IRBY, Anthony (1547-1625), of Whaplode and Moulton, Lincs.

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. 1547, 1st s. of Thomas Irby of Whaplode by Elizabeth or Isabel, da. of Thomas Serjeant of Moulton. educ. Caius, Camb. 1559; L. Inn 1569, called 1577. m. 22 Dec. 1575, Alice (d.1602), da. of Thomas Welby of Moulton, wid. of one Tash, 5s. (at least 2 d.v.p.) 2da. (at least 1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1561.1

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Lincs. 1564; recorder and town clerk, Stamford; bencher, L. Inn 1589, Autumn reader 1590, treasurer 1599-1600; dep. recorder, Boston prob. by 1587, recorder 1613-d.; j.p. Lincs. (Holland) from c. 1591, q. from c. 1595; dep. steward, soke of Bolingbroke 1599; master in Chancery extraordinary by 1621.2


Of an old county family, Irby succeeded to his estates as a boy, adopted the law, and became recorder of Stamford. In 1588 one faction of the burgesses terminated his appointment. The Privy Council had an inquiry made in January 1589, and in March ordered Irby, ‘a gentleman of good discretion, credit and learning’, to be reinstated, which the burgesses did only after two warnings. Whether because of this dissension or because Burghley, who regularly nominated there, wanted the seats for his own relatives, Irby turned to Boston for his parliamentary seat, where he was deputy to Cecil, the ‘chief or head recorder’. Irby represented the borough in every Parliament for the rest of his long life, taking the senior seat from 1595 to 1621, when he yielded the place to Sir Thomas Cheke, a cousin of the Cecils (who, in the event preferred to sit for Harwich). He was in all probability the Mr. Eresbie who on 7 Dec. 1597 reported a bill for draining the fens, and on 10 Dec. 1601 he reported that his committee had drafted a new bill for draining marshes in Suffolk. He was one of the most highly taxed of the ‘lawyers of practice and place of gain’ in 1601, and there was a complaint that he was one of those ‘of great estate of grounded wealth’ in Lincolnshire who were not rated. The title of ‘great purchaser’ certainly fitted Irby, who acquired considerable estates in the county.3

Irby was master in Chancery extraordinary at the age of over 70. He outlived his daughter Ann and his sons Anthony (d.1610) and Thomas (d.1613). Probably all his children were dead when he himself died on 5 Oct. 1625, for he made his grandchildren the executors of his will.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 541-3; P. Thompson, Coll. Topog. Hist. Boston, 238; P. A. Irby, Irbys of Lincs. and Irebys of Cumb. i. 18, 25 seq.
  • 2. Recs. Commr. of Sewers in Holland, ed. Kirkus (Lincoln Rec. Soc. liv), pp. lxvi, lxvii; Black Bk. L. Inn, passim; APC, xvii. 66; 1619-21, p.367; Boston corp. min. bk. 1, ff. 294, 299b; P. Thompson, Hist. Antiqs. Boston, 391-8.
  • 3. APC, xvii. 66, 92, 233; xviii. 193, 368; xxii. 447; xxvii. 274, 367; xxx. 30; D’Ewes, 569, 677; HMC Hatfield, viii. 243-4; xi. 440; Lansd. 57, f. 20; 63, f. 51; 71, f. 158; 76, f. 130; 87, f. 8 seq.; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 171; C2 Eliz./15/58, W8/19, W15/23; C142/417/531.
  • 4. PCC 100 Capell; HMC Hatfield, xvi. 283; xviii. 221; C142/325/185, 417/531.