JARVIS, Arthur (1570-at least 1638), of Brentwood in South Weald, Essex and Cripplegate and Smithfield, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



10 Apr. 1621

Family and Education

bap. 6 Jan. 1570, s. of Arthur Jarvis of London and Brentwood, and Martha, da. and coh. of Thomas Searle, Mercer of London and Brentwood.1 m. (1) 11 Nov. 1599, Anne Dauser (d. 30 Dec. 1626), 2s. 1da.;2 (2) lic. 26 Sept. 1627, Elizabeth, wid. of John Rea, Goldsmith of London, ?s.p.3 d. aft. 25 Mar. 1638.4

Offices Held

Exch. att., duchy of Lancaster 1603-at least 1634;5 under-clerk of the Pipe, Exch. ?1603-9,6 1610-11,7 clerk of the Pipe 1609-10,8 dep. clerk of the Pipe 1612-38.9

Commr. sewers, Essex 1610-27;10 j.p. Essex 1617-26;11 escheator, Essex and Herts. 1618-19, 1631-2;12 bailiff, Havering-atte-Bower liberty, Essex 1619;13 collector, Palatine Benevolence, Becontree, Chafford and Barstable hundreds, Essex 1622;14 commr. oyer and terminer, Essex 1622,15 subsidy 1624, 1625.16


There is no recorded pedigree for Jarvis’s family; his father seems to have purchased lands in Brentwood, and was presumably the ‘Mr. Jarvis of London’ who had a child in South Weald a few years before Jarvis was born.17 A dual attachment to Brentwood and London remained the characteristic family connection, and it was in the capital that by 1599 Jarvis established his own household.

Jarvis’s brief tenure as clerk of the Pipe, one of the chief officers of the Exchequer, seems to have been as a caretaker for a more eminent candidate - perhaps Sir Thomas Edmondes*, who claimed Jarvis as a cousin.18 Jarvis had been granted the reversion to the clerkship in 1607 and took office on the death of Sir Francis Wolley† in 1609,19 apparently on the understanding that the post would pass to Sir Arthur Mainwaring*, a servant to lord chancellor Ellesmere (Thomas Egerton†) and the principal beneficiary of Wolley’s will.20 Jarvis attempted to impose terms in return for surrendering the office: a position as deputy clerk, and a share of the fees.21 However, in July 1610 he complained to lord treasurer Salisbury (Robert Cecil†) that although he had relinquished the clerkship to Mainwaring he had been refused the deputyship, and it was not until after Salisbury’s death in 1612 that he secured this appointment.22 That same year Jarvis acquired from the 3rd Lord Rich the lease of the old Prior’s House in the close of St. Bartholomew-the-Great, Smithfield. In 1616 he paid £70 annual rental, making his house the most valuable property on the rental of Henry Rich*.23 Jarvis kept his office as clerk of the Pipe in what had once been the adjoining chapel.24

Jarvis’s Exchequer position involved him in a political controversy in Parliament in June 1610, when Thomas Felton named him as a witness against Henry Spiller*, clerk of the recusancy fines, who was alleged to have protected Catholics from the rigours of the law. Spiller, who had a Catholic brother, was undoubtedly lenient in his treatment of recusants, but the substantive charge against him was no more than that he sought to maximize the Crown’s revenues from penal fines, and the Commons dismissed the charges against him.25 Protests continued outside Parliament thereafter, and in July 1615 George Margitts protested to secretary of state Sir Ralph Winwood* that Spiller had ‘produced a false writ to justify himself. Mr. Jarvis will prove his disorderly conduct in the Exchequer. If these accusations are disliked they must be respited till Parliament’.26

It is possible that Jarvis’s election for Ilchester in 1621 was connected with his part in the Spiller affair, for there was indeed an attempt to revive the attack in Parliament. The decisive voice in Jarvis’s election was undoubtedly Sir Robert Phelips, who had persuaded the House to restore Ilchester’s franchise at the end of March with the intention of securing the borough’s electoral patronage.27 At the end of November Phelips launched an attack on the activities of persons previously condemned by the House, while Sir Nathaniel Rich - a cousin and associate of Jarvis’s landlord - supplemented this by including the charges against Spiller.28 The breakdown of the session shortly thereafter meant that nothing further was done in this matter. Jarvis left no explicit trace upon the Commons’ debates during his time as an MP, but he may have been the ‘clerk of the Pipe’ summoned to give evidence to the committee investigating the fees demanded from sheriffs on the submission of their accounts (15 Mar.),29 and the committee for the fines levied by the clerk of the Market (11 April).30 Technically, Jarvis’s superiors Sir Henry Croke* and Anthony Rous* were responsible for the Pipe Office, but as both were regarded as principal offenders by those investigating the levying of excessive fees, the committees would most likely have obtained more information from the deputy most familiar with the workings of the Pipe.31

