CHAWORTH, George (d.1615), of Gray's Inn, London and Harthill, Yorks.
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Family and Education
3rd s. of George Chaworth of Linby, Notts. by Mary, da. of Sir Henry Sacheverell of Morley, Derbys. educ. Trinity Coll. Camb. 1572; Barnard’s Inn; G. Inn 1576, called 1583. m. c.1591, Gertrude, da. of Ralph Leak of Hasland, Derbys., wid. of Anthony Serlby of Harthill, ?s.p. Kntd. 1608.1
Ancient, G. Inn 1589, reader 1601; steward, Mansfield 1587; clerk, Sherwood forest 1587; j.p. Yorks. (West Riding) 1600; member of council in the north 1608-d. 2
There were two main sixteenth-century branches of the ancient Nottinghamshire family of Chaworth. At Langar and Wiverton resided the more prosperous household, whose fortunes reached their zenith under Sir George Chaworth, kinsman, follower and confidant of two earls of Rutland. The East Retford Member belonged to the junior branch at Linby. His father died early in Chaworth’s childhood in 1557, and his mother five years later. The eldest son Henry inherited the Linby estate, and John, the second son, later entered the service of Sir George, his Wiverton relative.3
Chaworth himself owed much to the patronage of this cousin, whom he followed at Trinity and at Gray’s Inn. Among other activities, Sir George acted as an electoral agent for the earls of Rutland: his influence in East Retford in particular was considerable, for he was high steward of the borough. This undoubtedly accounts for his kinsman’s return to Parliament for the borough, as well as for the local offices he held of the Earl. In return, Chaworth provided his influential relative with useful information from London, for his principal residence until 1591 continued to be Gray’s Inn.4
Sir George died in 1590: his ‘last request’ to the widow of the 4th Earl was to renew his cousin’s patent for his Mansfield stewardship, ‘for which, dying or living, I shall account it a special favour done to myself’. This plea he reiterated in his will, in which he called upon his cousin’s legal services.5
His kinsman’s death deprived Chaworth of an invaluable patron, and it is doubtful whether he did in fact retain his Nottinghamshire offices: the right to grant them during the minority of the 5th Earl was still in dispute in 1591. About that date, Chaworth married a widow with estates in South Yorkshire, and his links with his native county subsequently appear to have been broken. The Yorkshire connexion was not entirely new, for his parents had held property there in Henry VIII’s reign. Chaworth lived at Harthill until his death, steadily adding to his wife’s estate by land purchases in the Harthill, Woodall and Dalton area of the West Riding. In 1609 he bought an interest in the tithes of Pontefract and Hardwick.6
Although too recent an arrival to aspire to the shrievalty of his new county, Chaworth became an active magistrate at the Pontefract sessions. His knighthood and his membership of the council in the north may have owed something to the emergence of his nephew, Sir George Chaworth—son of his brother John—at the Jacobean court. Another useful associate was the Earl of Shrewsbury, relative of the Rutlands.7
Chaworth died intestate. His widow, who married a third time, died in 1623.8
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 127; Vis. Yorks. ed. Glover, 503; J. Hunter, South Yorks. i. 140; J. T. Godfrey, Notts. Churches, Hundred of Bingham, 303.
- 2. Reid, Council of the North, 497; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 463; Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. liv. 2; HMC Rutland, i. 245, 293.
- 3. Thoroton, Notts., ed. Throsby, i. 199-200; Godfrey, 303; Neale, Commons, 62, 203; HMC 9th Rep. 389; HMC Rutland, i. 267-73; PCC 21 Drury.
- 4. Neale, Commons, 203; HMC Rutland, i. 208, 229, 277, 293, 303.
- 5. HMC Rutland, i. 280; PCC 21 Drury.
- 6. Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. ii. 112; vii. 148; viii. 47, 80, 99, 192; liii. 40, 77, 100; HMC Rutland, i. 293.
- 7. Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. liv. 2; CP, iii. 155; CSP Dom. 1611-18, pp. 73, 228, 277; 1619-23, p. 92; HMC Rutland, i. 277; Hunter, 141.
- 8. Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xxviii. 153; xxxi. 19; Hunter, 141; PCC 176 Harvey; Vis. Notts. 123.