MOLYNS, Michael (c.1601-at least 1662), of Clapcot, nr. Wallingford, Berks.

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



Family and Education

b. c.1601, 1st s. of Sir Barentyne Molyns of Clapcot and Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Southwell of Woodrising, Norf.; half-bro. of Walter Devereux*.1 educ. St. John’s, Oxf. 1616, aged 15.2 suc. fa. by 1631.3 d. aft. 22 Apr. 1662.4

Offices Held


Molyns’ grandfather and namesake came from a largely Catholic family in Hampshire. A younger son and a Protestant, he built up a considerable estate in Berkshire and Oxfordshire, much of it in the honour of Wallingford, and settled at Clapcot, a hamlet just outside the borough, which he represented in Parliament in 1589.5 His father, Barentyne, married the former mistress of Robert Devereux, 2nd earl of Essex, and consequently Molyns was the half-brother of Walter Devereux. Barentyne had been severely wounded fighting with the English forces in France in the 1590s, leaving his sight permanently impaired, and, possibly as a result, he had no discernable parliamentary ambitions. Instead the family’s interest at Wallingford was deployed in favour of a cousin, Sir George Simeon*, who represented the borough in three Jacobean Parliaments.6 Molyns himself sat in the first Caroline Parliament for Wallingford, but left no trace on its records.

The date of Barentyne’s death is unknown, but he was a prisoner in the Fleet for debt by June 1629, by which date he and Molyns had sold off a considerable part of the family estates.7 Molyns had entered into his inheritance by 1631, which still included the manors of Clapcot and Rush Court in the parish of All Hallows, Wallingford, but in 1635 he mortgaged his Wallingford property to Sir Nathaniel Brent, an ecclesiastical lawyer, for £2,000. Molyns later claimed to have shown ‘constant loyalty’ during the Civil War, but he was not apparently as active a royalist as one of his Catholic kinsmen. His Wallingford property suffered extensive depredations from both sides, for which he was still claiming compensation after the Restoration, although the equity of redemption had been forfeited. He was granted £4,000 in 1662. He was dead by February 1665, when a bill to enable his heir to redeem the property mortgaged to Brent was thrown out by the Lords. No will or grant of administration has been found.8

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 112; Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), i. 126.
  • 2. Al. Ox.
  • 3. VCH Berks. iii. 548.
  • 4. CTB, 1660-7, p. 389.
  • 5. HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 63-4; C142/378/130.
  • 6. P.E.J. Hammer, Polarisation of Elizabethan Pols. 95; J.K. Hedges, Hist. Wallingford, 406; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 401.
  • 7. Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry 1625-40 ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv-vii), 91, 558; VCH Oxon. viii. 220; VCH Hants, v. 98.
  • 8. VCH Berks. iii. 509, 548-9; CSP Dom. 1644, p. 50; 1652-3, p. 172; 1661-2, pp. 257, 267; CCAM, 1263; CCC, 2567; HMC 7th Rep. 180.