MANNERS, Sir George (c.1580-1641), of Fulbeck, Lincs. and The Savoy, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1580, 4th but 3rd surv. s. of John Manners, 4th earl of Rutland (d.1588), of Belvoir, Lincs. and Elizabeth, da. of Francis Charlton of Apley Castle, Salop; bro. of (Sir) Oliver†.1 educ. Christ’s, Camb. 1594-8, MA 1612; Oxf. 1598; I. Temple 1606.2 m. 3 Mar. 1605,3 Frances, da. of Sir Edward Carey† of Aldenham, Herts., master of the jewels 1595-1618, wid. of Ralph Baeshe of Stansted Abbots, Herts., s.p.4 kntd. 12 July 1599;5 suc. bro. as 7th earl of Rutland 17 Dec. 1632. d. 29 Mar. 1641.6
Vol. Ire. 1599.7
Commr. enclosures, Leics. 1607;8 j.p. Lincs. (Kesteven, Holland, Lindsey) by 1614-d., Notts. by 1629-d., Leics. and Yorks. (E. Riding, N. Riding) by 1636-d.;9 commr. sewers, Lincs. 1617-21, River Gleane, Lincs. and Notts. 1625-7, Lincoln, Lincs. 1627, Welland navigation 1618-34, Fenland 1629-d.,10 swans, Lincs. Northants., Rutland, Notts. 1619, 1625, Lincs. 1635,11 preservation of game, Ancaster Heath, Lincs. 1619; freeman, Grantham, Lincs. by 1620;12 commr. subsidy, Lincs. (Kesteven) 1621-2, 1624,13 recusants (Lindsey) 1624,14 oyer and terminer, Midland circ. 1626-d., Northern circ. 1633-d.,15 Forced Loan, Lincs. (Kesteven, Holland, Lindsey) 1627;16 kpr. Bestwood Park, Notts. 1632-8;17 recorder, Grantham by 1634;18 commr. exacted fees, Rutland 1634;19 warden, Sherwood Forest, Notts. 1639-d.20
The Manners family can be traced back in Northumberland to the twelfth century, and in 1340 they provided a knight of the shire. The family migrated southwards when Sir Robert Manners acquired Belvoir Castle, together with vast estates in the east Midlands, by marriage in the early sixteenth century; his grandson, Thomas, was created 1st earl of Rutland, in 1525.25 Manners himself inherited a life interest in several Yorkshire manors, held during his minority by his guardian, the 1st Lord Burghley (Sir William Cecil†).26 Manners left Cambridge without a degree, going on to serve as a volunteer in Ireland under the 2nd earl of Essex, by whom he was knighted. With his brother, the 5th earl of Rutland, he took part in the Essex revolt of 1601, and was briefly imprisoned in the Marshalsea. However, he was never brought to trial, and his fine of £2,660 was granted to his foster-brother, Sir Robert Cecil†, who probably never exacted it.27 Rutland was advised, on Elizabeth I’s death, to send Manners to Scotland with assurances of his ‘love and duty’ to the new king, and perhaps as a result, James stayed at Belvoir on his way south, unmindful of the family’s suspected Catholicism. James rewarded his host with the lord lieutenancy of Lincolnshire and a ceremonial embassy to Copenhagen.28
In the first general election of the new reign, Manners was elected for Grantham, nine-and-a-half miles from his home at Fulbeck, together with his neighbour both in town and country, Thomas Horsman*, who had represented the borough in the last three Elizabethan Parliaments. In the opening session Manners was named to attend a conference with the Lords on Union with Scotland (14 April 1604), and to consider bills for the restitution of Essex’s son (2 Apr.) and the preservation of game (16 June).29 On his marriage in the following year he received an annuity of £180 and a small estate valued at under £50.30 In the second session he was appointed to committees concerning legal fees (14 Feb. 1606), the export of beer (27 Mar.), and the attainder of the Gunpowder traitors (30 April).31 His only appointment in the third session was to a private bill committee concerning pastures in a Hertfordshire parish, a matter no doubt of some interest to Manners’ father-in-law (4 Mar. 1607).32 In the fourth session he was named to the conference at which Cecil, now 1st earl of Salisbury and lord treasurer, outlined the Great Contract for reform of the king’s revenue (15 Feb. 1610).33 Manners’ other committee appointments included another bill for the preservation of game (22 March).34 On 28 May he undertook, together with his neighbour Sir Thomas Grantham*, to advance the returns from Lincolnshire recusants by £2,000, though two of his own brothers would have been liable.35
A contest for Lincolnshire at the general election in 1614 saw Manners take the first seat.36 He was among those chosen to attended the conference with the Lords on the Palatine marriage settlement (14 Apr. 1614), and was appointed to consider bills concerning the foundation of the Charterhouse hospital (9 May), the export of ordnance (11 May), and the naturalization of Sir Francis Stewart* (23 May). He was also named to a committee to examine the constitutional position of baronets (23 May).37 On 25 May he introduced ‘a bill about surrounded grounds and the marshes’, always a matter of concern to his constituency.38 It was first read on 31 May. Perhaps fearing that this bill would be lost if the king brought proceedings to an end as soon as supply was granted, Manners spoke on 7 June against the motion for subsidies; but it was too late, and the session was dissolved the same day.39
In May 1620 Manners’ niece, Katherine, sole heiress of the 6th earl of Rutland, married the marquess of Buckingham, thereby raising the profile of the whole family at Court.40 A few weeks earlier, Manners persuade the king to set up an inquiry into the dyeing of silk; he may have hoped to obtain a patent, but if so nothing materialized.41 When the writs went out for the next Parliament, Manners was in Hertfordshire, so he sent a servant with instructions that ‘there may be notice given to all my neighbours at Knaith, Bardney, Tupholme and Fulbeck that I shall desire their company at Lincoln [on New Year’s day], being the county day for choosing knights of the shire’. He also approached Grantham for a seat, ‘in regard I am a freeman of their town and of never a corporation else’, but this fallback proved unnecessary, as he was again returned for Lincolnshire.42
As a member of the privileges committee (5 Feb. 1621), Manners argued on 8 Feb. against the return for Grimsby of Henry Pelham*, who had been overseas at the date of the election.43 He also, on 16 Mar. contributed to debate on the disputed election of Sir Thomas Wentworth*, expressing his indignation, as a Yorkshire freeholder, and even more as a kinsman of Sir John Savile*, at the misconduct of the constables, having seen ‘never the like in that county before’.44 His appointments included a bill committee for the better observation of the Sabbath (15 Feb.), and the management of a conference with the Lords on 16 Feb. concerning the restraint of recusants.45 On 8 Mar. he argued in support of a bill to prohibit corn imports, and subsequently chaired its committee.46 The following day, after debate on the referees of monopolies had been precipitately adjourned by the Speaker, Manners said bluntly that ‘the Speaker is neither master nor master’s mate, but the servant of the House’, and he was appointed to help manage the monopolies conference with the Lords four days later.47 He moved on 24 Apr. for a bill against the abuses of the clerk of the market, which quadrupled the price of hay at inns, and on 27 Apr. ‘against lawyers taking fees in both sides in one term’, and was named to drafting committees for both.48
On 23 Apr. Manners expressed sympathy with the poor planters of Virginia who complained of the tobacco monopoly, and was named to the committee to relieve them.49 He also spoke on two private bills introduced on behalf of leading Catholic landowners in Sussex, namely Viscount Montagu (16 Mar.) and Sir Richard Lumley (1 May).50 On 9 May he supported the proposal of Sir George More to send Clement Coke* to the Tower for assaulting Sir Charles Morrison* on the Parliament Stairs, and in addition recommended ‘some course for satisfaction, because, when the Parliament dissolved, the cause of mischief will remain’.51 A member of the committee set up to condemn the alehouse patent of Sir Francis Michell (21 Apr.), he asked the House on 11 May to send for the two men responsible for executing it in his constituency, ‘and let them give account’.52 As required by familial loyalty, when it was proposed to expel Buckingham’s half-brother Sir Edward Villiers for his share in the gold and silver thread patent, Manners urged the House on 2 May ‘to let him sit here till cause appear to the contrary’.53 He was appointed to a joint sub-committee with the Lords on 8 May, to accommodate the difference between the Houses over the punishment of Edward Floyd, a Catholic lawyer who had slandered the king’s daughter.54
When Manners reported the corn bill on 17 May it encountered severe criticism from the free trade lobby, which he vainly strove to allay by alleging that ‘it continues an old statute, and is a needful bill for the maintenance of all the land’; it was therefore recommitted.55 He supported the motion of Thomas Crewe* on 18 May for an inquiry into the decay of wool prices, and, together with Sir William Spencer, urged that ‘to give way to pre-emption for a little time is for the clothier to set the price of wool all the year’.56 He also, on 29 May, urged the House to consider reinforcing the Henrician statutes against depopulation.57 His response to widespread recession was to blame merchants, and he demanded on 31 May ‘that the East India Company may be restrained from exporting any money’.58 He was among those ordered to meet with the king on 3 June concerning the imminent adjournment of business.59 In the second sitting, on 3 Dec. 1621 Manners was chosen one of the messengers to present the House’s petition concerning the Spanish Match and foreign affairs to James.60 Like many other Members, Manners presumably believed at first that the petition had royal approval, since it had been suggested by Sir George Goring*, an associate of Buckingham. However, on learning that James was actually furious, Manners successfully applied to be excused.61
After the dissolution Manners was much preoccupied with a dispute which had arisen over his expenses as one of the executors of the 3rd Lord Willoughby of Parham. His sister, the dowager, refused to hand over the family plate for this purpose, and her man of business accused Manners of growing ‘shameless in evil’.62 In January 1622 he was summoned before the Privy Council for failing to contribute towards the Palatinate Benevolence.63 He presumably capitulated, and when he applied for a position at Court two years later was rewarded with the potentially valuable reversion to the postmastership, estimated at over £4,000 p.a.64 He was returned for Grantham at the next general election, and again named to the privileges committee (23 Feb. 1624).65 On 27 Feb. he was appointed to a committee to prepare for a conference at which the duke of Buckingham would justify his negotiations with Spain, and five days later to another to confer with the Lords on the advice to be given to the king.66 Manners’ legislative bill committees included measures concerning usury (8 Mar.), false imprisonment (9 Mar.), the removal of cases to superior courts (9 Mar.), expiring laws (13 Mar.), and depopulation (24 March).67 He made his only recorded speech on the revived Montagu estate bill, and was appointed to its committee (5 April).68 He was appointed to conferences with the Lords on recusancy (3 Apr.), monopolies (8 Apr.), and abuses in the Exchequer (1 May), and was among those appointed on 9 Apr. to the inquiry into impositions, by which Buckingham hoped to uncover incriminating evidence against lord treasurer Middlesex (Sir Lionel Cranfield*).69 Manners’ dispute with Lady Willoughby was now before the Court of Wards, and he found it advisable to claim privilege on 22 April.70 He was among those given responsibility on 27 Apr. for examining the certificates of Catholic officeholders, in which his brother’s name achieved embarrassing prominence, and his final appointment, on 28 May, was to present the grievances to the king.71
On 14 Sept. 1624 Manners’ name appeared at the head of the commission to inquire into and confiscate recusants’ lands in Lindsey, although Lady Willoughby had done her best to prevent his inclusion.72 Re-elected for Grantham to the first Caroline Parliament, he was again named to the privileges committee (21 June 1625), but left no further trace upon the records.73 He does not appear to have travelled to Oxford after the Parliament adjourned there to avoid the plague in London, and for an account of the last fortnight’s proceedings he relied on the earl of Westmorland (Francis Fane*).74 Manners is not known to have stood again. He himself was presented to Parliament in April 1628 as a suspected papist.75 In 1629 he traded his reversion to the postmastership for a grant of £4,000 in old debts to the Crown, from which he managed to make a net profit of £1,200.76
On the death of his brother in 1632, Manners succeeded, as 7th earl of Rutland, to an estate encumbered with debts of £9,500 and the claims of his niece, the duchess of Buckingham, to much of her father’s property. She brought a lawsuit against him, which was eventually settled by an agreement whereby he received a yearly income of about £8,000 from a life interest in the estates.77 He drew up his will in 1638, and the following year accompanied Charles I to Scotland, keeping a diary of the expedition.78 As a member of the Upper House he voted against the king on supply in the Short Parliament and was one of the 12 peers who signed the petition for a Parliament on 28 Aug. 1640.79 He died at his house in the Savoy on 29 Mar. 1641, and in accordance with his wishes, was buried with his ancestors at Bottesford.80 He was remembered by Bulstrode Whitelocke* as a man ‘of good and pleasant discourse’, who ‘understood business well and managed it prudently when he would be troubled with it’.81 His heir was his cousin, John*, who sat for Derbyshire in 1626 and 1640.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Paula Watson / Rosemary Sgroi
- 1. CP, xi. 259.
- 2. Al Cant.; HMC Rutland, ii. 352; CITR. ii. 14.
- 3. CP, xi. 263.
- 4. R. Clutterbuck, Herts. iii. 242-3.
- 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 96, 102.
- 6. CP, xi. 262-3.
- 7. HMC Rutland, iv. 415.
- 8. C181/2, f. 34v.
- 9. C66/1988; C231/4, f. 264; 231/5, f. 300; C193/13/2, ff. 18v, 22v, 36v, 38, 39v, 41v, 52v; C66/2858.
- 10. APC, 1618-19, p. 293; C181/2, ff. 282, 330, 352v; 181/3, ff. 35v, 99, 168v, 214v, 228v; 181/4, ff. 19v, 154v, 160v; C181/5, ff. 9v, 180v.
- 11. C181/2, f. 341v; 181/3, f. 164v; 181/5, f. 14.
- 12. HMC Rutland, i. 456-7.
- 13. SP14/123/77; C212/22/20-1, 23.
- 14. HMC Rutland, i. 471.
- 15. C181/3, ff. 205v, 258; 181/4, ff. 10v, 142, 195, 197; 181/5, ff. 4, 191v, 193v.
- 16. Lincs. AO, 2 ANC 8/14; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 145.
- 17. CSP Dom. 1638-9, p. 56.
- 18. Lincs. AO, Grantham bor. min. bk. 1, f. 6.
- 19. C181/4, f. 159.
- 20. HMC Cowper, ii. 209.
- 21. HMC Rutland, i. 460.
- 22. Rymer, viii. pt. 1, p. 59.
- 23. LC5/132, p. 285.
- 24. CSP Dom. 1631-3, p. 510.
- 25. I. Eller, Hist. Belvoir Castle, 32-6; L. Stone, Fam. and Fortune, 165-208.
- 26. PROB 11/72, f. 1.
- 27. HMC Bath, v. 282; HMC Hatfield, xi. 87, 214; HMC Rutland, i. 366-7, 374, 376; iv. 210, 415; APC, 1600-1, pp. 314, 353, 484, 488; J.W.F. Hill, Tudor and Stuart Lincoln, 76, 116-17.
- 28. HMC Rutland, i. 389; J. Gerard, Autobiog. 180, 185-6, 250.
- 29. CJ, i. 162a, 172a, 240b.
- 30. Stone, 196.
- 31. CJ, i. 268b, 290b, 303a.
- 32. Ibid. 347b.
- 33. Ibid. 393b.
- 34. Ibid. 413b.
- 35. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 613.
- 36. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 518; T.L. Moir, Addled Parl. of 1614, pp. 34, 52.
- 37. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 82, 176, 202, 320, 322; LMA, ACC/1876/G/01/16/1.
- 38. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 348.
- 39. Ibid. 439.
- 40. R. Lockyer, Buckingham, 26, 58, 60, 323.
- 41. CSP Dom. 1619-23, pp. 56, 163.
- 42. HMC Rutland, i. 456-8.
- 43. CJ, i. 507b, 513b; CD 1621, ii. 41.
- 44. CJ, i. 557a, 571a; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 176; CD 1621, iv. 186.
- 45. CJ, i. 522b, 523a.
- 46. Ibid. 545a.
- 47. Ibid. 547b, 551a; CD 1621, ii. 201; v. 285.
- 48. CJ, i. 590a, 595a; CD 1621, iii. 71, 101; vi. 97.
- 49. CJ, i. 586b.
- 50. Ibid. 556b, 600b.
- 51. Ibid. 612a, 616a.
- 52. Ibid. 586b; CD 1621, iii. 226.
- 53. CJ, i. 603a.
- 54. Ibid. 614b.
- 55. CD 1621, ii. 378-9; iii. 281; v. 171.
- 56. CJ, i. 625a.
- 57. CD 1621, iii. 341.
- 58. CJ, i. 633b; CD 1621, ii. 422.
- 59. CJ, i. 637b.
- 60. Ibid. 657b.
- 61. Ibid. 658a; CSP Ven. 1621-3, p. 184; CD 1621, ii. 499.
- 62. CSP Dom. 1619-23, pp. 242, 463, 489; 1623-5, pp. 73, 103, 112; HMC Rutland, i. 468, 485.
- 63. SP14/127/48.
- 64. HMC Rutland, i. 470, 472, 489.
- 65. CJ, i. 671b.
- 66. Ibid. 676b, 722a.
- 67. Ibid. 679b, 680a, b, 736b, 748b.
- 68. Ibid. 755a, 764b.
- 69. Ibid. 695a, 754a, 757b, 760b.
- 70. Ibid. 773a; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 169.
- 71. CJ, i. 714a, 777a.
- 72. HMC Rutland, i. 471.
- 73. Procs. 1625, p. 205.
- 74. HMC Rutland, i. 473.
- 75. CD 1628, iii. 63.
- 76. HMC Rutland, i. 489; CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 202; 1637, p. 255; C66/2456, 66/2459.
- 77. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, ii. 224; Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 261; CSP Dom. 1631-3, p. 462; HMC Rutland, i. 492-4, 497; Stone, 199-200.
- 78. HMC Rutland, i. 504-16.
- 79. CSP Dom. 1640, pp. 66, 639.
- 80. PROB 11/186, f. 61.
- 81. Diary of Bulstrode Whitelocke ed. R. Spalding, 103.