LUDLOW, Henry I (c.1577-1639), of Tadley Park, Hants.

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. c.1577, 1st s. of Sir Edmund Ludlow* of Hill Deverill, Wilts. and his 1st w. Bridget (d.1587), da. of Henry Coker† of Mappowder, Dorset;1 half bro. of Henry II*. educ. Hart Hall, Oxf. 1591, aged 14, BA 1594; M. Temple 1595.2 m. 27 Aug. 1600 (with £1,500),3 Lettice, da. of Thomas West†, 2nd Bar. De La Warr of Wherwell, Hants and Offington, Suss., 4s. 5da.4 suc. fa. 1624. d. 13 Oct. 1639.5 sig. Henry Ludlow.

Offices Held

J.p. Hants 1622,6 capt. militia ft. by 1625-8,7 commr. Forced Loan 1627.8


Ludlow’s father was a prosperous county gentleman with extensive estates in Hampshire and Wiltshire. In 1601 he conveyed the manors of Tadley and Sherborne St. John, Hampshire, to Ludlow shortly after the latter’s marriage to Lettice West.9 Ludlow evidently moved to Tadley at this time, having vacated his rooms at the Middle Temple in June 1600.10

Ludlow shared his father’s reputation for irascibility and litigiousness, and much of his life is a tale of violence, lawsuits and family quarrels. In 1602 he was accused of attempting to murder Joel King, his father’s former servant who had eloped with and secretly married one of Ludlow’s sisters. In October, after the family had failed to intimidate King into leaving the daughter, a group of Ludlow’s men severely beat him in a Berkshire wood. This was followed in December by a more serious assault led by Ludlow (disguised in a taffeta mask) in which King was ambushed while riding to market from Tadley. The gang thrust pins down King’s throat, then hanged him from a tree until he nearly expired. After several days spent regaining his health, King wrote a description of his attackers, by which means Ludlow was accused of assault.11 Even while deponents were being questioned, however, two subsequent attacks took place. In the course of the second, King and two of his sisters were dragged into Tadley church at dawn; the noise of the beating they received was muffled by the ringing church bells.12 Ludlow subsequently ‘used all means possible, both by threatening, persuasions and offering of money’ to intimidate witnesses, and in his defence he claimed that the main assault was in fact a hoax designed by King to secure his family’s property. He dismissed King as being ‘of a very lewd life, usually practising incantations, juggling and witchcraft.’13 The case lasted in Star Chamber for five years. Ludlow was fined £500 for his part in the affair, of which he was able to recover £100 after suing King for slander. King subsequently attempted to indict Ludlow in Wiltshire, but the latter’s status, or notoriety, in the county prevented a jury being found to try him.14

Ludlow had sat for Andover in 1601 with the support of his father-in-law, Lord De La Warr. By 1604, as a young man with a legal training and valuable estates (Tadley Park alone was taxed at £20),15 he could depend upon his own local standing to obtain a seat at Ludgershall, a borough his father had represented in 1597. He made no recorded contribution to the work of the Parliament other than to interrupt a messenger from the Lords by breaking wind loudly in 1607, an act which provoked much merriment at the time and formed the basis of an irreverent poem penned by some of his fellow Members. Bowyer noted ruefully that Ludlow’s father, Sir Edmund, had previously offended in like manner, ‘so this seemeth infirmity [was] natural, not malice’.16 Between 1604 and 1607 Ludlow may have been distracted by the King case, which was heard while Parliament was in session, though Ludlow’s defence was made during an adjournment in May 1604.17 In 1607 Ludlow and his father were allowed leave, again while the House was adjourned, to defend themselves in Chancery against Queen’s College, Oxford, concerning the non-payment of rents.18

It was perhaps his difficult nature, as well as the fact that his father was still alive, which prevented Ludlow from acquiring local office until late in life, although the duties and responsibilities of a magistrate failed to tame him. Where his father had been concerned with the welfare of ministers, Ludlow showed contempt.19 When he inherited Tadley he agreed to maintain a curate for the parish at £8 a year. In 1617 the curate sued Ludlow not only for £96 which remained unpaid, but also for sundry sums which Ludlow and his wife had borrowed from him and refused to repay.20 In 1627 Ludlow was noted as ‘refractory’ for refusing to contribute towards the Forced Loan, even though he himself was a Loan commissioner. His unwillingness to pay may explain his dismissal from his captaincy in the militia the following year.21 In 1632 he was sued by the keeper of the poorhouse in Heytesbury, Wiltshire, after he appropriated 20 cartloads of wood donated by (Sir) Thomas Thynne*.22 In the following year he became involved in a court case promoted by his sister-in-law Isobel, Lady Delaware, against a Basingstoke man whom Lady Delaware accused of usurping her coat of arms. In her interests, Ludlow issued his own writ against the defendant in the Court of Chivalry, but, true to his unscrupulous character, he tried to suborn two deponents and was exposed.23

