WALLER, Sir Walter (1544-99), of Groomsbridge, Speldhurst, Kent.

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. 1544, o.s. of William Waller of Groomsbridge by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir Walter Hendley of Cranbrook. educ. G. Inn 1561. m. (1) by 1564, Anne, da. of Philip Choute of Bethersden, 2s. 1da.; (2) Mary, da. of Richard Hardres, s.p. suc. gd.-fa. 1556. Kntd. 1572.

Offices Held

J.p. Suss. from c.1573, Kent from 1577.


Waller succeeded his grandfather to the family estates while still a minor. In 1572 he was one of the signatories of a certificate giving details of the able men, armour and weapons in the rape of Pevensey in Sussex. He was knighted in the same year, but the reason has not been ascertained. Perhaps he had already entered upon a military career. In 1585, when he was a captain in the regiment of Thomas Morgan I, he conducted 150 men from Essex to the Netherlands. His company was at Rheinberg in the following year, and by the beginning of 1588 it was part of the Ostend garrison. Waller was at Ostend in August of the same year when the garrison revolted, he being the only officer who was not imprisoned by the men. In July 1589 his former lieutenant wrote to Walsingham, complaining that Waller had acted ‘not like a knight’, having sold his company and left his men in want. He was, in fact, in continual financial difficulties, mainly through acting as surety for insolvent friends, but also through his military service. In November 1588 he was reported to owe a total of £83 8s. to two burghers of Flushing and Brill, borrowed two years previously.

Waller was returned to Parliament for Steyning, probably through the influence of Sir Thomas Shirley I, who had himself served with the Earl of Leicester in the Netherlands. No record has been found of any activity by Waller in the House of Commons. He died intestate 7 July 1599, and was buried in Speldhurst church. In 1602 his widow and his second son Sir Thomas, who succeeded to Groomsbridge, were sued in Chancery for the payment of half the purchase money — which the plaintiff claimed he had never received—for lands in Brenchley, Kent, bought by Waller in 1572.

C142/106/1, 265/70; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 130; CPR, 1563-6, p. 143; Hasted, Kent, iii. 290-1; CSP Dom.1547-80, p. 451; 1581-90, p. 109; CSP For. 1584-5, p. 691; 1585-6, p. 25; 1586-7, p. 110; Jan. to June 1588, p. 3; July to Dec. 1588, pp. 131, 203, 354-5; 1589, p. 382; APC, xiii. 141-2; xxi. 337; xxx. 178; Lansd. 72, f. 170; C2 Eliz./S26/47.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière