HORSEY, John (c.1546-89), of Clifton Maybank, Dorset.

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. c.1546, 1st s. of Sir John Horsey by Edith, da. of Richard Phelips of Montacute, Som., wid of John Stocker of Poole, Dorset. m. (1) Grace (d.1568), da. of Thomas Howard, 1st Visct. Bindon, s.p.; (2) Dorothy (d.1589), da. of Edward Gilbert of London, wid. of Sir George Speake of White Lackington, Som., s.p. suc. fa. 1565. Kntd. 1574.

Offices Held

J.p. Dorset 1564, q. 1586, sheriff 1585-6, dep. lt. by 1585; j.p. Som. 1582, q. 1586.

Commr. musters, Sherborne division from 1572.


Before the election of 1571 the Privy Council wrote letters to various influential gentlemen asking for the return of well-affected men. For Dorset these letters went to Sir William Paulet, heir of the Marquess of Winchester, to Thomas Howard, 1st Viscount Bindon and to Lord Mountjoy. Paulet thereupon had himself elected senior knight of the shire, and Horsey, Bindon’s former son-in-law, was elected junior Member at the age of 25. On 25 May he sat on a committee the subject of which does not appear in the journal.

From the time he succeeded his father, Horsey was active in local government, searching out recusants with his friend and relative George Trenchard I, complaining about the gaols, inspecting the coast, and training the musters against the expected Spanish invasion. With Trenchard, he was one of the five ‘great captains’ ‘sound in religion’ who commanded one of the five Dorset defence divisions. His men were to muster at Cerne Abbas when the beacons were fired. Presumably recognizing that he might die childless, Horsey handed over Clifton Maybank to trustees before his death, and acknowledged his cousin Ralph as his heir. He made his will 9 Apr. 1589. Nearly £1,000 was to go in specific bequests, including £100 to the Sherborne almshouses. The overseers, who included Trenchard, each received an inscribed ring.

CPR, 1563-6, p. 396; Hutchins, Dorset, iv. 427; Vis. Dorset, ed. Colby and Rylands, 5; Roberts thesis; R. Lloyd, Dorset Elizabethans, 166, 168, 169, 177 et passim; D’Ewes, 189; PCC 3 Drury.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler