DIGBY, George (1550-87), of Coleshill, Warws.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 4 Nov. 1550, s. and h. of John Digby of Coleshill by Anne, da. of Sir George Throckmorton. educ. M. Temple 1568. m. Abigail, da. of Sir Anthony Heveningham of Ketteringham, Norf., 3s. inc. Sir Robert 1da. Kntd. 1586.

Offices Held

J.p. Warws. from c.1573, sheriff 1580-1.

With the Earl of Leicester in the Netherlands 1586.


At the age of nine Digby became the ward of Sir Francis Knollys. He inherited widely scattered property including the Devon manors of Clawton, Colebroke and Estradon; Fymberg and Cantloes, Suffolk; Horton, Buckinghamshire and land in Worcestershire and Yorkshire. Coleshill had been in the family since 1495 when it was granted to them by Henry VII. Towards the end of his life Digby acquired the manor of Sheldon Hall, Warwickshire: He was returned for the county at a by-election for the third session of the 1572 Parliament and retained the seat in 1584. On 15 Feb. 1585 he was named to a conference with the Lords on a procedural matter. The journals refer simply to ‘Mr. Digby’, who could be either George or Kenelm, as appointed to committees concerning the Queen’s safety (25 Jan. 1581), wool (23 Feb. 1581) and private bills (17 Dec. 1584, 24 Mar. 1585). As knights of the shire both George and Kenelm could have attended the subsidy committee appointed on 24 Feb. 1585.

Towards the end of his short life Digby volunteered for service in the Netherlands, served both Walsingham and the Earl of Leicester as a messenger, and was on friendly terms with Sir Philip Sidney, whose will he witnessed. He was knighted by Leicester and disliked by the professional soldiers.

He died in April 1587, having made his will the previous April. It was proved 11 May 1587. He divided his lands between his wife and his eldest surviving son, and was buried at Coleshill. The following year, Leicester tried to obtain provision for the widow, who afterwards married Edward Cordell.

Vis. Warws. (Harl. Soc. xii); Wards 9/138, pp. 133-4; C142/212/45; VCH Bucks. iii. 281; VCH Warws. iv. 51, 55-6, 202; Dugdale, Warws. ii. 1012-3; CJ, i. 120, 129; D’Ewes, 288, 340, 349, 356, 372; Lansd. 43, anon. jnl. f. 171; E351/541, ff. 137d, 138, 138d, 179; E351/542, f. 82d; Lansd. 19, f. 105; 57, f. 98; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 65; CSP For. 1585-6, pp. 667-9; 1586-7, p. 87; Sidney State Pprs. i. 113; APC, xiv. 80; PCC 31 Spencer.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.