PARKHURST, Robert (1603-1651), of Cheapside, London; later of Broad Street, London and Pyrford, Surr.

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

Constituency

Dates

1640 (May)
1640 (Dec.)

Family and Education

bap. 5 July 1603,2 1st s. of Sir Robert Parkhurst, alderman of London, of Broad Street and Eleanor, da. of William Babington of Chorley, Surr.3 educ. Balliol, Oxf. 1619, BA 1622; I. Temple 1621.4 m. (1) (settlement 2 May 1628) Elizabeth (bur. 13 Sept. 1638), da. of Sir Henry Baker, 1st bt., of Sissinghurst, Kent, 2s. 2da.; (2) 6 June 1642, Silence, da. of Sir Thomas Crewe* of Steane, Northants., 1s. suc. fa. 1636;5 kntd. 29 Apr. 1638.6 d. 21 Aug. 1651.7

Offices Held

Freeman, Guildford, Surr. 1625;8 j.p. Surr. 1634-d;9 commr. Wey navigation, Surr. 1635,10 subsidy, Surr. 1641-2,11 assessment 1643-8;12 dep. lt. Surr. 1642; 13 commr. sequestration, Surr. 1643, levying money 1643, defence 1643-5, 14 oyer and terminer 1644, gaol delivery 1644,15 New Model Ordinance 1645.16

Commr. defence of Ireland 1642.17

Biography

Parkhurst’s paternal grandfather was a Guildford mercer and his uncle Thomas was several times mayor of the town.18 His father was also a mercer, on a much larger scale, based in London’s Cheapside, although he had moved to Broad Street by the time of his death.19 He served as master of the Clothworkers’ Company, governor of the Irish Society and alderman of London, but did not lose touch with his native town. It was through him that Archbishop Abbot sent a gift of £100 to the town in 1614, and at Christmas 1624, when he was serving sheriff of London, the corporation presented him with a boar.20

Parkhurst’s return for Guilford in 1625, at the first election after he came of age, was due to his father’s influence. An account of the life of his unsuccessful opponent, Nicholas Stoughton*, written in the 1670s, stated that Parkhurst’s father had promised ‘great matters’ for the borough if his son was elected and threatened ‘what prejudice he could do’ if he were not.21 Parkhurst was re-elected, apparently without difficulty in 1626, but in 1628, when he was chosen for a third time, there was a double return. In one return he was paired with Poynings More, whereas in the other More’s colleague was (Sir) Francis Carew II*. There is no evidence that the Commons ever resolved the difference, but as it was Parkhurst rather than Carew who was named in the Crown Office list it may be that he took the seat and that Carew decided not to pursue the matter.22 Parkhurst took no known part in any Parliament of the period.

In early 1628 Parkhurst’s father purchased the manor of Pyrford, seven miles from Guildford, which he settled on his son in May of that year on the latter’s marriage to the daughter of a Kentish baronet.23 Parkhurst was again successful at both elections of 1640 and supported Parliament in the Civil War. However, a combination of declining health and, possibly, a growing disillusionment with the parliamentarian cause led him to withdraw from Westminster after 1643, although he was never formerly secluded from the Commons and remained in office locally until his death.24

In his will dated 7 Jan. 1650 Parkhurst described himself as being ‘a long time afflicted with a weakness and infirmity of body’. He mentioned property in Devon, Gloucestershire and Exeter, as well as Surrey, provided an unmarried daughter with a portion of £2,000 and instructed that his second son should be apprenticed as a merchant. He was buried at Guildford on 21 Aug. 1651 and his will was proved the following February by his eldest son Robert. The latter was returned for Guildford in 1659.25

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / Ben Coates

Notes

  • 1. Did not sit after Pride’s Purge, 6 Dec. 1648.
  • 2. St. Mary le Bowe (Harl. Soc. Reg. xliv), 16.
  • 3. Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 97; H.F. Waters, Gen. Gleanings in Eng. 1391.
  • 4. Al. Ox.; I. Temple database of admiss.
  • 5. C142/543/21; Baker, Northants. 288; Memorials of St. Margaret’s, Westminster ed. A.M. Burke, 353.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 205.
  • 7. Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 50.
  • 8. Surr. Hist. Cent. BR/OC/1/2, f. 95.
  • 9. C231/5, p. 138; Names of the JPs (1650), p. 55.
  • 10. T. Rymer, Foedera, ix. pt. 1, p. 19.
  • 11. SR, v. 65, 155.
  • 12. A. and O. i. 94, 636, 976, 1093.
  • 13. CJ, ii. 584a.
  • 14. A. and O. i. 116, 234, 335, 731.
  • 15. C181/5, f. 239-v.
  • 16. A. and O. i. 624.
  • 17. Harl. 1332, f. 1.
  • 18. Vis. London (Harl. Soc.) xvii. 144; M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 296.
  • 19. R.G. Lang, ‘London’s Aldermen in Business: 1600-25’, Guildhall Misc. iii. 248.
  • 20. Keeler, 296; Hist. of Guildford (1801), p. 15; Surr. Hist. Cent. BR/OC/6/1, p. 22.
  • 21. Add. 6174, f. 144v.
  • 22. OR.
  • 23. VCH Surr. iii. 432.
  • 24. CJ, v. 330a; vi. 34a; Keeler, 296.
  • 25. PROB 11/220, f. 325; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 50.