LANGSTON, Anthony (c.1559-1633), of South Littleton, Worcs.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
b. c.1559,1 3rd s. of Henry Langston (d.1591) of Sedgeberrow, Worcs. and Anne da. of Thomas Darston of Hinton, Glos.2 m. by 1597,3 Judith, da. of Richard Bayly of Ludlow, Salop, 7s. 3da. (2 d.v.p.). bur. 21 Nov. 1633.4 sig. Ant[hony] Langston.
Under-sheriff, Worcs. 1589-90, 1601-3, 1607-8, ?1610-11;5 steward, manors of Willersey, Glos. 1597-c.1610,6 South Littleton, Middle Littleton, North Littleton, Worcs. c.1598-at least 1609,7 King’s Norton, Worcs. (jt.) 1604,8 ?to Sir John Franklin* 1623;9 ?Wickhamford Worcs. to 1631;10 commr. i.p.m., Worcs. 1598, 1601;11 escheator, Worcs. 1600, 1616, ?1623-4,12 Glos. 1602;13 commr. to take answer from defendant 1602,14 inquiry, estate of Sir Philip Kighley*, Worcs. 1605-6;15 capital burgess, Evesham, Worcs. 1610,16 churchwarden, South Littleton, Worcs. 1611-12;17 commr. to take answer to bill of Richard Cresheld* 1611,18 to take answer to bill of George Alter and John Williams 1612,19 to set out the glebe land, Mickleton Glos. 1618, to divide the glebe from the demesne 1619,20 subsidy, Evesham 1621-2, 1624-5, 1628;21 j.p. Worcs. 1625-6;22 commr. Forced Loan, Evesham, Worcs. 1627.23
?Att., Evesham bor. ct., by 1606;24 dep. recorder, Evesham 1616-?19;25 town clerk, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warws. 1617-24;26 ancient, Clement’s Inn, London by 1618-at least 1628, principal 1623-6;27 att., c.p. by 1629.28
Described by his brother William as ‘a peaceable, a good natured and temperate man’,29 Langston should not be confused with his son and namesake, who, like him, was an attorney of Common Pleas and served as under-sheriff of Worcestershire in 1621-2 and Oxfordshire in 1624-5.30 Langston’s father and grandfather leased from the dean and chapter of Worcester the manor of Sedgeberrow, four miles south of Evesham. As a younger son Langston inherited only £50 from his father, but on the death of his mother in 1611 Langston acquired part of Sedgeberrow, as the previous year he and his brother Henry had bought out the interest of their elder brother’s widow.31 By then Langston was living in South Littleton, three miles north-east of Evesham.32
Langston entered the lower branch of the legal profession. A successful country attorney, his practice was still remembered in the 1680s.33 He was active in the Evesham borough court by 1606,34 and regularly kept terms in London,35 where he rose to high office in Clement’s Inn. He was also steward of several manors around Evesham, including Willersley, owned by Sir Philip Kighley*, Member for Evesham in 1604. The Langstons and the Kighleys were closely connected: Langston’s sister was Sir Philip Kighley’s step-mother, and Langston’s eldest son married Sir Philip’s daughter.36
In 1610, ‘upon confidence’ of his ‘faithful love, affection and goodwill’, Langston was elected a capital burgess of Evesham. Four years later he was returned for the borough. He is not mentioned by name in the surviving records of the Addled Parliament, but was probably the anonymous Member who contributed to the debate on the second reading of the bill for passing sheriffs’ accounts. He was certainly named to committees on similar measures in subsequent Parliaments, and the speaker concerned on this occasion declared that he had been under-sheriff of Worcestershire four times, a post that Langston is known to have held three times. In this speech, Langston criticized the measure, which was designed to reduce the fees payable to the Exchequer officials. He argued that the fees were well deserved because the officials’ ‘pains [are] great’ and if sheriffs did not have their assistance ‘they [the sheriffs] will be taken in a net and will not know how to creep out’. He claimed that he had never been questioned in court for his actions as under-sheriff, and it is possible that he feared that, without the support of the Exchequer officers, sheriffs and their deputies would become liable to legal challenges.37
In 1616 the recently appointed recorder of Evesham, John Fleete made Langston his deputy, but after Fleete died in early 1619 Langston may have lost office. On 18 Oct. 1617 Langston was elected town clerk of Stratford-upon-Avon, where he had family connections. In September 1620 he tried to resign because of the ‘heartburning and contention’ in the borough, but was persuaded to stay on until 1624.38