It is not known when Jarvis succeeded his father as head of his family, but he was active as an Essex magistrate from 1617, dealing with a normal caseload including drunkenness, disorder, poaching, petty larceny, residential rights, witchcraft and, most often, bastardy.32 He disappeared from the bench in January 1626, for reasons unknown; his removal occurred too early to be linked to the sacking as lord lieutenant of Essex of Henry Rich’s brother, the 2nd earl of Warwick (Sir Robert Rich*), which followed the dissolution of Parliament in June 1626.33 Jarvis’s share of the fees charged by the Pipe Office was clearly substantial: in the 1625 subsidy rolls he was rated at £20 in lands for Essex, and £5 in goods for St. Bartholomew’s, London.34 In 1628 he subscribed £20 to the rebuilding of St. Bartholomew’s tower, the same amount as the church’s leading patron, Henry Rich, by now earl of Holland.35 Two years later, however, his lease on the Prior’s House expired, and it was apparently not renewed.36

Jarvis’s movements are difficult to trace in the final years of his life. He was still active in Essex in 1634,37 but his fees as deputy clerk of the Pipe ceased after 25 Mar. 1638,38 by which date he was presumably dead. Jarvis’s son John, an Essex clergyman, had his living sequestrated by the parliamentarian regime in 1646, having asserted that ‘the king was in the right way and the Parliament in the wrong way’.39 No subsequent member of the family sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: George Yerby


  • 1. Essex RO, South Weald par. reg.; Essex Wills: Archdeaconry Cts., 1583-92 ed. F.G. Emmison (Essex RO pubs. v), 15; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiv), 620.
  • 2. Reg. St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate (Harl Soc. reg. xxxi), 119; GL, ms 6777/1, f. 81; GL, St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, par. reg.
  • 3. Essex Mar. Lics. 1579-1669 comp. E.J. Erith, 56.
  • 4. E403/1752, unfol.
  • 5. Duchy of Lancaster Office-Holders ed. R. Somerville, 61.
  • 6. E.A. Webb, Recs. St. Bartholomew’s, Smithfield, ii. 59.
  • 7. Lansd. 168, f. 85v.
  • 8. Exchequer Officeholders comp. J. Sainty (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xviii), 65.
  • 9. E159/443 (Mich.) recorda rot. 455; E403/1747, unfol. (20 Feb. 1634); E403/1752, unfol. (10 May 1638).
  • 10. C181/2, ff. 265, 389; 181/3, ff. 43, 163, 233.
  • 11. C231/4, f. 41; Essex RO, Q/SR/249/117.
  • 12. List of Escheators comp. A.C. Wood (L. and I. Soc. lxxii), 48.
  • 13. M.K. McIntosh, Community Transformed: The Manor and Liberty of Havering, 422.
  • 14. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 429.
  • 15. C181/3, f. 69.
  • 16. E115/225/126; 115/229/97.
  • 17. Essex RO, South Weald par. reg. 1568, 1570.
  • 18. HMC Downshire, ii. 185.
  • 19. Exchequer Officeholders, 65.
  • 20. HMC Hatfield, xxi. 157; PROB 11/114, f. 487.
  • 21. HMC Hatfield, xxi. 157; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 606.
  • 22. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 625.
  • 23. Webb, ii. 161.
  • 24. Ibid. 59, 161, 272.
  • 25. CSP Dom. 1611-18, pp. 191, 239, 256, 274, 285; C. Tite, Impeachment and Parlty. Judicature, 72-3; M.C. Questier, ‘Sir Henry Spiller, Recusancy and the Efficiency of the Jacobean Exchequer’, HR, lxvi. 254-61; T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, i. 116.
  • 26. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 293.
  • 27. E. de Villers, ‘Parlty. Bors. Restored by the Commons’, EHR, lxvii. 177, 188.
  • 28. CD 1621, ii. 473; vi. 212; C. Russell, PEP, 127-9, 133n1.
  • 29. CD 1621, vi. 457.
  • 30. Ibid. ii. 291n2.
  • 31. G. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 188-92.
  • 32. Eseex RO, Q/SR/219/132; Q/SR/221/71; Q/SR/222/49; Q/SR/225/78, 109, 123; Q/SR/226/58-9; Q/SR/234/169; Q/SR/235/152; Q/SR/238/4; Q/SR/240/71, 112; Q/SR/241/89; Q/SR/246/119; Q/SR/247/68-9; Q/SR/249/97; Q/SR/250/14-15; Q/SR/252/94.
  • 33. Essex RO, Q/SR/252/138; E163/18/12; J.C. Sainty, Lords Lieutenants, 20.
  • 34. E115/229/42, 97.
  • 35. Webb, ii. 535.
  • 36. Ibid. 165.
  • 37. PROB 11/165, f. 191 (will of associate Richard Hammond).
  • 38. E403/1752.
  • 39. B. Levack, Civil Lawyers in Eng. 1603-41, p. 244.