STOUGHTON, Anthony (c.1587-1656), of St. John's House, Warwick
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Family and Education
b. c.1587,1 1st s. of William Stoughton† of Worplesdon, Surr. and Elizabeth, da. of William Muschamp of East Horsley, Surr. and Kensington, Mdx.2 educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1602, BA 1605; I. Temple 1605, called 1614.3 m. by 1618, Dorothy (d. 14 Sept. 1656), da. and h. of John Brett of Warwick and Kennington, Kent, 2s. 4da. (1 d.v.p.).4 suc. fa. 1612.5 d. 13 Aug. 1656.6
?Member, E.I. Co. 1614.7
J.p. Warwick 1641-at least 1652, Warws. 1641-52, 1653-d.;8 commr. assoc. Staffs. and Warws. 1642, assessment, Warws. 1643-52, sequestration 1643, levying money 1643, New Model Ordinance 1645, militia 1648.9
Stoughton belonged to a junior branch of the Surrey family which supplied three Members during this period. His grandfather, a younger son, received the site of St. John’s Hospital, Warwick in reward for his service at the courts of four Tudor sovereigns. His father William, an outspoken puritan who sat for Grampound in the 1584 Parliament, lived mainly in Surrey, where Stoughton spent his early years.10 A personal religious conversion at around the age of 16 ensured that he followed in William’s godly footsteps. He had not yet completed his legal training when he inherited his father’s property in 1612. Either he or his uncle, a senior official in the Dublin government, invested in the East India Company in 1614.11 Although called to the bar, Stoughton is not known to have practised his profession. Preferring the life of a country gentleman, he settled at Warwick, and in around 1626 built a substantial new house on the hospital site.12 However, as he owned few other properties in this area, this act of self-promotion failed to impress the town’s corporation, which ‘conceived little worthiness in him’. He was nonetheless returned for the borough at the 1629 election, on the interest of his friend and neighbour Sir Thomas Puckering, 1st Bt.* The third Caroline Parliament ended barely a month later, and he left no mark on its records.13
In the following decade Stoughton sold some of his Surrey lands and most of his wife’s patrimony in Kent in order to invest in fen drainage in Lincolnshire. He established himself only slowly in Warwickshire society, his principal companions during the 1630s being Puckering and the 2nd Lord Brooke (Robert Greville*), Warwick’s other leading resident, who shared his godly views. He avoided compounding for knighthood, and his appointment as a magistrate in 1641 probably represented a government concession.14 One of the few Warwickshire j.p.s to side with Parliament at the start of the Civil War, he served intermittently on the county committee, though he seems to have fallen out with its leading figure, William Purefoy*. More active in local administration once peace was restored, he was unexpectedly removed from the county bench in March 1652, but restored 18 months later.15 Stoughton drew up his will on 12 Aug. 1656, lamenting his sinfulness but entirely confident of his personal salvation. Like most investors in the fens he had as yet failed to realize a return, and apart from the provision he made for his wife in lieu of her lost jointure, his larger legacies mostly depended on his Lincolnshire acres eventually yielding an income. He died the following day, and was buried in St. Nicholas’ church, Warwick, where his monument proudly asserts a pedigree stretching back to before the Conquest. His will was not proved until July 1661, probably because the funds were lacking for its execution.16 None of his descendants are known to have sat.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Alan Davidson / Paul Hunneyball
- 1. C142/332/160.
- 2. Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 85-6; O. Manning and W. Bray, Surr. i. 170.
- 3. Al. Ox.; I. Temple Admiss.
- 4. Vis. Surr. 86; Add. 29264, f. 90.
- 5. C142/332/160.
- 6. Add. 29264, f. 90.
- 7. T.K. Rabb, Enterprise and Empire, 384.
- 8. C231/5, pp. 466, 469; A. Hughes, Pols. Soc. and Civil War in Warws. 273; Sessions Order Bk. (Warws. Recs. iii), 113.
- 9. A. and O. i. 54, 94, 116, 151, 620, 1244; ii. 677.
- 10. Vis. Surr. 85-7; W. Dugdale, Antiqs. of Warws. (1730), i. 460; HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 454; Al. Ox.
- 11. PROB 11/305, f. 104; APC, 1615-16, p. 498.
- 12. G. Tyack, Warws. Country Houses, 262-3.
- 13. C142/332/160; VCH Warws. vi. 51, 258; Procs. 1628, vi. 170.
- 14. Add. 6174, f. 140; PROB 11/305, f. 104v; Hughes, 104, 122, 131.
- 15. Hughes, 143, 180, 273, 357; HMC 4th Rep. 272.
- 16. PROB 11/305, ff. 104-7; Dugdale, i. 466.