WILSTROP, Francis, of Wilstrop, nr. York.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

s. of Sir Oswald Wilstrop (d. Apr. 1574) of Wilstrop by Agnes, da. and coh. of Thomas Redman or Redmayne of Bossall, Yorks. m. Eleanor, da. and h. of Sir Henry Everingham of Birkin, Yorks, by Anne, da. of Sir William Fairfax, at least 1s.1

Offices Held


The Wilstrops, who had been living in the village from which they took their name since the thirteenth century, had become, by the close of the middle ages, one of the leading families in the Ainsty, the area immediately to the west of York. Wilstrop’s father, whose career lasted from the later years of Wolsey’s ascendancy to the northern rebellion of 1569, was probably the last member of the family to make any contribution to national events. As he outlived his son, the latter’s appearances in contemporary records are infrequent.2

One reason for the decline of the family during this period was the same as that for many other families in the north of England: inability to accept the new religion. There is no positive evidence that Sir Oswald or Francis Wilstrop were Catholics, but the former’s widow, descended from one of the most distinguished families in the north, the lords Scrope, is found as a recusant in 1575 and again two years later. It is probably significant also that Sir Oswald, the owner of great estates, was never a justice of the peace in Elizabeth’s reign, and this in a part of the country where moderate Catholics were often selected because there was no one else available. Still, he was loyal to the Queen in 1569.3

The extent of Francis Wilstrop’s involvement in his father’s career is not known. He is first mentioned in 1548 when the Privy Council authorized a payment to him of £5 by the receiver of the court of wards: further details are lacking. In 1555 he was involved in an affray in York. It seems that he took advantage of a shooting contest in the city to renew a feud with another local gentleman, Sir Thomas Metham. Wilstrop ‘with sundry his acquaintances’, assembled ‘intending to have fought with the said ... Metham’. Metham gave the city authorities a pledge of his good behaviour, ‘but the said Francis Wilstrop absented himself, notwithstanding the commandment of our officers to repair to us to be bounden for the preservation of the peace’. On another occasion Wilstrop and his father were accused by Lord Latimer of abusing him while out hunting, pulling down his park fence, and attacking him and his servants.4

Sir Oswald’s local influence was probably sufficient to secure his son’s election at Thirsk for the first Parliament of the reign. The borough was owned by the conservative (if not Catholic) 3rd Earl of Derby but his sphere of influence did not extend to Yorkshire and he took little interest in Thirsk. The date of Wilstrop’s death v.p. is not known. Land conveyances in which he appears, either as plaintiff or deforciant, come to an end in 1565. Francis’s son Charles, born about 1563, succeeded his grandfather to the Wilstrop lands.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.R.P.


  • 1. Vis. Yorks. (Harl Soc. xvi) pp. 116, 355; Yorks. Peds. 460.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xi and xii, passim; xiii(1), p. 386; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 412; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xx. 363-4; York Civic Recs. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. cx), 127, 172.
  • 3. Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xxxv. 166; J. Cartwright, Chapters in Yorks. Hist. 149.
  • 4. APC, ii. 205; Talbot mss A, f. 399.
  • 5. Yorks. Fines (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. ii), 201, 272, 286, 314;(v), 18; (vii), 40, 48; C142/169/58.