JENKINS, Sir Henry (1569/70-1646), of Great Busby, Yorks. and St. William's College, York

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



Family and Education

b. 1569/70, 1st s. of John Jenkins of York and Margaret, da. of George Curron of London.1 educ. Peterhouse, Camb. 1585; L. Inn 1588, called 1597.2 m. 1597, Dorothy, da. and h. of William Tankard of Pannall, Yorks., 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1595;3 kntd. 23 July 1603.4 admon. 2 Aug. 1646.5 sig. Henry Jenkyns.

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (N. Riding) by 1601-25, Ripon liberty 1607-25, E. Riding by 1614-25;6 commr. sewers, N. Riding by 1615-23, Derwent valley 1629; sheriff, Yorks. 1623-4.7


Jenkins’ father, a native of Monmouthshire, came to York as receiver-general of Crown lands in the 1570s, purchasing an ex-chantry college in the Minster Yard. Jenkins acquired Great Busby in 1596, shortly after his father’s death, and was called to the bar in the following year. He probably practised before the Council in the North, as Lincoln’s Inn ignored his request for appointment as an associate bencher in 1605. He supported the Council’s candidates at the Yorkshire election of 1597, and was himself returned for Boroughbridge in 1604 on the interest of his wife’s family, who held the dominant landed interest in the borough.8

Jenkins had a modest impact in the Commons. On 14 Apr. 1604 he invoked Magna Carta against the abuses of purveyors, but his motion to proceed by legislation rather than a petition to the king (the latter course having been conceded by the proponents of reform) was ill-timed. He then went too far, calling for the ‘liberties of this House to be set in certain by some Act, liberty of election the greatest liberty’. This allusion to the Buckinghamshire election dispute was a needlessly provocative digression, for which he was called to order. He took no recorded part in the subsequent debates on purveyance, but was later named to the committee for the bill intended to establish a general composition (18 June). Apparently undaunted by his rebuff on 14 Apr., he spoke again four days later in the debate about adopting the name of Great Britain, though his views went unrecorded. He was also named to committees for the Neville estate bill (14 May, 14 June) and the starchmaking bill (20 June).9

Jenkins made no appearance in the records of the second session until after Easter 1606, perhaps because he was riding the Northern assize circuit. He was appointed to committees for four bills: to prevent fraud in shopkeepers’ accounts (18 Apr.); to reduce delay in execution of writs (7 May); a Norfolk estate bill (16 May); and provisos in the expiring laws continuance bill regarding sanctuary and wine prisage (22 May). He was also named to prepare for a conference with the Lords about the export of beer (16 May).10 He was on his feet twice for the Union debates during the third session, declaring on 6 Dec. 1606 that, ‘till the judges say that escuage is dead, he will not believe it’, a refutation of the king’s claims to the contrary. In the naturalization debate of 20 Feb. 1607, he argued that the Scots could not claim any prescriptive right of naturalization in England, observing that the Roman empire had not granted automatic citizenship to subject peoples, while Philip II had been barred from preferring Spaniards to English benefices under his marriage treaty of 1554, and Welshmen had not been brought under the Common Law until the Union of 1536. He made his final recorded speech on 6 Mar. 1607, at the third reading of a bill designed to undermine the enforcement of the 1604 Canons: like Serjeant Robert Barker, he considered the measure superfluous, as Canon Law was not binding where it opposed the Common Law. Citing the 1533 Act of Appeals on this point, he asserted that the 1604 Canons were perfectly valid, and dismissed the bill as a ‘great scandal’. In light of this, he can hardly have welcomed an even more mischievous bill to restrain the powers of the High Commission, to which committee he was named on 26 June 1607. Finally, he was included on the committee for the bastardy bill (9 Dec. 1606), and to another for the bill for estates of the late 5th Earl of Derby (3 June 1607). During this session he rated a mention in the ‘Parliament Fart’ poem, probably as the only Member whose surname provided a plausible rhyme for ‘stinking’. He played no known part in the 1610 sessions.11

Jenkins expanded his estate into the East Riding by taking a Crown lease of Scoreby in 1610. He never sat in Parliament again, although he remained active in local office and served as sheriff at the time of the 1624 general election, the only occasion during that decade when the county seats were uncontested; he was not reappointed to the magistracy in the new reign. Although three of his sons were royalists in the Civil War, he avoided commitment himself. He died intestate, at Scoreby; administration of his estate was granted on 2 Aug. 1646. His son Tobias failed to secure a parliamentary seat at York in 1685, but his grandson represented the city as a Whig five times between 1695 and 1722.12

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. i. 143-4.
  • 2. Al. Cant.; LI Admiss.; LI Black Bks. i. 51.
  • 3. Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. i. 143-4.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 122.
  • 5. Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. i. 144.
  • 6. C66/1988; C181/2, f. 43v; 181/3, f. 160v.
  • 7. Yorks. Arch. Soc. MD125; C181/2, f. 245, 181/3, f. 96, 181/4, f. 1; List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 163.
  • 8. HMC Hatfield, ii. 137, 220; vii. 416; LI Black Bks. ii. 89.
  • 9. CJ, i. 171b, 176b, 210a, 238b, 241b, 243b, 946b; P. Croft, ‘Parl., Purveyance and the City of London’, PH, iv. 13-19.
  • 10. CJ, i. 300a, 307a, 309b, 310a, 311b.
  • 11. Ibid. 328b, 378a, 387b, 1008a, 1018a, 1026b; Add. 24218, f. 20.
  • 12. VCH Yorks. E. Riding, iii. 160; Roy. Comp. Pprs. ed. J.W. Clay (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xviii), 99-100; xx. 12-13; Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. i. 144.