WOODHOUSE, Philip (d.1623), of Kimberley, Norf.

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

1st s. of Roger Woodhouse of Kimberley by Mary, da. of John Corbet of Sprowston. educ. Trinity Coll. Camb.1575; L. Inn 1580. m. 25 July 1580, Grissell, da. of William Yelverton of Rougham, wid. of Thomas Lestrange of Hunstanton, 6s. 2da. suc. fa. 1588. Kntd. 1596; cr. Bt. 1611.

Offices Held

J.p. Norf. from c.1591, sheriff 1594-5; commr. musters 1598, custos rot. 1617.


The Woodhouse family of Kimberley was one of the wealthiest in Norfolk, the seventeenth-century family poet writing that he had above £2,000 p.a. in land. Philip Woodhouse served on a number of commissions without, however, ever becoming one of the leading gentlemen of the shire. He went on the Cadiz expedition in 1596, where he was knighted by the Earl of Essex, thenceforth playing little part in national affairs, though one of his sons was a companion and friend of Prince Henry during the early years of the reign of James I. Woodhouse was protestant but his wife, like many of her family and that of her first husband, was a Catholic. The Jesuit, John Gerard, stated that Woodhouse himself was converted following his wife’s severe illness, but conformed again.

His return to Parliament for Castle Rising was no doubt due to his marriage to the widow of Thomas Lestrange and consequent control of her dower lands in north-west Norfolk. There is no trace of him in the records of the House. The fact that he did not sit again may have been because of the county faction fights, in which he supported the unpopular Sir Arthur Heveningham, and this may have cost him the friendship of a number of Norfolk families. In December 1589 he was in trouble for assisting William Downing to eject Thomas Eden from Marsham parsonage. Woodhouse died 30 Oct. 1623, letters of administration being granted to his widow 2 Oct. 1624.

Vis. Norf. (Norf. and Norwich Arch. Soc. 1878), i. 105; G. A. Carthew, Hundred of Launditch, i. 144; C142/408/114; PRO Index 4211; Blomefield, Norf. ii. 140, 554; ix. 60-2; Autobiog. John Gerard, 19-21; A. H. Smith thesis, 259, 262, 274, 305-6; J. H. Morrison, Letters of Administration 1620-30.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe