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Family and Education
The identity of this Member has not been established. One person of this name (the spelling of the surname varies) was a follower of the Earl of Essex: he probably died in Ireland and there is nothing to connect him with Mitchell. The borough’s junior Member in 1601, George Chudleigh, evidently owed his return to local influence, and it would therefore be reasonable to surmise that the senior seat was filled by a nominee of Robert Cecil, especially as the names were entered on the return by different hands. If so, the MP may have been the William Cholmley described by John Lee in January 1596 as one of Burghley’s retinue and late her Majesty’s ward. Lee, who had taken over the wardship, commenced a suit against Cholmley upon his coming of age in 1594, because of his refusal to compound for his marriage to a grand-daughter of John Conyers. An account in Burghley’s papers—if it concerns the same William Cholmley—reveals that Lee’s partner was a Thomas Bushell and that the two guardians had quarrelled. It also appears that Cholmley had only become a ward by reason of the death of his eldest brother Thomas. The dates make it possible that this was the William Cholmley who went to St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge in 1585, was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1589, and called to the bar in 1602. In 1606, when he was living at Highgate, he became bailiff of St. Albans for life, in conjunction with Thomas Conyers, his relative by marriage.
A namesake was in the Earl of Leicester’s train in the Netherlands in 1586, and the same (or another) was clerk of the munitions at Flushing in 1592.
J. Hurstfield, Queen's Wards, 82-3; Clay, Dugdale's Vis. Yorks. ii. 250; HMC Hatsfield, vi 10; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 308; H. Chauncy, Herts. 98; Lansd. 72, f. 92 seq.; R. C. Strong and J. A. Van Dorsten, Leicester's Triumph, 133.