Sir Henry DARCY

Born: BEF 1539, Brimham, Yorkshire & Leighton Bromsfield, Huntshire

Died: AFT 1592/3

Father: Arthur DARCY (Sir)

Mother: Mary CAREW

Married 1: Catherine TYRWHITT

Married 2: Catherine FERMOR (dau. of Sir John Fermor and Maud Vaux) (w. of Michael Pulteney)


1. Catherine DARCY

The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

First son of Sir Arthur Darcy. Educated Inner Temple, adm. 16 Jan 1556. Married first Catherine (d. 1567), dau. and heiress of Sir Robert Tyrwhitt of Leighton Bromswold, s.p.; Married second Catherine, dau. of Sir John Fermor of Easton Neston, Northants., widow of Michael Pulteney (d. 1567) of Misterton, Leics., by whom he had one dau. Succeeded family 3 Apr 1561. Kntd. 21 Aug 1565. Jt. (with fa.) constable, Conisbrough castle, Yorks. 1556; sheriff, Cambs. and Hunts. 1562-3, 1583-4; j.p.q. Hunts. 1564-92/93; commr. sewers, Hunts. 1569, musters 1569, 1580, 1584, to execute Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy, dioceses of Lincoln and Peterborough 1571, for oaths, Hunts. 1592; superintendent, Kimbolton castle, Hunts. temp. Elizabeth.

Darcy, who was no more than 19 at the time, must have owed his return for the duchy of Lancaster borough of Knaresborough to his father, a younger son of Thomas, Lord Darcy and a royal servant who held or had held a number of duchy offices. Lord Darcy himself had once been constable and steward of Knaresborough.

On 25 Jul 1557 Darcy was committed to the Fleet for brawling, and a week later, he was bound with Thomas Hussey to keep the peace. Hussey was friendly with the Fermors, a family with which the Darcys were also connected before Darcy married into it: in Jul 1532 Sir Arthur Darcy, Sir John Dudley, Richard Rich and Richard Fermor had stood surety for a loan made by the King to Sir Edward Seymour.

Darcy was to inherit a large estate in Yorkshire and elsewhere from his father, but on his first marriage he settled in Huntingdonshire and disposed of much of his Yorkshire property.

Of a Yorkshire family, Darcy settled on his first wife’s estate of Leighton Bromswold, achieving knight of the shire status in Huntingdonshire in 1571. One of his supporters, Richard Dorrington, was successful in 1572, and when Dorrington died in the following year, Darcy came in again at the ensuing by-election. In 1575 he exchanged part of his Yorkshire property and over a period of years sold much of the rest. This brought about a rift between Darcy and his brother John. Darcy continued to acquire estates in Huntingdonshire, and he also had property in London, including Mountjoy House, the home of Doctors’ Commons, which he leased to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. By the early 1580s Darcy was at odds with Henry Cromwell, alias Williams, who resented his intrusion into the county, Cromwell accusing Darcy of making biased subsidy assessments, Darcy calling Cromwell a liar and a forger. It happened that at the 1584 county election Darcy was sheriff, and his being able so to arrange matters that the Cromwell candidate was defeated gave him game, set and match.

Darcy settled Leighton Bromswold on his daughter and son-in-law Sir Gervase Clifton in 1591 It is not known when he died but his name last appears on the commission of the peace during 1592/1593.
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