WATERHOUSE, David (1564-aft. 1638), of Ognel Hall, Birstal, Yorks. and the Inner Temple, London.

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. 1564, 7th s. of John Waterhouse of Shibden, Halifax by Jane or Joan, da. of Thomas Bosvile of Conisborough, Yorks; bro. of Robert. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1581; I. Temple 1582, called 1593, bencher 1605, serjeant-at-law by 1607. m. Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Thomas Craine, 2s. 1da.

Offices Held

Clerk of the Crown, Queen’s bench 1596; coroner and attorney, Queen’s bench 1597; bencher I. Temple 1605; serjeant-at-law by 1607.1


Waterhouse was a younger son of the holder of the manor and lordship of Halifax. He was returned for Aldborough before being called to the bar. His brother Robert had represented the borough in 1584. Both brothers owed their election to their marriage connexion with the Gargrave family. Probably David practised as a lawyer at York, as Robert certainly did. In 1598, upon the death of his brother Robert, he became the guardian of his nephew Edward, and thus temporarily lord of Halifax, where he was holding courts leet in September 1598. In the period of less than four years during which he administered his nephew’s lands, he apparently bought property on Edward’s behalf at inflated prices, and borrowed money at high interest, which had to be repaid by the heir when he came of age. It appears also that, either from carelessness or fraud, he drew unsatisfactory conveyances so that Edward was threatened with litigation. In 1601 Waterhouse was returned to Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed, perhaps because his legal services had at some time been employed by the town. His brother Isaac had been a servant of Lord Willoughby, governor of Berwick, but Willoughby died before the election, and no connexion has been discovered between Waterhouse and his successor.2

During this Parliament he spoke twice. On 14 Nov. a point of privilege arose when several Members were subpoenaed to appear in Chancery and Queen’s bench to give evidence in suits pending there. There was some discussion as to whether they were bound to obey this summons, and Waterhouse, speaking as a member of the office which had issued it, urged that it should be obeyed on the practical grounds that ‘a cause for want of a witness might be lost’. On 16 Nov. he spoke again, this time during the debate on clerical pluralism and non-residence. A previous speaker had claimed that the clergy were like other office holders, who were often non-resident sinecurists. To this Waterhouse retorted:

By the common law, an officer shall forfeit his office for non-attendance: so for a benefice the incumbent shall also forfeit. But after, the statute came, which made this toleration upon eighty days absence. So that now, if we set this statute at liberty again, this shall be no innovation in us, but a renovation of the common law. I will end, only with this caution to the House, that commonly the most ignorant divines of this land, are double-beneficed.3

After the dissolution of this Parliament Waterhouse returned to his legal duties, and his only subsequent association with Parliament was in 1624, when the House of Lords committed him to the Fleet and fined him £500 for writing a scandalous petition. In November 1607, he again acted for a short time as lord of Halifax, but in 1609 financial difficulties forced the family to abandon the lordship to Sir Arthur Ingram. In 1607 he was the author of an abortive proposal for the more rigorous exaction of first fruits and tenths. During 1608 he was occupied in diverting to his own use part of the capital of Crowther’s charity in Halifax, of which he was one of the trustees, and in 1614 he and his nephew were both outlawed for debt. By 1623 he was reduced to appealing to the King for admission to the Charterhouse as a decayed gentleman, and was granted the next vacancy. But 12 years later he was in the Fleet where his evidence before a commission appointed to examine abuses in the conduct of the prison was ignored as he was ‘a man notoriously infamous and of no credit’. In 1638 he brought a Chancery suit against Sir Arthur Ingram. The date of his death is unknown.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Vis. Yorks. 1612, ed. Foster, 353; Halifax Antiq. Soc. Pprs. 1915, pp. 149-50; 1917, p. 60; Hunter, South Yorks. i. 117; Cal. I. T. Recs. i. 387, 421; CSP Dom. 1595-7, pp. 257, 461.
  • 2. Halifax Antiq. Soc. Pprs. 1917, pp. 54-7; North Country Wills (Surtees Soc. cxxi), 191-2; HMC Hatfield, x. 49, 162.
  • 3. Townshend, Hist. Colls. 213, 219.
  • 4. Hunter, South Yorks. i. 117; Halifax Antiq. Soc. Pprs. 1917, pp. 60, 62, 64-5, 75-6, 77, 84, 85, 88; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 387; 1611-18, p. 248; 1623-5, pp. 129, 155; 1635, pp. 75-6, 81; 1635-6, pp. 49-50.