WINGFIELD, Anthony II (c.1550-c.1615), of Wantisden, Suff.

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. c.1550, 2nd or 3rd s. of Richard Wingfield of Wantisden by Mary, da. of John Hardwick of Derbys. bro. of ?Henry and Sir John. educ. Trinity Coll. Camb. 1569, BA 1574, fellow 1576, MA 1577; G. Inn 1572. Prob. unm.

Offices Held

Reader in Greek to Queen Elizabeth; public orator, Camb. 16 Mar. 1581-25 Sept. 1589; proctor, Camb. 1582.


It is difficult to distinguish Wingfield’s career from those of numerous namesakes. He appears not to have been mentioned by name in the journals of the 1593 Parliament, but as one of the burgesses for Ripon he might have served on committees concerned with cloth (15, 23 Mar. and 3 Apr.), weirs (28 Mar.) and maimed soldiers and mariners (2 Apr.). He owed his one appearance in the Commons to his aunt, the well-known Bess of Hardwick, and a letter survives dated 19 Jan. 1593 from the archbishop of York to the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury promising that the Earl’s cousin, Anthony Wingfield, should be ‘returned a burgess for one of the towns belonging to the see’. The same influence can be seen in Wingfield’s appointment, near the end of Elizabeth’s reign, as tutor to the sons of William Cavendish, Bess of Hardwick’s stepson.

It may have been this Anthony Wingfield who, in 1595, leased certain prebends of Lincoln cathedral. On 23 May 1599, the Member wrote to Cecil, congratulating him on his appointment as master of the court of wards, though he seems to have had no illusions about Cecil, whom his most famous epigram, ‘the peer content’, written in 1605, is thought to satirize. About 1608 the philosopher Thomas Hobbes succeeded Wingfield as tutor to the Cavendish children, and after this Wingfield’s life is obscure. The date of his death is uncertain, and no will has been found.

DNB; Visct. Powerscourt, Wingfield Muns.; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 175-6; D’Ewes, 507, 512, 513, 514; APC, xi. 212; Coll. of Arms, Talbot mss, transcribed by G. Batho; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 5; HMC Hatfield, ix. 179.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.J.C.