DANIELL, Geoffrey (by 1516-58/61), of the Inner Temple, London and St. Margaret's, Marlborough, Wilts.

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. by 1516, 2nd s. of Piers Daniell of Budworth, Cheshire by Margaret, da. and h. of one Savage of Cheshire. educ. I. Temple. m. by 1537, Margaret, wid. of one Godwin of Chippenham, Wilts. and of Richard Hitchcock, prob. s.p.1

Offices Held

Surveyor to Queen Anne of Cleves 1540, to Queen Catherine Parr by 1545; j.p. Wilts. 1543, 1554; steward for Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, unknown property by 1548; commr. relief Wilts. 1550.2


It seems to have been a turn in his career which led Geoffrey Daniell, a native of Cheshire, to settle in Wiltshire, although a kinsman of his, Richard Daniell, likewise moved south to Sherborne in Gloucestershire and he may also have had relatives in a humbler way of life in his adopted county: in 1523 one John Daniell was assessed for subsidy on goods worth £10 at Preshute, near Marlborough. Daniell’s professional advancement was by way of the law: styled as of the Inner Temple when he brought a suit in the court of requests in 1537, he was perhaps the Master Daniell who is mentioned there in 1546 and 1554. As an administrator Daniell is clearly identifiable only in the service of Anne of Cleves and Catherine Parr. He may, however, have been the servant of Cromwell’s mentioned in October 1537 and listed in the following year among those who were to be admitted only on special business; if so, he was probably also the servant to Anthony Denny who on Cromwell’s fall was given some of his apparel.3

Daniell is first described as a resident of Marlborough in March 1543, when he leased lands there which had formerly belonged to Queen Jane Seymour: this transaction coincided with his appearance on the Wiltshire commission of the peace. In the following year he paid £62 10s. for numerous messuages in the borough formerly belonging to the abbeys of Bradenstoke and Maiden Bradley, and to the priory of Gilbertine canons known as St. Margaret’s beside Marlborough. At the time of Leland’s visit he was living in the priory itself, and he paid 53s.4d., the highest contribution in the borough, towards the benevolence of 1545, being its only inhabitant to be styled a gentleman. In March 1546 he obtained a dispensation to eat meat during Lent and at other prohibited times.4

The fact that, on his only known return to the House of Commons, Daniell sat, not for Marlborough, but for Devizes is to be attributed to the linked patronage of these two boroughs. Both formed part of the jointure of the queen consort, and in 1545 they were therefore held by Catherine Parr. It may well have been the Queen herself who found a seat for her servant Daniell at Devizes: but if her new vice-chamberlain, and steward of Devizes, (Sir) William Herbert, had a hand in the matter, he too is likely to have favoured Daniell, who moved in the circle of Herbert’s dependants.5

It appears that Daniell intended to share his property with a nephew, perhaps because by then he saw no prospect of having children of his own. In February 1553 he was licensed to grant all that he had acquired from St. Margaret’s, Marlborough, both in the town and in the adjoining parish of Preshute, to William Daniell and his heirs. This transaction was, however, apparently not completed, for three years later Geoffrey Daniell received a licence to grant the same property to Thomas Street, William Franklin and their heirs. This in turn fell short of completion, for the site of the priory was to remain with the Daniells until late in the 17th century. William Daniell is not mentioned in his uncle’s will and no inquisition survives to show whether he was the heir. Daniell himself bequeathed to his widow, over and above her jointure, a sum of £100 as well as 400 sheep in the keeping of her ‘son’ or son-in-law, Thomas Franklin of Pulton, and all the goods in the dwelling house at St. Margaret’s. His interest in three Monmouthshire manors he left to Bridget, daughter of Richard Franklin of Overton, Wiltshire, whom he named with her father as executor. Bridget Franklin may already have been betrothed to William Erneley, scion of a prominent county family, for his father John Erneley of Bishops Cannings was named an overseer with Robert Kingsmill. It is therefore probable that Daniell was childless at his death, which took place between 9 July 1558, when the will was made, and 4 Feb. 1561, when it was proved.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 42; Req.2/10/208; PCC 4 Loftes.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xv. xviii, xx; CPR, 1550-3, p. 142; 1553, pp. 169, 359; 1553-4, pp. 25, 28; E163/12/17, nos. 38, 51, 54.
  • 3. Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 72; Ormerod, Cheshire, i. 734; E179/259/17; Req.2/10/208; Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 143, 174; LP Hen. VIII, xii, xiii, xvi, xviii; M. L. Robertson, ‘Cromwell’s servants’ (Univ. California Los Angeles Ph.D. thesis, 1975), 477-8.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xix; Leland, Itin. ed. Smith, v. 81; Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. x. 25.
  • 5. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xviii. 129; Req.2/3/153, 10/208.
  • 6. CPR, 1553, p. 116; 1555-7, pp. 243-4; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xlv, 464; PCC 4 Loftes; Wilts. Vis. Peds. 42, 56.