STOUGHTON, Nicholas (1592-1648), of the Inner Temple, London and Stoughton, nr. Guildford, 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



c. Dec. 1645 - 4 Mar. 1648

Family and Education

b. 20 Sept. 1592, 8th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Lawrence Stoughton† and Rose, da. of Richard Ive of London and Kentish Town, Mdx.; bro. of George*.1 educ. Winchester 1604; New Coll. Oxf. 1610; I. Temple 1613.2 m. (1) Dec. 1625, Bridget (d. 25 Mar. 1631), da. of Sir John Compton of Priors Dean, Hants, 2s. d.v.p. 2da. (1 d.v.p.); (2) 5 Aug. 1635, with £3,080, Anne (d. 7 Jan. 1672), da. of William Evans, Mercer, of London, 2s. 1da. all d.v.p. suc. bro. 1624. d. 4 Mar. 1648.3

Offices Held

Fell. New Coll. 1611-18.4

J.p. Surr. 1624-d.;5 commr. subsidy, 1624,6 1641-2,7 capt. militia horse 1626;8 commr. Forced Loan 16279, limiting badgers 1630,10 sewers 1632, Surr. and Kent 1645,11 Wey navigation, Surr. 1635;12 sheriff 1637-8;13 commr. perambulation, Windsor forest, 1641,14 assessment 1643-d.;15 dep. lt. Surr. 1642;16 commr. sequestration 1643, levying money 1643, defence 1643-5, oyer and terminer 1644, gaol delivery 1644,17 New Model Ordinance 1645;18 elder, Guildford classis 1648.19

Commr. exclusion from sacrament 1646.20


According to a history of the family written by his nephew, Stoughton was ‘an ingenious lad and of good parts’. He studied at New College Oxford, where his tutor was the puritan William Twisse, and was elected a fellow. As a younger son, his father, ‘intending him for a lawyer’, sent him to the Inner Temple, although he retained his fellowship after he commenced his legal studies. He showed no enthusiasm for the law, ‘but learned genteel accomplishments, as to dance, and to fence, and to play on the lute’. In 1613 he contributed commendatory verses to The Dove by another fellow of New College, Richard Zouche*.21

On his father’s death in 1615 Stoughton inherited £200 and an annuity of £40. Five years later he proposed to leave the Temple to become ‘some nobleman’s secretary’, and, doubtless hoping to attract the attention of prominent patron, asked his brother George to secure his return for Guildford, where George had been elected in 1614, but the family interest was already committed to John Murray*.22

It was presumably with his brother’s blessing that Stoughton again sought to represent Guildford in 1624, although George died on 25 Jan., the day before the election. His sudden inheritance of the family estate, which included the manor of Stoughton and other property close to Guildford, may explain why he was only mentioned twice in the surviving records of the 1624 Parliament. He was granted privilege for a servant on 23 Apr., and was one of four Members ordered to consider grievances, other than those on trade, on 28 May.23

According to the family’s historian, Stoughton tried for the Guildford seat again in 1625, and thought that he was promised it, but in the event he was rejected in favour of Robert Parkhurst, ‘whereupon (as his wife told me) he had intended to have troubled them for it and made them ashamed of it, but that Parliament was quickly dissolved, and so his prosecution fell to the ground’. Later in the year he married a 15-year-old Hampshire girl who had ‘an expectancy of a moiety of a fair estate’, but who brought him immediate possession of an annuity of only £50. To further the match, moreover, he made a new settlement of his own estate, breaking the agreement made between his father and uncle, Adrian Stoughton*, that their lands in Surrey and Sussex always remain in the male line. As a result Stoughton failed to inherit when Adrian’s son Thomas died without male heirs in January 1626.24

Stoughton was assessed to lend £20 towards the Privy Seal loans levied after the dissolution of the 1625 Parliament, but early the following year it was reported that he had tried to excuse himself, claiming he was ‘in debt and altogether without money’.25 His financial difficulties may explain why he seems not to have sought re-election in the late 1620s.