Ludlow’s family life was equally fraught with difficulties, and was exasperated by the hostility of his stepmother. One instance involved land worth £1,400 in Sutton Veny and Hatchbury, Wiltshire, sold by William Button II† to Sir Edmund Ludlow in 1585. As part of Ludlow’s marriage settlement this property was to be conveyed to him upon Sir Edmund’s death, but by 1618 he was demanding its profits to enable him to settle debts incurred by his large family. His father not only refused to comply, but was also accused of detaining the rents from certain estates in Somerset which had been devolved to Ludlow by his father-in-law.24 Ludlow testified that Sir Edmund held these profits ‘by the sinister practice and persuasion of ill-disposed persons that labour by all means to make variance between [us, and is] so far moved to displeasure that he will not be pacified and pleased, but contrariwise seeks by all means and occasions to weaken and impair [my] estates’.25 He further claimed that property formerly conveyed to him, including Fifield and Hill Deverill manors, Wiltshire, had newly been granted to Sir Henry, Sir Edmund’s eldest son by his second marriage, as a result of his ‘affections being alienated from [me] by the persuasions of his now wife’. In response, Sir Edmund claimed that Ludlow had profited by £4000 from the sale of the lands in question, and had refused to pay towards the advance of his daughters (a charge supported by the fact that none of them married advantageously).26

Ludlow’s relations with his children were similarly strained. In 1630 his eldest son petitioned the Privy Council to compel Ludlow to pay him annuities. Ludlow duly complied, but immediately reneged on the arrangements mediated, whereupon the Council, already impatient with Ludlow for his earlier refusal to pay the Loan, threatened him with prison unless he paid his son £100 annually.27 His behaviour towards tenants and employees was also frowned upon. In 1635 two of them sued him for £105 after he had pulled down their houses and refused to pay them wages. His legal obstructions forced the Council to bind his son for £200 to guarantee his appearance, but Ludlow died before a settlement could be reached.28 Intestate, Ludlow left an extensive but debt-ridden estate comprising 14 manors in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset.29 The administration was granted to his eldest son, Edmund, but seven of Ludlow’s other children petitioned the Council to prevent Edmund from mortgaging the properties.30 The family’s in-fighting led to the establishment of a board in January 1640 to settle the dispute.31 None of Ludlow’s sons served in Parliament; the two eldest were both dead by 1646.32

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Henry Lancaster


  • 1. Anon. Ped. Ludlow (1897); Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 723; The Gen. n.s., xii. 164-5.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; MTR, 352.
  • 3. Hants RO, Bentley par. reg.; C2/Jas.I/L16/65.
  • 4. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxv. 173.
  • 5. C142/595/85.
  • 6. C231/4, f. 137.
  • 7. Add. 21922, ff. 5, 60v, 109, 151v.
  • 8. SP16/52/67.
  • 9. Wilts. IPMs ed. G.S. and A.E. Fry (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 94.
  • 10. MTR, 395.
  • 11. STAC 8/8/9, f. 27; J. Hawarde, Reportes del Cases in Camera Stellata ed. W.P. Baildon, 316.
  • 12. STAC 8/8/9.
  • 13. STAC 8/205/7.
  • 14. Hawarde, 316; Wilts. Arch. Mag. l. 451.
  • 15. Add. 21922, f. 160.
  • 16. Sloane 2023, f. 59; Add. 4149, ff. 213-15; Add. 34218, f. 20; Bowyer Diary, 213, n. 1.
  • 17. STAC 8/8/9, f. 27.
  • 18. CJ, i. 363b.
  • 19. VCH Wilts. xiii. 63; R.C. Hoare, Hist. Wilts. ‘Warminster Hundred’, 107; CJ, i. 241b, 374a.
  • 20. REQ 2/424/38.
  • 21. SP16/52/67; Add. 21922, f. 151v.
  • 22. C78/458/3.
  • 23. Reps. of Heraldic Cases in Ct. of Chivalry 1623-1732 ed. G.D. Squibb (Harl. Soc. cvii), 15.
  • 24. C2/Jas.I/L12/35; 2/Jas.I/L16/65.
  • 25. C2/Jas.I/L16/65.
  • 26. C142/457/86; C2/Jas.I/L16/65; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxv. 173.
  • 27. APC, 1630-1, pp. 33, 139, 146, 164, 336, 402; CSP Dom. 1629-31, p. 422.
  • 28. VCH Hants, iv. 220; SP16/425/17; 16/390/113; 16/294/86.
  • 29. C142/595/85.
  • 30. PROB 6/17, f. 74; SP16/442/1.
  • 31. SP16/442/95; 16/447/66.
  • 32. PROB 11/189, f. 155; 11/195, f. 174.