SNEYD, Richard (by 1523-54/55), of the Inner Temple, London and Chester, Cheshire.
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Family and Education
b. by 1523, 2nd s. of Richard Sneyd of Bradwell Wolstanton, Staffs. and Chester by Anne, da. of Sir Robert Foulshurst of Crewe, Cheshire. educ. I. Temple. unm.2
Auditor, I. Temple 1550.
Alderman, Chester in 1544, recorder by 1550-d.3
Richard Sneyd’s family was of north Staffordshire origin and can be traced back to the 14th century. By purchase and by inheritance it had acquired a small estate in Cheshire which gave its members a position there, particularly in Chester, although its chief seat remained in Staffordshire. Sneyd’s father spent £2,000 in buying property and by his death in 1537 he had doubled his inheritance. He had been recorder of Chester, an attorney to the council in the marches during Princess Mary’s presidency and later the King’s attorney in North Wales.4
Sneyd, too, was a lawyer and recorder of Chester. In 1541 he was fined 6s. 8d. for his part in an affray at the Inner Temple and five years later he was briefly suspended from its commons, almost certainly for owing money. It was during his elder brother’s mayoralty that on 21 Apr. 1544 he was made a freeman of Chester, presumably as a step to becoming recorder. The first reference found to him in this office dates from 1550, but he had probably obtained it before being made an alderman six years earlier. If so, he may well have sat for Chester in the Parliament of 1545, for which the names of the city’s Members are lost, and thus have helped in the passage of the Act for the amendment of the highways beside Chester (37 Hen. VIII, c.37) in which both the city and his kinsman Sir Hugh Calverley were interested. His services were certainly called for in the Parliament of 1547, when several bills were introduced relating to Chester. Two of these failed but two were enacted, one for the taking of recognizances (2 and 3 Edw. VI, c.31) and the other for removing weirs in the river Dee (3 and 4 Edw. VI, no. 26): a proviso for the city was also added to the Act for the relief of the poor (5 and 6 Edw. VI, c.2). It is possible, but unlikely, that Sneyd was the ‘Mr. Recorder’ to whom the weirs bill was committed after its second reading on 5 Dec. 1549: as used in the Journal the term invariably connotes the recorder of London, and the holder of that office, Robert Broke, to whom many bills were committed, may have had an interest in this one arising from his Shropshire origin and connexions. Of Sneyd’s attitude towards the larger issues raised in this and succeeding Parliaments there is only the negative evidence that he was not among those who ‘stood for the true religion’ in the first Marian Parliament and that he did not choose to absent himself from the third before its dissolution. He may, indeed, not have lived to witness this episode, for although the date of his death is unknown his successor as recorder, William Gerard II, was made a freeman of Chester only six days after that Parliament was dissolved. It may thus be that Sneyd was unable to take action on the letter which had been sent to him and his fellow-Member Thomas Massey, after the Parliament opened, on the harm done by the incorporation of the merchant adventurers at Chester which had been recently secured by William Aldersey.5
Sneyd died unmarried and seemingly intestate. The reference in a land sale of 1550 to Richard Sneyd of Chester and his wife Margaret is to a namesake, a kinsman and wealthy draper who by that time had been dead for over eight years.6
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: P. S. Edwards
- 1. Hatfield 207.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. lix), 215.
- 3. Chester RO, mayor’s bk. 1543-5, f.3; R. H. Morris, Chester, 204.
- 4. J. W. Blake, ‘The Sneyds of Keele c. 1530-1949’, N. Staffs. Jnl. of Field Studies, ii. 11-25.
- 5. Cal. I. T. Recs. i. 128, 141; Freemen, Chester (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. li), 24; CJ, i. 1-4, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15; Chester RO, letters M.L. 5, no. 265.
- 6. Students, I. Temple, 9; CPR, 1549-51, p. 6; Morris, 543, 582; Chester RO, mayor’s bk. 1541-3, f. 2; sheriff’s bk. 7A, ff. 5, 7v, 135; J. Beck, Tudor Cheshire, 98; Jnl. Chester and N. Wales Arch. and Hist. Soc. n.s. xxxviii. 53, 54.