DRURY, Sir Robert I (by 1456-1535), of Hawstead, Suff. 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. by 1456, 1st s. of Roger Drury of Hawstead by Felice, da. and h. of William Denston of Besthorpe, Norf. educ. ?Gonville, Camb.; L. Inn, adm. 1473. m. (1) by 1494, Anne, da. of Sir William Calthorpe of Burnham Thorpe, Norf., 2s. Sir William and Sir Robert II 4da.; (2) by 1531, Anne, da. of Edward Jerningham of Somerleyton, Suff., wid. of Lord Edward Grey (d. by 1517), ?of one Berkeley, and of Henry Barley (d. 12 Nov. 1529) of Albury Herts., s.p. suc. fa. 30 Jan. 1496. Kntd. 17 June 1497.1

Offices Held

Autumn reader, L. Inn 1487, gov. 1488, 1492, 1497.

Commr. array Suff. 1487, subsidy 1512, 1514, 1515 1523; other commissions 1490-d., j.p. 1488-d.; dep. chief steward, south parts duchy of Lancaster c.1498-1526; Councillor and knight of body temp. Hen. VII and Hen. VIII; member, council of 14th Earl of Oxford c.1525, bailiff, Bury St. Edmunds, Suff. by d.2

Speaker of House of Commons 1495.


The Drury family of Suffolk was established at Hawstead by Robert Drury’s father, who represented the younger of two branches descended from Sir Nicholas Drury of Thurston and Rougham in the 14th century. Robert Drury was the first of his line to attach himself to the court after training as a lawyer. He was knighted after fighting against the rebels at Blackheath in 1497, where he may have served under John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford whose deputy he became in the stewardship of the duchy of Lancaster. Under the earl’s will of 1509 he was appointed an executor and given an annuity of £6 13s.4d. and the Ellesmere Chaucer which bears the signature of Drury and his son William.3

By the beginning of Henry VIII’s reign Drury was prominent as a lawyer, courtier and servant of the crown. It was presumably as a senior Member and former Speaker that in the Parliament of 1510 he announced in the Upper House the election of Thomas Englefield as Speaker; it is all but certain that Drury had been re-elected for Suffolk. Under the new King he attended the Council from time to time, for example in May 1516 to discuss musters, and early in 1526 to give advice on legal matters, but he was chiefly concerned with Scottish affairs. Having been a witness to Henry VIII’s renewal of the treaty with Scotland on 29 Aug. 1509, he was commissioned on 7 Sept. with two others to receive the oath of James IV and to treat for the redress of grievances. From 1511 to 1513 he was engaged on similar commissions about injuries on the Scottish border with Thomas, 2nd Lord Dacre of Gilsland.4

During the first decade of the century Drury enlarged his property in East Anglia, where he also acquired a number of wardships. In the general pardon of 1510 he was described as of Hawstead, Ruislip in Middlesex, and London. In the same year he had licence to empark over 2,000 acres of land and wood in a number of Suffolk parishes, and to crenellate his manors of Hawstead Hall, Bokenham in Hawstead, and Onehouse. At Hawstead, his chief seat, he had a private chapel for which in 1501 he had received a papal licence.5

Drury made his will on 1 May 1531 and died on 2 Mar. 1535. In accordance with his request he was buried in St. Mary’s church, Bury St. Edmunds, where a stone monument with effigies of himself and his first wife bears the inscription ‘Such as ye be, sometime were we, such as we are, such shall ye be. Miserere nostri’. His rich household hangings, goods and plate, and large flocks of sheep he left chiefly to his wife and sons. His dwellings included a house in College Street, Bury St. Edmunds and a ‘place’ in the parish of St. Clement Dane, London, which later gave its name to Drury Lane. His widow married Sir Edmund Walsingham.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., CIPM Hen. VII, ii. 53. A. Campling, Fam. Drury, 42-47; HP, ed. Wedgwood, 1439-1509 (Biogs.), 150; PCC 17 Chaynay, 10 Thower, 15 Jankyn, 19 Noodes; Test. Vet., ed. Nicolas, 441, 631, 682n.; DNB.
  • 2. CPR, 1485-94, 1494-1509 passim, 1569-72, p. 207; LP Hen. VIII, i-v; M. D. Lobel, Bury St. Edmunds, 69-70; Rot. Parl. vi. 459; Somerville, Duchy, i. 431; J. S. Roskell, The Commons and their Speakers, 1376-1523, p. 304; information from Susan Flower.
  • 3. Campling, 44, 100-1; Stow, Annals, 479.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, i; LJ, i. 4.
  • 5. Copinger, Suff. Manors, v. 199; vi. 218; vii. 15, 35, 89; CPR, 1494-1509, pp. 466, 506-22.
  • 6. C142/57/24, 40; PCC 32 Hogen; Campling, 45.