DARLEY, Henry (1595/6-1671), of Scryingham, Yorks. and Gray's Inn Lane, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



15 Jan. 1641

Family and Education

b. 1595/6, 1st s. of Sir Richard Darley of Buttercrambe, Yorks. and Elizabeth, da. of Edward Gates† of Seamer, Yorks.; bro. of Richard†.1 educ. Trin., Camb. 1611; G. Inn 1614.2 m. (1) lic. 26 Oct. 1619, Margery (d.1624), da. and coh. of Ralph Hungate of Sand Hutton, Yorks. 1da.;3 (2) settlement 22 Nov. 1631, Elizabeth (d. bef. Aug. 1642), da. and h. of William Watts of the I. Temple, London, 1s.;4 suc. fa. 1654.5 admon. 12 Aug. 1671.6

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Yorks. (N. Riding) 1627, river Derwent, Yorks. 1629, E. Riding 1654-9;7 capt., militia ft. N. Riding c.1635;8 assessment, E. Riding 1642-5, N. Riding 1643-50, 1660, Yorks. 1650-53, sequestration, N. and E. Ridings 1643, levying of money 1643, Northern Assoc. N. Riding 1645-6;9 j.p. Northumb. 1645-9, N. Riding 1650-60;10 commr. militia, Yorks. 1648, 1659-60, drainage, Gt. Fens 1649, oyer and terminer, Northern circ. 1654-60, charitable uses, N. Riding 1658.11

Member, Massachusetts Bay Co. 1630, Providence Is. Co. 1632-40, Connecticut River Co. 1632; dep. Providence Is. Co. 1636-8.12

Commr. treaty with Scotland 1643, 1646, 1647;13 member, delegation to Scottish Parl. 1643-4, to Scottish army, 1645;14 commr. advancement of money 1645-50, compounding 1647-50, indemnity, 1647-?52;15 member, ?Navy cttee. 1650-3, plundered ministers cttee. 1650-3;16 cllr. of state Feb.-Nov. 1651;17 member, army cttee. 1652-3;18 commr. Admtly. 1660.19


The Darleys purchased Buttercrambe in 1557, but were only minor landowners before the Civil War. However, the MP’s father, Sir Richard, married into a prominent local family, the Gateses of Seamer. Edward Gates, Sir Richard’s father-in-law, represented Scarborough in three Elizabethan parliaments, but fell out with the corporation over his attempts to set up a rival market at neighbouring Seamer. Darley himself was nominated at Scarborough by his father in 1625, but this approach was ignored amid a confusing contest between a multitude of candidates. Ahead of the next election, in 1626, Darley wrote to the corporation personally, undertaking to serve without charge if returned, and was supported by his father, his cousin (Sir) William Sheffield*, and a nephew of the 1625 MP William Thompson; he was nevertheless unsuccessful. He stood once more at Scarborough with his uncle Thomas Alured* in 1628, but their links to the Gates family cannot have assisted their cause, and both men had to seek election elsewhere.20

Darley was eventually returned to Parliament in 1628, being elected at Aldborough, Yorkshire, where his patron may have been Sheffield, whose father had represented the borough in 1604. He left no recorded trace on either the 1628 or 1629 sessions, but it was presumably at Westminster that he came into contact with the godly circle of Robert Greville*, 2nd Lord Brooke, whose father had been one of Alured’s early patrons. During the 1630s he became closely associated with colonial ventures sponsored by Brooke, particularly the Providence Island Company. Darley was apparently already an investor in the Massachusetts Bay Company by 1630, when the puritan minister Thomas Shephard, a refugee from Laudian reforms in the diocese of London, arrived at Buttercrambe in 1630; Shephard later claimed to have turned the family from their profane ways, but as he viewed many of the New England colonists with similar disdain upon his arrival there, his opinion should perhaps be discounted. Darley may have contemplated emigration to the Saybrook colony in 1635: he certainly encouraged his godly neighbours Sir Matthew Boynton, 1st bt.* and Sir William Constable, 1st bt.* to do so; and in 1638 he undertook to join the colonists at Providence Island.21 However, the outbreak of the Bishops’ Wars kept him in England, where he played a key role, both as courier between Charles’s English opponents and the Scottish Covenanters, and as one of those who ensured that the Yorkshire militia was immobilized during the Scots invasion in the summer of 1640. In September, Darley was imprisoned in York castle by the earl of Strafford (Sir Thomas Wentworth*) on suspicion of treason, but he was released two months later, after the earl was sent to the Tower by the Long Parliament. He was returned to the Commons for the newly enfranchised constituency of Northallerton in January 1641.22

A parliamentarian during the Civil War, Darley served on the republican Council of State. Excluded from the second Protectorate Parliament, he was regarded as equally ‘ill-principled’ by the Restoration regime, being accused of participation in the Kaber Rigg plot of 1663, and imprisoned during the Second Dutch War. He died intestate, administration of his estate being granted to an unmarried daughter on 12 Aug. 1671.23 No other member of his family sat in the Commons.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Karen Bishop / Simon Healy


  • 1. Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 87.
  • 2. Al Cant; GI Admiss.
  • 3. C.B. Norcliffe, ‘Paver’s Mar. Lics.’ Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xiv. 497; Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. J.W. Clay, ii. 48.
  • 4. C54/3290/6.
  • 5. CCC, 3215.
  • 6. Borthwick, York admins. 12 Aug. 1671.
  • 7. C181/3, f. 223v; 181/4, f. 1; 181/6, pp. 46, 300, 403.
  • 8. Add. 28082, f. 80v.
  • 9. SR, v. 151; A. and O. i. 91, 112, 147, 706; ii. 662, 1367.
  • 10. C231/6, p. 8; Add. 29674, f. 148v.
  • 11. A. and O. i. 1245; ii. 139, 1324, 1446; C181/6, pp. 18, 376; C93/25/1.
  • 12. K.O. Kupperman, Providence Island, 1630-41, pp. 325, 357.
  • 13. LJ, vi. 55b; viii. 411a; CJ, iv. 606a.
  • 14. A. and O. i. 197-8; CJ, iv. 105b.
  • 15. CJ, iv. 314a; v. 78a, 174a; LJ, vii. 670b; A. and O. i. 914.
  • 16. CJ, vi. 379b, 437a.
  • 17. A. and O. ii. 500.
  • 18. CJ, vii. 230b.
  • 19. Ibid. 825b; A. and O. ii. 1407.
  • 20. VCH Yorks. N. Riding, ii. 93; Scarborough Recs. ed. M.Y. Ashcroft (N. Yorks. RO pubs. xliv), 145-6, 159, 188, 198 (redated to 17 Jan. 1625/6); SCARBOROUGH.
  • 21. God’s Plot ed. M. McGiffert, 51-3; Kupperman, 2, 300-3, 309-10, 325-8; J.T. Cliffe, Yorks. Gentry, 272-3; R.A. Marchant, Puritans and Church Courts in Dioc. of York, 123-4.
  • 22. HMC 4th Rep. 30; CJ, iv. 100b; Cliffe, 322-3; D.A. Scott, ‘"Hannibal at our Gates": Loyalists and Fifth Columnists during the Bishops’ Wars - the case of Yorks.’, HR, lxx. 269-93; J.S.A. Adamson, Noble Revolt, 60-1, 555.
  • 23. M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 153; CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 421; 1664-5, pp. 534, 552; Borthwick, York admins. 12 Aug. 1671.