In December 1620 Langston was re-elected for Evesham and agreed to serve without payment.39 He made five recorded contributions to debate in the first sitting of the 1621 Parliament. On 16 Feb. he spoke on the Leicestershire election dispute, moving for Sir Thomas Beaumont II’s return to be rejected and replaced with a fresh return in favour of (Sir) George Hastings.40 On 22 Feb. he requested a copy of the Wey river navigation bill, which had received its first reading that morning.41 During the debate on the abuses of the commissioners for concealed tithes on 2 Mar., he gave an example of the latter’s misdemeanours in Worcester.42 On 14 Mar. he was given leave to attend a trial at the assizes.43 Back in the Commons by 25 Apr., on 5 May he presented a petition against pursuivants who compounded with Catholic priests.44 On the same day he spoke in favour of the bill to repair Tewkesbury bridge, and argued that the city of Gloucester should contribute to the cost.45 His intervention earned him appointment to the committee. The only other committee to which he was nominated concerned abuses in the Exchequer (25 April).46 Shortly after the close of the session, Langston nominated subsidy commissioners for Evesham and made suggestions for the county commission.47
Langston was re-elected for Evesham in 1625, and spoke twice in the Parliament. During the debate on the second reading of the bill for mitigation of the sentence of greater excommunication (27 June) he proposed inserting clauses to allow cases to be transferred to King’s Bench and to enable defendants to know their accusers. He was subsequently appointed to the committee.48 On 8 July he presented a petition from Sir Robert Bassett, presumably protesting at the grant of privilege to his son Arthur Bassett*, whom Sir Robert had caused to be imprisoned.49 In addition, Langston was also named to committees for bills concerning the assignment of debts (23 June), passing sheriffs’ accounts (9 July), and to repeal an Act restraining clergymen from taking farms (16 July).50
Re-elected for Evesham in 1626, Langston made only one recorded speech, on 2 June, when he presented a warrant from the clerk of the market to the constable of Eldersfield in Worcestershire. He complained that since the fines for failure to use sealed weights had been farmed the annual receipts in Worcestershire had risen from 40s. to £60.51 After this intervention he was added to the committee for the bill for the clerk of the market.52 Langston received ten further appointments, three of which were to consider bills relating to his professional interests: levying debts in the name of the king (28 Feb.), regulating attorneys (23 Mar.), and outlaws (27 March).53 He was once again appointed to the committee for the sheriffs’ accounts bill (14 Mar.) and was required to consider measures for taking away escheators’ accounts of nichils in cities and corporate towns (3 May).54 He was also appointed to legislative committees concerned with the king’s revenue (7 Mar.), work and education for prisoners (8 Mar.), marriage (6 May), and a private land transaction (1 June).55 In addition, on 22 May he was added to the committee for examining John More II’s* claim for privilege.56 On 4 Mar. he himself was granted privilege concerning a suit in a manorial court.57
On 14 Feb. 1628 it was reported that the Evesham corporation intended to re-elect Langston because he ‘has often done them service in that place, and therefore (as they conceive) merits it’. However, the reporter, Fulke Reed, believed that advancing age had made Langston ‘somewhat weary of the business’.58 Langston suffered from gout from at least 1624 and was probably easily persuaded to stand aside for Sir Robert Harley*.59
Langston was buried at South Littleton on 21 Nov. 1633, having made his will, which is enthused with Calvinist piety, five days earlier. He was sufficiently prosperous to leave his unmarried daughter a portion of £800.60 None of his descendants sat in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Ben Coates
- 1. E178/3832.
- 2. Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xc), 58.
- 3. First child baptized 16 Feb. 1598. Sedgeberrow par. reg. (Soc. Gen. microfilm 2249).
- 4. Vis. Worcs. 58-9; Sedgeberrow par. reg.; Lansd. 1233, f. 27.
- 5. T.E. Hartley, ‘Under-sheriffs and Bailiffs in some English Shrievalties’, BIHR xlvii. 180.
- 6. E134/14Jas.1/Hil20; E134/12&13Chas.1/Hil3.
- 7. C2/Chas.I/L62/49.
- 8. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 80.
- 9. C33/144, f. 1016v.
- 10. C. Whitfield, ‘Four Town Clerks of Stratford on Avon’, N and Q, ccix. 260-1.
- 11. C66/1489, m. 13d; 66/1555, m. 6d.
- 12. List of Escheators comp. A.C. Wood (L. and I. Soc. lxxii), 188.
- 13. C66/1587, m. 25d.
- 14. CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 269.
- 15. E178/3832.
- 16. Evesham Bor. Recs. of Seventeenth Cent. ed. S.K. Roberts (Worcs. Hist. Soc. n.s. xiv), 8.
- 17. R. Tomes, South Littleton Notes, 21.
- 18. REQ 2/413/12
- 19. E112/132/187.
- 20. E178/3862.
- 21. SP46/65, f. 173, C212/22/21, 23; E179/201/293; 179/201/298.
- 22. C231/4, f. 176v; Cal. Q. Sess. Pprs. ed. J.W. Willis Bund (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1900), ii. 384.
- 23. C193/12/2, f. 77v.
- 24. STAC 8/147/9.
- 25. Evesham Bor. Recs. 17, 20.
- 26. Whitfield, 256-60.
- 27. PRO 30/26/74/3, ff. 9v, 12, 14v; 30/26/74/4, f. 7v.
- 28. C2/Chas.I/L62/49.
- 29. C22/389/24.
- 30. STAC 8/194/18; C2/Chas.I/E19/26.
- 31. C2/Jas.I/L11/46; PROB 11/179, ff. 105v-106v.
- 32. Lansd. 1233 f. 27.
- 33. C.W. Brooks, Pettyfoggers and Vipers of the Commonwealth, 169; J. Aubrey, Nat. Hist. Wilts. 118.
- 34. STAC 8/147/9.
- 35. C2/Jas.I/L4/47.
- 36. Vis. Worcs. 58-9.
- 37. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 164; Hartley, 17; R.H. Silcock, ‘County Govt. in Worcs.’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1974), p. 325.
- 38. Whitfield, 256-60.
- 39. Evesham Bor. Recs. 22.
- 40. CJ, i. 523b.
- 41. CD 1621, vi. 262.
- 42. Ibid. 278; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 116.
- 43. CJ, i. 553a.
- 44. CJ, i. 609a; CD 1621, v. 367.
- 45. CJ, i. 609b; CD 1621, iii. 171.
- 46. CJ, i. 591a, 609b.
- 47. SP46/65, f. 173.
- 48. Procs. 1625, p. 253.
- 49. Ibid. 353.
- 50. Ibid. 230, 253, 358, 368.
- 51. Procs. 1626, iii. 346.
- 52. Ibid. 344.
- 53. Ibid. ii. 147, 348, 374.
- 54. Ibid. 281; iii. 180.
- 55. Ibid. ii. 214, 226; iii. 180, 340.
- 56. Ibid. iii. 301.
- 57. Ibid. ii. 195.
- 58. Procs. 1628, vi. 149.
- 59. Whitfield, 260.
- 60. PROB 11/164, f. 417.