THEAKSTON, Richard (d.1609), of the Charterhouse, London and Theakston, Yorks.

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

m. Eleanor, at least 1s. Kntd. 1603.

Offices Held

Clerk in pipe office by 1589; servant of (Sir) John Fortescue I by 1593-1607; j.p. Yorks. (N. Riding) from c.1601.


Theakston first comes to notice in 1578 when he was involved in a dispute over a 21-year lease of the Nottinghamshire manor of Mansfield, procured from Thomas Markham and subsequently sold to the 3rd Earl of Rutland through an agent. Markham had Theakston imprisoned in the Fleet, whence, in the July, he addressed unavailing appeals to Rutland, whose resolution was that he would

neither purchase Mr. Markham’s satisfaction, nor your liberty, with re-delivery of my estate, and this you may assure yourself to be my absolute determination.

Theakston was free by September, still asking the Earl to return the lease. Next Theakston obtained a post in the pipe office, and finally entered the service of the chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir John Fortescue, remaining with Fortescue until the latter’s death in 1607, when Theakston was described as his secretary. However, in the meantime Theakston was fluttering around that dangerous flame, the 2nd Earl of Essex. Both Essex and his henchman (Sir) Gelly Meyrick were trustees in a settlement Theakston made of part of his estate, and Meyrick was Theakston’s dining companion on at least one occasion. This leads to speculation as to whether it might have been Essex who intervened with the ecclesiastical authorities to bring about Theakston’s return at Whitchurch in 1593. Support for this comes from the fact that the brother of his fellow-Member was later to be deeply implicated in the Essex rising, but against it is the possibility that Theakston secured the seat through his own connexion with the Exchequer. About Aldborough in 1601 there need be no doubt: Fortescue obtained him the seat. There is no evidence of any activity by Theakston in either of his Parliaments.

Theakston’s landed estate was in the parish of Theakston in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Towards the end of Elizabeth’s reign he purchased from the Crown the manor of Sedbergh, where tenants accused him—‘a man of great living, countenance, kindred and friendship in the county of York’—of trying to deprive them of their customary rights. He was knighted by James I on that monarch’s progress south in 1603, made his will on 4 Dec. 1604, and died 6 Sept. 1609, leaving an heir fifteen-and-a-half years old.

Yorks. Arch. Soc. xxvii. 358; Lansd. 27, ff. 4-5; 59, f. 141; HMC Hatfield, ii. 202; iv. 334; xiii. 414, 582-4; Add. 12497, f. 143; HMC 7th Rep. 528; C142/312/135; C2.Eliz./M13/65; PCC 93 Dorset.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière