DIGBY, Kenelm (d.1590), of Stoke Dry, Rutland.

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



Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553

Family and Education

1st. s. of Sir Everard Digby of Stoke Dry by Margery, da. of Sir John Heydon of Baconsthorpe, Norf. educ. ?Brasenose, Oxf.; M. Temple bef. 1549 m. Anne, da. of Sir Anthony Cope of Hanwell, Oxon., 3s. 6da. suc. fa. 1540.

Offices Held

Marshal, M. Temple Nov. 1549, 1556-8; steward of royal manors of Preston and Uppingham 1544; sheriff, Rutland 1541-2, 1549-50, 1553-4, 1561-2, 1567-8, 1575-6, 1585-6, j.p. from 1543, q. by 1559, custos rot. from 1559.


Though not extensive landowners, the Digbys had been one of the leading families in Rutland since the early fifteenth century. Digby himself was friendly with Richard Cecil, father of Sir William, and with him represented Stamford in the Parliament of 1539. Because he was sheriff he did not sit in 1542, but thereafter he represented Rutland in every Parliament for 40 years, except in 1554, when he was again sheriff, and 1563, a remarkable record considering that he was classified as ‘indifferent’ in religion in 1564, and was afterwards ‘notably touched’ by Catholicism and ‘not sound in religion’. There need be no doubt that Kenelm Digby was the Mr. Digby appointed to a committee concerning justices of the forest on 8 Mar. 1576, as George Digby was not in the House until 1581, but the other references to ‘Mr. Digby’ could be to either, and are mentioned in George Digby’s biography. Both Kenelm and George could have attended the subsidy committee appointed on 24 Feb. 1585 as they were both knights of the shire.

Digby’s will, made 26 Feb. 1589, is nor that of a rich man. His little property, money and books were divided between his two surviving sons. He left £3 to Brasenose College, Oxford. The household goods were shared between his daughters and his wife: she and the son John were appointed executors. Digby died 21 Apr. 1590, and was buried at Stoke Dry. His grandson was the Sir Everard Digby who was in the gunpowder plot.

VCH Rutland, ii. 223, 227; Vis. Rutland (Harl. Soc. iii), 20; LP Hen. VIII, xii(1), p. 606; xvi. 276; xviii(1), p. 122; xx(1), pp. 311-13, 320; xxi(1), p. 46; CPR, 1553-4, p. 29; HMC Hatfield, i. 116; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 37; Lansd. 54, f. 178; Lansd. 43, anon. jnl. f. 171; CJ, i. 112; D’Ewes, 255; PCC 73 Drury.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe