Herbert PELHAM of Michelham

Born: ABT 1546, Michelham Priory, Sussex & Compton Valence, Dorset

Died: 1620

Father: Anthony PELHAM of Buxstepe

Mother: Margaret HALL

Married 1: Catherine THATCHER (dau. of John Thatcher of Priesthawes and Margaret Oxenbridge)


1. Herbert PELHAM (Esq.)



4. Margaret PELHAM

Married 2: Elizabeth WEST 12 Feb 1593/94, Wherwell, co.Hants



6. Dau. PELHAM

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

Born ABT 1546, only son of Anthony Pelham of Hendall Manor in Bucksteep, Warbleton, Sussex, by Margaret Hall, w. of Percy De Buckthorpe of Suss. Educ. Queens’, Camb. 1562. Married first, Catherine (d. by 1612), dau. of John Thatcher of Priesthawes, Westham, Sussex; and secondly Elizabeth (d. 15 Jan 1639), dau. of Thomas West, 1st Baron De la Warr. Suc. family 1566. Sheriff, Surr. and Suss. Apr-Nov 1576, 1590-1; j.p. Suss. 1582-7; brodhull rep. 1583; bailiff to Yarmouth 1583; freeman, Winchelsea 22 Jan. 1583, jurat 7 Apr. 1583.2

In the sixteenth century Bucksteep was the seat of a cadet branch of the Sussex Pelhams. When Pelham became head of this branch, he inherited lands in Sussex, Dorset, Kent, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, Surrey, Yorkshire and ‘elsewhere within the realm of England’. Through a fortunate second marriage, he gained the manor of Compton Valance in Dorset.

An active member of the Winchelsea corporation, Pelham would naturally have found a borough seat there when he was unsuccessful for the county in 1584. He had already served once as sheriff of Surrey and Sussex, and had been imprisoned by the Lord Treasurer Burghley for refusing to do so a second time. When summoned before the Privy Council for this refusal in Apr 1582, he gave as excuse his residence within the liberty of the Cinque Ports. He was on the commission of the peace for only three years. A 1587 report on Sussex justices explained that he was dropped because his judgment was unreliable.

Pelham's purchase, in Oct 1587, of the site of Michelham priory, was followed by financial troubles, though these may have derived from the failing business of his brother-in-law Anthony Morley, a Sussex ironmaster. In 1590 he borrowed £400 from John Michell of Cuckfield, Sussex, and in 1599 his entire interest in Michelham was made over to his relative, Thomas Pelham of Laughton and two others, as trustees for sale, to provide an annuity of £400 a year and to discharge the debts. On 6 Apr 1601 the trustees sold Michelham to Lord Buckhurst for £4,700. Pelham also disposed of estates at Whatlington and Peplesham. He died intestate 12 Apr 1620.

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