John PELHAM of Laughton

Born: 1537, Laughton, near Lewes, Sussex, England

Died: 12 Oct 1580

Father: Nicholas PELHAM of Laughton (Sir)

Mother: Anne SACKVILLE

Married: Judith St. JOHN


1. Oliver PELHAM (d. 1585)

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

Born 1537, first son of Sir Nicholas Pelham of Laughton by Anne, dau. of John Sackville of Withyham, sister of Sir Richard Sackville, and aunt of Thomas Sackville, Baron Buckhurst; brother of Thomas. Educated ?Queens’, Camb. 1549. Married Judith (d. 1607), dau. of Oliver St. John, 1st Baron St. John of Bletsoe, Beds., by whom he had one son. Suc. fa. 1560. Kntd. 1573. Commr. sewers, Suss. 1564, j.p. from c. Mar 1565; sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 1571-2; commr. musters, Suss.; commr piracy, Suss. and Cinque Ports.

Pelham was a Marian exile with his cousin William Morley at Padua and Geneva. Soon after the accession of Elizabeth his father left him the manors of Bevilham, Burwash, Crowhurst and Laughton, with other Sussex property. His subsidy assessment at £40 in lands was only half that of his father, and he had difficulties about the title to some of his estates. A suit, which involved a crown tenant at Laughton, was begun about 1569 in the duchy of Lancaster court, was later brought before the Star Chamber, and was still unsettled at Pelham's death, by which time he had been sent to the Fleet prison at least twice and possibly four times. Pelham owned two forges and an iron furnace in Sussex.

Classified by the Bishop of Chichester as a ‘favourer of godly proceedings’, he was on the Sussex commission of the peace by Mar 1565. Both he and Morley were in the 1571 Parliament, when, as senior knight of the shire for a maritime county, Pelham was appointed to the committee for the navigation bill, 8 May, his only recorded activity.

While still in office as sheriff in 1572, Pelham took the part of George Goring against Lord Buckhurst in a dispute over excessive felling of timber at Balneath, near Lewes. In 1579 he joined Henry Bowyer and others in attacking Edmund Curteys, vicar of Cuckfield and brother of the Bishop of Chichester. On another occasion he was ordered by the Privy Council to help to settle a local dispute between Lord Dacre and Herbert Pelham. He investigated seditious speeches at Winchelsea in Nov 1574.

He died 12 Oct 1580, and was buried ‘by torchlight’ in Holy Trinity church in the Minories, London. His will, dated Jul 1580, was proved 15 Nov following.
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