DELABERE (DE LA BERE), Richard (c.1559-1636), of Tyberton, Herefs. and Lincoln's Inn, London; later of Southam, Glos.

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



1604 - 13 Apr. 1604

Family and Education

b. c.1559,1 2nd s. of Kennard Delabere (d.1607) of Kinnersley and Tyberton, Herefs. and Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Huddleston of Millom, Cumb.; bro. of John†.2 educ. St. Mary Hall, Oxf. 1575, aged 16; Lyon’s Inn; L. Inn 1580, called 1589.3 m. 12 May 1608, Margaret, da. and h. of John Newman of Bellington, Worcs., s.p.4 suc. bro. 1607.5 d. 25 Feb. 1636.6

Offices Held

Att.-gen. Brec., Card., Carm., Pemb., Rad. 1595-1613;7 bencher, L. Inn 1603, reader 1606, 1607, kpr. Black Bk. 1611-12.8

Commr. sewers, Glos. 1607, 1615, Glos. and Worcs. 1609;9 j.p. Glos. 1618-25.10


The Delaberes (de la Bere) claimed descent from a knight who had accompanied William the Conqueror. The main branch of the family settled in Herefordshire and became second-tier squires there; Richard himself received a grant of woodland in the county around 1585.11 Both the Member and his elder brother, John, pursued legal careers, with Richard acquiring the position of attorney-general on the great sessions circuit in south-west Wales by the mid-1590s, a result, perhaps, of the family’s long-standing association with Wales and the Council in the Marches. In a Star Chamber case of 1597 against William Huddleston†, it was asserted that the Delaberes had originated in Wales and were ‘akin to some of the Council [in the Marches] who had the greatest authority and did the most rule in Her Majesty’s courts’.12

It was through his position as attorney-general, and presumably also because of his contacts at Ludlow, that Delabere had been returned at the controversial election for Cardigan Boroughs in 1601. It is highly likely that on this occasion he was the candidate sponsored by the leading figure amongst the county gentry, Sir Richard Price*. When the 1604 election came around, Price was sheriff and was determined to return Delabere, even though the county court, which was subject to rotation, was due to be held at Cardigan rather than Aberystwyth. After sending his precept to Cardigan, which elected William Bradshaw, Price, ‘minding to make choice of a friend of his’, used sharp practice to engineer a second election at Aberystwyth with hand-picked voters, who returned Delabere. Price returned both indentures to Chancery, but following a Commons’ investigation Bradshaw was seated and an order was made for Price’s arrest.13 This did not mark the end of Delabere’s involvement in the case, however, as Bradshaw later sued the contributory boroughs in the Exchequer for withholding his wages. Unsuccessful, Bradshaw appealed against the verdict in 1611, on which occasion counsel for his opponents was ‘Mr. Delabere’.14

His electoral disappointment notwithstanding, Delabere’s professional fortunes flourished in the first decade of James’s reign: he was appointed reader at Lincoln’s Inn in 1606-7, and in 1611 was appointed to help report ways of improving government at the Inn, his particular brief being the reformation of ‘religion and manners’.15 He inherited his family’s estates after his brother’s death in 1607, and over the next two years he purchased the 800-acre manor of Southam in Gloucestershire from the 1st earl of Salisbury (Robert Cecil†) for £3,200.16 Delabere’s father and brother had formerly held a lease of this Crown property, but the freehold had been granted to Salisbury in 1606; the purchase was presumably intended to provide a jointure estate for the Worcestershire heiress Delabere married at this time.17 Southam became Delabere’s principal residence from this time: he began to appear on local commissions shortly after, and became a Gloucestershire j.p. by 1625. He seems to have withdrawn himself from Lincoln’s Inn, his last notice in the records being a request of 1616 to be discharged from a double reading, for which he was fined £10.18 He also removed himself from his Welsh practice, giving up his position as attorney-general in south-west Wales in November 1613.19 He was last heard of compounding for knighthood in the early 1630s at £25.20

Delabere died at Southam on 25 Feb. 1636. He is not known to have left any will, and had no children, as a result of which his estates went to his first cousin, Kenard Delabere of Tyberton.21 Delabere’s widow erected an imposing monument to her husband in the local church of Bishop’s Cleeve in 1639, which purportedly cost £400.22 She later married Sir Neville Poole*. In 1684 the Delabere heiress married into the Bagehots of Prestbury, and by the end of the eighteenth century they assumed the composite surname of Bagehot-Delabere. No other member of the family subsequently sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Lloyd Bowen


  • 1. Age calculated from date of admiss. to university.
  • 2. Vis. Glos. 1623 (Harl. Soc. xxi), 49; Vis. Herefs. 1569 ed. F.W. Weaver, 25.
  • 3. Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.; LI Black Bks. 11.
  • 4. Worcs. RO, microfilm 15/1; Glos. RO, D1637/F9.
  • 5. PROB 11/110, ff. 270v-1.
  • 6. C142/781/100.
  • 7. STAC 5/W38/27, f. 3; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 209.
  • 8. LI Black Bks. 79, 104, 141.
  • 9. C181/2, ff. 23v, 104v, 240v.
  • 10. C181/2, f. 324v; 181/3, ff. 186, 356v.
  • 11. E147/1/45.
  • 12. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. l. 295, n. 52.
  • 13. CJ, i. 170a-b.
  • 14. E112/151/29; 124/13/8.
  • 15. LI Black Bks. 100, 104, 142.
  • 16. PROB 11/110, ff. 270v-1; Cal. of Wills Proved in Consist. Ct. of Gloucester, 1541-1650 (Brit. Rec. Soc. xii), 119; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. l. 303-4.
  • 17. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxviii. 55-6; l. 297-304.
  • 18. LI Black Bks. 186.
  • 19. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 209.
  • 20. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxviii. 239.
  • 21. C142/781/100.
  • 22. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxviii. 235-7; S. Rudder, A New Hist. of Glos. (1779), pp. 372-3.