CORDELL, Sir Robert, 1st Bt. (c.1616-80), of Long Melford, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



24 Mar. 1662
Mar. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1616, 1st s. of Sir John Cordell, Mercer, of London by Sarah, da. of Robert Bankworth, scrivener, of London. educ. Exeter, Oxf. matric. 21 June 1633, aged 16; travelled abroad 1635; G. Inn 1636. m. c.1643, Margaret, da. and coh. of Sir Edmund Wright of Swakeleys, Ickenham, Mdx., ld. mayor of London 1641-2, 2s. 1da. suc. fa. 1649; cr. Bt. 22 June 1660.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Suff. 1653-4, commr. for militia Mar. 1660, j.p. July 1660-70; commr. for assessment, Suff. Aug. 1660-d., Sudbury 1677-8, recusants, Suff. 1675.


Cordell was a collateral descendant of Sir William Cordell, a distinguished lawyer who acquired the ex-monastic property of Long Melford in 1554 and sat for Suffolk in the last Marian Parliament, of which he was Speaker. Long Melford passed to the Savage family by marriage, and was mortgaged to Cordell’s father, a prosperous London merchant and master of the Mercers’ Company, who was imprisoned in November 1642 for refusing to lend Parliament £1,000. Subsequently, however, he served on the committee for the new model ordinance before retiring from the aldermanic bench in 1647. Cordell himself paid £500 to the committee for the advance of money in 1643, and by 1647 was a creditor of Parliament for over £2,600. Nothing else is known of him until he was appointed sheriff of Suffolk under the Commonwealth. In 1654 he bought Long Melford from the trustees of the 2nd Earl Rivers for £28,959, but held no further office until the Restoration.2

Cordell was involved in double returns for Sudbury, three miles from his home, at the general elections of 1660 and 1661, but both were decided against him. Though he was given a baronetcy at the Restoration, Lord Wharton classed him as a friend. But when he was at last successful at a by-election in 1662, he was described as a ‘loyal gentleman’. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to only 15 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges in four sessions. In May 1662 he was nominated to the committee on the additional bill to regulate corporations. On 17 Feb. 1665 a bill on his behalf was ordered to be read, but this has not been identified. He was absent from a call of the House in February 1668. He was twice appointed to committees for the relief of the widow and children of Sir Henry Williams, and helped to consider three measures aimed at preventing the export of raw wool. His omission from the commission of the peace after the second Conventicles Act in 1670, indicates that he probably supported toleration. Henceforth he voted with the Opposition, since his name does not appear on any of the lists of court supporters, except that in A Seasonable Argument he was described as ‘a poor gentleman that has almost spent all’. Shaftesbury considered him a friend, classing him as ‘doubly worthy’ in his list of the House of Commons.3

Returned for Sudbury at the first general election of 1679, Cordell was classed as ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury and duly voted for exclusion. He was not appointed to any committees and made no recorded speeches. He did not stand for re-election in September, either on account of ill-health, or because his interest had been undermined by Sir Gervase Elwes. He was buried on 3 Jan. 1680 at St. Lawrence Jewry, London.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. PC2/44/585.
  • 2. Copinger, Suff. Manors, i. 133, 138; CSP Dom. 1640, p. 171; 1641-3, p. 403; 1647-8, p. 35; 1649-50, p. 301; 1650, p. 157; Suff. Inst. Arch. Procs. ii. 53-58; V. Pearl, London and the Outbreak of the Puritan Revolution, 114, 297-8; SP19/63/13; CJ, viii. 240.
  • 3. CJ, viii. 35, 253; Merc. Pub. 24 Apr. 1662.
  • 4. F.C.D. Sperling, Hist. Sudbury, 74.