In 1628 Stoughton was one of the local gentlemen Archbishop Abbot advised the corporation of Guildford to consult about a scheme to provide employment for the poor of the town.26 Soon afterwards, however, the mayor failed to send the customary present of a sugarloaf to Stoughton, who consequently refused to entertain the corporation to dinner, whereupon all ‘friendly correspondence’ between them ended.27

In 1631 Stoughton compounded for knighthood at £20.28 Shortly after he enlarged the chancel of Stoke parish church, presumably because there had been no room to bury his first wife who had died that year. He remarried in 1635, to the daughter of a London merchant. According to his nephew ‘he yielded to very strange terms’, in the hope that she would inherit from her sickly brother. With part of her portion he bought property in Worplesdon, Surrey, from his cousin Anthony Stoughton*.29

As sheriff in 1637-8, Stoughton was responsible for the collection of Ship Money which, according to his nephew, ‘he did proportion on the country with a great deal of equality’.30 He nonetheless failed to respond to a request for a contribution to the Scots war in 1639.31 In 1642 he was appointed deputy to the 2nd earl of Nottingham (Sir Charles Howard*), whom Parliament had named lord lieutenant of Surrey. He became a member of the Surrey county committee, a recruiter to the Long Parliament, and a Presbyterian elder. His nephew wrote of him that ‘he was a very able, judicious person at drawing or penning anything, but had no faculty in speaking his mind in public’. On the county committee Stoughton ‘was reckoned the head for penning, and Sir Richard Onslow* the mouth for speaking’. He was also ‘apt to believe anyone that spoke him fair’. 32

In 1647 Stoughton married his daughter, his only surviving child, to Onslow’s son Arthur†, altering the settlement of his estate to enable her to inherit his lands. He drew up his will on 20 Feb. 1647, in which he left a rent charge of £6 13s.4d. and two tenements in Guildford to the use of the town’s library and school, but on condition that the corporation should grant his heirs the advowson of Stoke. He died on 4 Mar. 1648, according to his nephew from over-indulgence in oil of vitriol taken to prevent the stone, only a week before his daughter died in childbirth; she was buried in the same grave at Stoke. His grandchild survived little more than a year and on her death the estates reverted to the male line, but only for two generations. No later member of the family sat in Parliament.33

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / Ben Coates


  • 1. Manning and Bray, Surr. i. ped. facing p. 171; Add. 6174, f. 138v.
  • 2. Winchester Scholars ed. Kirby, 161; Al. Ox.; I. Temple database of admiss.
  • 3. Add. 6174, ff. 138v, 141; Add. 45193, f. 13.
  • 4. Al. Ox.
  • 5. C231/4, f. 168; ASSI 35/88/8.
  • 6. C212/22/23.
  • 7. SR, v. 65, 155.
  • 8. HMC Laing, i. 172.
  • 9. C193/12/2, f. 58
  • 10. APC, 1630-1, p. 132.
  • 11. C181/4, f. 121v; 181/5, f. 264.
  • 12. T. Rymer, Foedera, ix. pt. 1, p. 19.
  • 13. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 138.
  • 14. C181/5, f. 211v.
  • 15. A. and O. i. 94, 541, 636, 976, 1093.
  • 16. HMC 7th Rep. 677.
  • 17. C181/5, ff. 239, 239v.
  • 18. A. and O. i. 116, 150, 234, 235, 451, 624, 731.
  • 19. W.A. Shaw, Hist. of Eng. Church during Civil Wars and under Commonwealth, ii. 434.
  • 20. A. and O. i. 1093.
  • 21. Add. 6174, f. 138v; Oxford DNB sub Twisse, William; R. Zouche, The Dove (1613), unpag.
  • 22. Add. 6174, ff. 133v, 138v.
  • 23. VCH Surr. iii. 372; CJ, i. 714a, 774a.
  • 24. Add. 6174, ff. 138-40.
  • 25. SP16/19/70.
  • 26. Hist. Guildford (1801), p. 19.
  • 27. Add. 6174, f. 144v
  • 28. E401/2450.
  • 29. M. Stephenson, ‘List of Monumental Brasses in Surr,’ Surr. Arch. Colls. xxxii. 104; Add. 6174, ff. 139-40.
  • 30. Add. 6174, f. 141v.
  • 31. Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, iii. 914.
  • 32. Add. 6174, ff. 141v-2.
  • 33. VCH Surr. iii. 372; Add. 6174, ff. 139, 141; PROB 11/203, f. 387; Manning and Bray, i. 171.