VAUGHAN, John I (d.1577), of London, Surr. and Sutton-upon-Derwent, Yorks.

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



Mar. 1553
Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

Yr. s. of Thomas Vaughan of Porthaml, Brec. by Elizabeth, da. of Henry Miles alias Parry of Newcourt in Bacton, Herefs. m. Anne, da. and h. of Sir Christopher Pickering of Killington, Westmld. and Escrick, E. Riding, Yorks., wid. of Sir Francis Weston of Sutton in Woking, Surr. and of Sir Henry Knyvet of East Horsley, Surr., 2s. 2da.4

Offices Held

Page of the chamber by 1533, sewer by 1538; steward, Pembridge, Herefs. 1533; member, council in the north and j.p. many northern counties after Dec. 1558; custos rot. Yorks. (E. Riding) 1566; j.p. Surr. from 1559, commr. musters from c.1576; steward, Penrith, Cumb. 1559; sheriff, Yorks. 1559-60; steward, Galtres forest, Yorks. 1564; keeper, Cawood park, Yorks. 1568.5


John Vaughan came of a junior branch of the Vaughan family of Porthaml, Breconshire and was a nephew of Blanche Parry, Queen Elizabeth’s gentlewoman, and a distant kinsman of Sir Roger Vaughan, Sir Thomas Parry and Sir William Cecil. He served many years in the royal household, and married about 1549 the heiress to great estates in Yorkshire, Middlesex, Cumberland and Westmorland, who was the widow of two former gentlemen of the privy chamber. During the minority of her eldest son, Sir Henry Weston, she and Vaughan lived at Weston’s house at Sutton, Surrey. Vaughan assumed the position due to the owner of one of the largest estates there and was elected to Parliament for the county at a by-election. In his next three Parliaments he sat for Weston’s borough of Petersfield, and in 1555 was returned for Bletchingley, which was controlled by Sir Thomas Cawarden, formerly his fellow-Member for Surrey, and, like Vaughan, one of Princess Elizabeth’s circle. In this last Parliament he opposed a major government bill and did not reappear in the House of Commons under Mary.

After Elizabeth’s accession, Vaughan bought the manor of Sutton-upon-Derwent and settled in Yorkshire. He presumably came in for Hedon through his local connexions, and no doubt the government was pleased to have a sound protestant returned for a northern borough. Sir Henry Gates, another recent arrival in Yorkshire with protestant views, was appointed to the council in the north at the same time as Vaughan. The two new men frequently engaged in disputes with the older nobility, and by 1565 were allied against Sir John Constable, a man of ancient family and Catholic sympathies. The feud came to a head in 1567 when the president, Archbishop Young of York, admitted Constable to the council, whereupon Vaughan accused the archbishop before the Privy Council of maintaining Constable’s party. On 6 Dec. the Privy Council dismissed Constable.6

On 11 July 1568, Gates, Vaughan and Sir Thomas Gargrave warned Cecil of the danger of a rising in favour of Mary Queen of Scots. Gates was ill when the northern rebellion broke out in November 1569 and was therefore unable to take up his appointment as sheriff. When Vaughan heard that the Earl of Sussex planned to appoint him instead, he wrote hastily to Cecil asking to be excused, saying that it would be his undoing, ‘as I have written to my aunt [Blanche Parry] more at large’. This appeal to his influential relatives may have led to his plea being successful: at any rate he remained absent from the council, ‘sick’, until the danger had passed. He was, none the less, chosen as the person to hand over the rebel Earl of Northumberland to the Queen, much to the annoyance of Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon, who wrote to Cecil on 7 Apr. 1570:

Her Majesty shall find John Vaughan but an ox, neither able to serve her abroad nor at home, in war nor in peace, but only in words, envying every man that is in authority above himself.

On 2 Sept. 1570 Gargrave suggested to Burghley that Vaughan, Gates and Sir George Bowes should be made resident councillors, because they were men of weight and ‘knew the law’. In 1574 all three were granted freedom from continual attendance unless their presence was required by the president.

Vaughan held little if any land in Northumberland, though his wife’s family may have had estates there. He possibly gained a Northumberland county seat in 1563 through the influence of Lord Grey of Wilton, warden of the east march, and a strong protestant. At first sight Vaughan seems an unlikely Member for Dartmouth, in a district far distant from his sphere of activity, but there is no obvious namesake who could have represented the borough, and the 2nd Earl of Bedford, sometimes parliamentary patron there, was a friend of Vaughan’s kinsman Lord Burghley. At Grantham, where Vaughan obtained a seat in 1572, Burghley’s nominees were returned to several Elizabethan Parliaments. It is likely that Vaughan served on committees concerned with treason (12 Apr. 1571), tillage (21 May 1571), Mary Stuart (12 May 1572) and justices of the forest (8 May 1576). He died on 25 June 1577. In accordance with a settlement made some years before, his property then passed to his eldest son, Francis. A daughter, Frances, married Thomas, 5th Lord Burgh.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Yorks, Peds. (Harl. Soc. xcvi), 405-6; T. Jones, Hist. Brec. iv. 43, 271; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 251; Genealogy Vaughan of Tretower, ed. C. Vaughan; Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 120-1; Harl. 2141, f. 200; Vis. Heress. ed. Weaver, 4.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, vi. p. 552; xiv(2), p. 307; xvi. p. 185; xvii. p. 478; xx(2), pp. 307, 515; CPR, 1558-60, p. 36; 1560-3, pp. 170-1, 187, 207; 1563-6, p. 86; Reid, Council of the North, 493; Lansd. 10, f. 84; SP13/Case H no. 10; SP12/93.
  • 6. Lansd. 10, f. 4; 56, f. 168; CPR, 1553-4, p. 229; 1558-60, p. 207; 1560-3, p. 581; Guildford Mus., Loseley 1331/2; Reid, 187, 196; Parl. Rep. Yorks. ed. Gooder, ii. 16, 20-1, 23; HMC Bath, ii. 19.
  • 7. CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 515 et passim; CJ, i. 84, 95, 112; D’Ewes, 165, 187, 255; C142/177/58.