WATSON, Rowland (d.1595), of White Webbs, Enfield, Mdx.

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

3rd s. of William Watson of Newport, Salop by Margaret, da. of John Cooper of Newport. educ. L. Inn 1564, called 1574. m. 1571, Jane, da. of Hugh Griffith of London, 2s. 5da.

Offices Held

Dep. clerk of the Crown in Chancery from 1574.


Watson probably owed his first return for Dunheved to the influence of the 2nd Earl of Bedford, whose daughter Anne, Countess of Warwick, later described Watson as her ‘loving friend’. After Bedford’s death in 1585 Watson presumably retained the seat through the influence of the Carew family, George Carew, secretary to Hatton the chancellor and Lord Keeper Puckering, doubtless having become known to him through his office as deputy clerk of the Crown. In practice Watson had complete control of the Crown Office and many of his duties must have been concerned with Parliament. On 9 Nov. 1586, when he was himself an MP, he had, as deputy clerk of the Crown Office, to give evidence to the Commons committee dealing with the Norfolk election. On 8 Feb. 1589 he was appointed to the returns committee. In May of that year, Watson, after lobbying Lord Burghley and Sir Thomas Bromley, obtained a reversion of Thomas Powle’s office of clerk of the Crown. Powle, however, who nominally held the office for almost half a century, outlived Watson, after whose death it transpired that many documents, including letters patent, had never been enrolled. In 1597 these were made up into a roll of supplementary letters patent. Naturally Watson amassed a fortune out of his office, and he had land, leases and properties in London, Middlesex, Leicestershire and Staffordshire. In Middlesex alone his lands were valued at £60 p.a. He had leased property in Chancery Lane and just before his death he bought the manor of Sutton and two rectories in Cheshire. He died 3 July 1595, and was buried at St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West. His will, dated 1 Sept. 1592 and proved 28 Oct. 1597, made provision for his widow and children, leaving £250 to his son Rowland, 1,000 marks to his eldest daughter, and 500 marks apiece to his other daughters. Gilt cups were left to Chief Justice Popham and to Watson’s ‘dear approved good friend’ Serjeant Thomas Owen, who, together with the widow were appointed executors.

Mdx. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxv), 64; Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 491; SP12/190/3; D’Ewes, 396, 430; PRO Index 6800, f. 194v; W. J. Jones. ‘The Eliz. Chancery’ (London Univ. PhD thesis, 1958), pp. 71, 75-6, 117-18; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 667; Lysons, Environs of London, ii. 305; Guildhall mss 10342, f. 184; PCC 47 Scott.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.