ARUNDELL, Matthew (1532/34-98), of Wardour Castle, Wilts. and London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1532/34, s. of Sir Thomas Arundell of Shaftesbury, Dorset, and Wardour Castle by Margaret, da. of Lord Edmund Howard. m. settlement 20 Dec. 1559, Margaret, da. of Henry Willoughby of Wollaton, Notts., 2s. suc. fa. 26 Feb. 1552. Kntd. 1574.2

Offices Held

Constable, Taunton castle, Som. 1552-54 or later; customer, Poole, Dorset 1565-75; commr. musters, Dorset 1573; j.p. 1573-d., Wilts. 1582-d.; custos rot. Dorset c.1584-d.; dep. lt. 1589-d.3


Matthew Arundell was under age at the time of his father’s attainder and execution; his wardship and marriage were granted in June 1553 to his mother. In the first Parliament of Mary’s reign he was restored in blood and in July 1554 he recovered the greater part of his inheritance by grant of the Queen. Wardour Castle, which Sir Thomas Arundell had held by knight service of the Earl of Pembroke, had escheated to the earl, but in 1570 Matthew Arundell repurchased it and the manor of Sutton Mandeville, Wiltshire; in the following year the 2nd Earl of Pembroke granted to Arundell and his two sons, in survivorship, the site of Shaftesbury abbey.4

The abbey and all Sir Thomas Arundell’s possessions in Shaftesbury had been given to the 1st Earl of Pembroke in April 1553. Pembroke came to exercise Sir Thomas Arundell’s patronage there in elections to Parliament and was perhaps responsible for Matthew Arundell’s, although the young man could also have counted on the support of his father’s former colleague in augmentations, Matthew Colthurst, who at the time was castellan of Wardour; Arundell’s fellow-Member John Foster III was a client of Colthurst. Arundell followed the lead of Sir Anthony Kingston in opposing a government bill, and it may have been in his London house that parliamentary business and tactics were discussed. Unlike other members of the opposition he was not taken before the Council to be examined after the dissolution, but he seems to have thought it wise not to present himself at the Exchequer for the payment of two annuities in the following year, assigning the task to his friend Hugh Hawker. Arundell’s close association with Cecil and his family which was to blossom in the 1560s possibly originated during this Parliament.5

In the reign of Elizabeth, Matthew Arundell’s brother Charles was a notorious Catholic and in 1583 it was suggested that information about him might be obtained by examining Sir Matthew, who himself seems never to have been suspected of recusancy, although his elder son was imprisoned for his zeal in the Catholic cause. The worst that was alleged against Arundell was ‘some slack dealing in her Majesty’s public services’, a charge which the Council found to be without foundation shortly before his appointment as a deputy lieutenant of Dorset. Arundell’s main activity in local government was limited to Dorset, although he lived in the adjoining county of Wiltshire. He died on 24 Dec. 1598 and was buried the same day.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from wardship and from election. Hoare, Wilts. Dunworth, 179.
  • 3. E122/123/10-17; Eccles. 2/155891, 155898; APC, viii. 127; xviii. 290.
  • 4. CPR, 1553, p. 77; 1553-4, pp. 339-42; CJ, i. 31, 32; Hoare, 177, 239; Pembroke Survey (Roxburghe Club cliv), 516.
  • 5. CPR, 1553, p. 169; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2; SP11/8, no. 35; E405/121/32v.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 142; CP, i. 263; C142/257/79, 85; PCC 12 Kidd; Hoare, 152.