Born: BEF 1515, Elmley Castle and Netherton, Worcestershire
Died: 8 Aug 1550
Father: Robert WILLOUGHBY (2° B. Willoughby of Broke)
Mother: Joan PYE
Married: Anne HUNCKS BEF 1544 ( dau. of Thomas Huncks of Radbroke, Glos - widow of Thomas Lyttleton - m.3 Francis Bulstrode)
The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.
One of the bastard sons of Robert, 2nd Lord Willoughby de Broke by Joan Pye of Chippenham, Wilts. educ. Inner Temple. In 1521 his father left him £56 13s.4d. for his ‘promotion and living’, to be paid when he reached the age of 24. Auditor, I. Temple 1536, 1546-7, bencher 1546, attendant on reader 1547, 1549, Autumn reader 1548, Lent reader 1549. Servant, household of Cardinal Wolsey by 1523; j.p. Worcs. 1538-d., Cheshire, Herefs., Mon., Warws. Salop 1547; commr. oyer and terminer, Oxford circuit 1539, 1543, 1544, musters, Worcs. 1539, subsidy 1543, chantries Herefs., Worcs. 1548; chantries, Herefs., Worcs. 1548; escheator, Worcs. 1541-2, 1545-6; attorney, council in the marches of Wales 28 Apr 1546-d.; particular receiver, Queen Catherine Parr, Herefs. and Worcs. by 1547-8; member, council of John Dudley, Earl of Warwick by 1547; ?serjeant-at-law by 1550.
Married by 1544, Anne, dau. of Thomas Huncks of Radbroke, Glos., wid. of Thomas Lyttleton, of whom had 2 sons and 3 daughters.
The Commons Journal records that on 19
Jan 1549 a bill for buying of wool was committed AFT its first reading to
‘Mr. Wyllaby’ and that a week later ‘Mr. Willoughby’ and Thomas Gawdy
were similarly entrusted with a bill for captains and
soldiers. This is the only evidence that the Parliament then in session included
a Member named Willoughby. His identification with George Willoughby of
Netherton is suggested by one fact and one probability: he must have died
the end of
1551, when the revised list of Members of this Parliament was drawn up, and he probably had the grounding in law which was the customary qualification of Members to whom bills were committed. George Willoughby died on 8 Aug 1550 and he was a member of the Inner Temple, as was his associate in the committal of the second bill, Thomas Gawdy.
It is possible that Lord Willoughby had already obtained for him a place in Cardinal Wolsey's household, where a George Willoughby was assessed for subsidy during the early 1520s, on one occasion paying £5, and a transition from Wolsey's service to Cromwell's may be reflected in a letter of 1536 from John Pye to Cromwell recommending his ‘nephew’ George Willoughby ‘who is, I think, extremely dealt with’. It was in this year that Willoughby took his first upward step at the Inner Temple, where he continued to make steady progress: according to a family tradition he was called to be serjeant shortly BEF his death, but this lacks confirmation. Lord Willoughby had provided for his mother's maintenance with a small estate in Somerset, and this eventually passed to Willoughby, but it was in Worcestershire that he settled, presumably on his marriage to Anne Huncks. The couple first occupied a lodging in Elmley Castle but were forcibly ejected by Urian Brereton, keeper of the adjoining park, who claimed it as a perquisite. By 1547 Willoughby had made his home at Netherton and in Nov 1549 he leased the manor from the dean and chapter of Worcester.
Willoughby's appointment as attorney to the council in the marches of Wales answered to his progress in his profession and his standing in the region: he was probably helped to it by Queen Catherine Parr and by John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, for both of whom he acted. Willoughby became a member of Warwick's council and dealt with him in land, acquiring from him the reversion of a Gloucestershire manor in Jun 1547 and two more manors in Gloucestershire and one in Worcestershire in Jan 1550. If it was at Warwick's nomination that Willoughby was returned to the Parliament of 1547 a number of seats would have been available: as lieutenant of all northern counties in that year Warwick could have placed him in a northern borough, perhaps Berwick-upon-Tweed where the Earl was stationed early in Oct, or as a member of the council in the marches he may have procured a Welsh seat. Another possibility is that Catherine Parr had Willoughby returned for one of her Wiltshire boroughs: it was with a Wiltshireman, Robert Long, that on the day of the prorogation he acquired from Warwick a wood in Morville, Shropshire. During the first session Willoughby sued out a general pardon.
Willoughby made his will early in Aug 1550, the probate copy being erroneously dated as of AFT his death: the phrase ‘if I die of this visitation’ shows him to have fallen victim to the current epidemic. Leaving his place of burial to his wife's discretion, he provided for her, his children and kinsmen, and all servants of more than a year's standing. He appointed his wife sole executrix, and his father-in-law and brother-in-law overseers of the will, which was proved on the following 7 Sep. Willoughby died at Netherton on 8 Aug, leaving as his heir a six year-old boy; his widow, who acquired the wardship in the following year, married as her third husband Francis Bulstrode.
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