take a wife on a Sunday, in fair or open market, that this should be void, and she and the goods forfeited to the Queen’s use—for that is a contract.

His dislike of the bill against swearing stemmed from his belief in freedom of conscience:

Swearing is a thing moral and toucheth the soul, and therefore fitter to be spoken of in a pulpit than a Parliament ... If [God] forbid us to swear and we fear not His commandments, think you a penalty of ten shillings, as is here set down, will make us refrain this iniquity? ... Aristotle saith that a man may be bonus civis and yet not bonus vir. And though I abhor the sin, yet I deny not but the sinner may be a good member.

It was in this same debate (1 Dec.) that he gave the justices of the peace ‘a severe lash’. Comparing the proposed law against swearing with that of France, which carried the penalty of death by drowning:

We use so much lenity in our laws as we had as good make no law. For we give a penalty, and to be taken upon conviction before a justice of the peace: here’s wise stuff! First, mark what a justice of the peace is, and we shall easily find a gap in our law. A justice of the peace is a living creature, that for half a dozen chickens will dispense with a whole dozen of penal statutes.

This went too far, and next day he embarked on an apology, which made matters worse. (Sir) Robert Wroth I thought ‘the office of a justice of the peace is too good for him that exclaims against it and I think he will never have the honour to have it’. Unabashed, Glascock went further on 16 Dec., inventing two new categories of j.p.s, ‘the uncircumcised justice’

who from base stock and lineage, by his wealth is gotten to be within the commission. And I call him uncircumcised because he hath not cut off the foreskin of his offences and so by his virtue wiped away the blot or stain of baseness in his birth and lineage

and ‘ the adultering justice’

that is a gentleman born, virtuous, discreet and wise, yet poor and needy ... This man I hold unfit to be a justice ... for a ground infallible, that no poor man ought to be in authority ... and I call him an adultering justice because look how many bribes he taketh, so many bastards he begets to the commonwealth.

Perhaps his imagery was consciously designed to outrage the puritans. Another example is taken from his speech about swearing (1 Dec.):

Moses, when he saw God, could but see His back parts only, and no man ever saw more. But these swearers swear by all His parts so perfectly as if they had seen Him all over.

After 1601 nothing more is known of him. He must have died v.p. and intestate before or in 1603 when administration was granted to a creditor.

Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiv), 576-7; Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 11; C142/299/113; PCC 61, 85 Hayes; Bridges, Northants. i. 479 seq.; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 181, 194, 196, 267, 268, 276, 277, 291, 327, 328, 329; D’Ewes, 624, 628, 660, 661, 664; PCC admon. act bk. f. 160.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.A.P.