MOORE, John II, of Dover, Kent.

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

2nd s. and h. of William Moore of Haddon, Oxon. by Margaret, da. and h. of one Henham, of Cambs. m. Margery, da. and h. of William Hayward of Harty, Isle of Sheppey, 3da.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Dover Jan. 1584, common councilman July 1584, jurat at least in the years 1584-91, 1594-5,2 mayor 1595-6.3


The Moores of Haddon were a recusant family. Moore himself moved to Kent where his advance in Dover civic affairs was rapid. In January 1584 he was ‘admitted and sworn a freeman of Dover by the purchase of a house of the yearly rent of 50s.’, and by the following November he had been returned to Parliament for the port. Both on this occasion and in the 1586 Parliament his fellow-Member for Dover was the lord warden’s nominee, Richard Barrey. Shortly after his first Parliament Moore presented an account of his expenses for travelling and subsistence to the Dover common assembly; the amount was not entered in the council minutes. Both Members were paid 2s.6d. a day in 1586. In the new year sittings of the 1584-5 Parliament, on 15 Feb., Moore presented a petition ‘touching the abuses in the ministry’ on behalf of the inhabitants of Folkestone. This was one of a group of puritan petitions offered to Parliament on the same day, and it suggests that he may have sympathized with their cause. As burgess for Dover he may have attended a committee concerning the import of fish on 6 Mar. 1587.4

Moore was active in local politics in Dover for a period of just over ten years. Between 1591 and 1594, however, his name disappears from the council records, and in other years he is mentioned as being absent from the ceremonies in which local officials were elected and sworn. Perhaps his occupation, which has not been traced, entailed frequent absences from the town. In 1586 and 1587 he was one of those who represented Dover at the brodhull meetings of the Cinque Ports, and in the latter year helped to organize the local watch in case of an impending invasion. One of the features of Dover local history in the sixteenth century was its fierce civic discord, and Moore did not remain aloof from the struggles. In August 1582, for example, he was fined £10 and imprisoned for a short time for ‘breaking the Queen’s Majesty’s peace against John Harries, deputy bailiff of Dover, in the presence of the mayor, and shedding of blood’. On another occasion he was charged with contempt for not answering a summons to appear before the town council.5

In addition to his house in Dover Moore owned land in Sheppey, possibly acquired through his wife, worth (in 1585) £18 13s.4d. a year. It is quite likely that he was the ‘John Moore’ who, in 1592, was leasing some of the land formerly belonging to Dover priory. That he was a man of some substance is suggested by a local ‘cess’ or levy, taken in 1587: here his assessment was twice that of most of the other jurats.6

At the end of his mayoralty, in 1596, Moore told the assembly that he would decline re-election as a jurat because he was ‘presently to depart the town and to sojourn in Dover castle’. The castle records having been destroyed, it is not known what this implies. No later references to him have been found, unless he was ‘my cousin John More dwelling with me in my house at Haddon’ mentioned in the 1608 will of William Moore of Haddon. It is possible that it was the lord warden’s service that brought him from Haddon to Dover in the first place, but he was clearly not nominated by Lord Cobham for Parliament.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.R.P.


  • 1. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 138.
  • 2. Egerton 2095, ff. 289, 299, 303, 411.
  • 3. Several printed lists of mayors of Dover, e.g. J. B. Jones, Dover Annals, 301, state that George Byng was mayor in 1595-6, but the common council minutes show that Moore held the office in that year.
  • 4. HMC Hatfield, iv. 270; Egerton 2095, ff. 306-7, 313, 337; D’Ewes, 349, 412.
  • 5. Cinque Ports black bk. f. 53; Egerton 2095, ff. 115, 255, 348.
  • 6. Add. 38823, f. 41; C. Haines, Dover Priory, 134.
  • 7. Egerton 2095, f. 418; PCC 13 Dorset.