MOORE, Jasper (c.1550-1610), of Heytesbury, Wilts.

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.1550, 4th s. of Thomas Moore of Taunton, Som., being 1st s. by his 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of William Stukley. educ. G. Inn 1565. m. c.1583, Katherine, da. of Sir Thomas Pakington of Aylesbury, Bucks., wid. of John Davy of West Harnham, s.p. Kntd. 23 July 1603.2

Offices Held

J.p. Wilts. 1577, q. 1592, sheriff 1583-4, 1602-3, keeper of Mere park 1592.3


Moore had already established himself in Wiltshire by 1576, when he was assessed for subsidy on lands worth £32 in the east tithing of Heytesbury and was called upon to pay £4 5s.4d. No explanation has been found for his migration from Somerset to Wiltshire or of how he acquired considerable property there. From his father he received the Somerset manor of Withies and a remainder in the priory of Taunton, but it was at Heytesbury that he settled and in Wiltshire that he pursued his public career. There is no trace of him at either university, nor evidence of his legal training beyond his entry to Gray’s Inn. It may have been his practice of the law which led him to his new county and yielded the wherewithal to set himself up there. His marriage to the widowed sister of Mary Pakington, second wife of Sir Walter Long, both connected him with a number of Wiltshire families and brought him the lease of West Harnham, near Salisbury, left to his wife by her first husband. He was also to make friends elsewhere in the county, for when Jeffery Whitaker the clothier of Tinhead, whose brother Henry sat for Westbury in 1586, came to make his will in March 1600 he left Moore £160 in trust for his daughter Penelope, appointed him an overseer and gave him his choice of a gelding.4

Moore is first heard of in an official capacity when in February 1578 he and others were directed by the Privy Council to investigate abuses in clothmaking in assocation with the notorious Peter Blackborough. He was appointed to the Wiltshire commission of the peace and in 1583, served the first of his two terms as sheriff. By then he had already made his brief and solitary appearance in the House of Commons; the death of Sir John Thynne in 1580 created a vacancy at Heytesbury which Moore filled for the ensuing session. The local standing which secured his election on that occasion might be expected to have done so on at least one other. But so far as Heytesbury was concerned he probably forfeited that prospect by the activities which some years later were to sting the townsmen into an appeal to the Privy Council. In 1589 they charged him and others whose names do not appear, ‘lords of the said town’, with damage to its hospital and free school by their surcharging of commons, illegal erection of tenements, enclosure and breach of customs. The hostility thus glimpsed may explain why half a century was to pass before a Moore again sat for Heytesbury.5

It does not seem, however, to have impaired Moore’s wider reputation. He was to be sheriff again in 1602-3, and his knighthood, even though he received it at one of James I’s mass creations, marked his social advance. In 1605 he was one of the 20 knights who accompanied the Earl of Hertford on his embassy to Brussels. Three years later he was listed as a principal landowner in the parish of Brook, Wiltshire. The Jasper Moore who was escheator of Shropshire in 1600 was presumably another man, perhaps his half-brother.6

Moore had made his will on 1 June 1597. He prefaced it with an affirmation of the Christian man’s duty to do so in good time, so that in his last illness he should not be distracted by worldly preoccupation. To his widow he left clothing and household goods, including those given to her by her former husband and chiefly remaining in West Harnham parsonage, grain in the barns there, and a coach and two horses. He left £5 to the parish church of Heytesbury and made other bequests to his servants and carters. The residue was to pass to his executors, his ‘nephew’ William Guyes and his wife Elizabeth; this was Elizabeth, his sister Florence Walrond’s daughter. She and her husband were to inherit his rights in the manor and hundred of Heytesbury. During the 13 years which elapsed between the making of the will and his death Moore added two codicils; by the first, of 1606, he left his wife all money in the house at his death, and a further £200 in cash, and by the second, of 1609, he increased that sum to £400 and added to it the lease of West Harnham. At the time of his death Moore was evidently administering the estate of Sir Edward Estcourt, the residue of whose goods he left to his own executors. Moore died at West Harnham on 7 Mar. 1610. At the inquisition held on 27 Sept. 1613 his heirs were declared to be his niece Elizabeth Guyes and his great-nephew Shilston Cadmadie.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. T. Bindoff


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament. C219/283/22, 23.
  • 2. Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv. cvi), 137.
  • 3. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxix. 242.
  • 4. Two Taxation Lists (Wilts. Arch. Soc. rec. br. x), 141; C142/172/118; Wards 7/16/42; PCC 25 Woodhall; Wilts. N. and Q. iv. 109-110.
  • 5. APC, x. 157-8; xvii. 303-4.
  • 6. HMC Bath, iv. 200; Wilts. Arch. Mag. i. 298; HMC Hatfield, x. 94-5.
  • 7. PCC 35 Wingfield; C142/411/154.