Born: 1534, Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England

Died: 13 Jan 1593/4, Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England

Father: Nicholas WENTWORTH (Sir Knight)

Mother: Jane JOSSELYN

Married: Helen AGMONDESHAM (dau. of Richard Agmondesham of Heston) (w. of William Tyldesley) 26 Nov 1553





Third son of Sir Nicholas Wentworth, and younger brother of Peter Wentworth. He acquired Burnham Abbey by his marriage with Helen, daughter of Richard Agmon desham of Heston, Middlesex, and widow of William Tyldesley, to whom the abbey, formerly a convent of Benedictine nuns, had been granted at the dissolution. He also held property in Huntingdonshire and near Buckingham.

During the inquiry of 1564 by the bishops as to the affection or disaffection of the country gentry, Wentworth was certified as one of ' those earnest in religion and fit to be trusted'. He was returned for Buck ingham to the parliament which met on 11 Jan 1562-3, and in 1566 ' those two great businesses of her majesty's marriage and declaring a successor coming into agitation', Paul Wentworth and others ' used so great liberty of speech as (I conceive) was never used in any . . . session . .. before or since ' (D'EwEs). The Queen Elizabeth on 5 Nov had re ceived a petition from parliament desiring her to marry and name a successor. She returned an evasive reply. On 8 Nov the House of Commons revived the matter, and on the 9th the vice-chamberlain, Sir Francis Knollys, declared the Queen's command to proceed no further in their suit. At the next sitting of the house, on Monday, 11 Nov 1566, Wentworth, by way of motion, desired to know whether the Queen's command were not against the liberties and privileges of the house, and thereupon arose diverse argu ments which continued from nine of the clock in the morning till two of the clock in the afternoon, when the debate was ad journed. This is probably the first instance of an adjourned debate.

William Camden, in his 'Annals', charges Paul Wentworth with 'rending the queen's authority too much, and insisting that a sovereign is bound to name a successor'. On the next day, 12 Nov, there was a second message from the Queen forbidding a renewal of the discussion in the house, but suggesting that any member who was dis satisfied and had further reasons to give should go before the privy council and show them there. On 25 NovS the speaker de clared the Queen's pleasure to be to revoke her two former orders (D'EwEs). The com mons then agreed to stir no more in the matter that session. The compromise was on the whole, a victory for Wentworth and the house.

From 1572 to 1583 Wentworth was member for Liskeard. On 21 Jan, the first business day of the session of 1581, he made a motion for a public fast and for daily preaching, ' the preaching to be every morn ing at seven o'clock before the house did sit, that so they beginning their proceedings with the service and worship of God, He might the better bless them in all their con sultations and actions'. Sir Francis Knollys, treasurer of the household, opposed the motion, but on a division it was carried by 115 to 100 (D'EwEs). On Monday the 23rd the Speaker was sent for by the Queen early in the morning, and could not reach the house till 11 A.M. He then directed that the whole house should be in attendance next day, Tuesday, at 8 A.M. On the latter occasion he declared himself sorry for the accident that had happened on Saturday in resolving to have a public fast, showing that the Queen greatly misliked the proceeding. The vice-chamberlain delivered a message from the Queen reproving the ' undutiful pro ceeding of the house, but construing the said offence to proceed of zeal, and imputing the cause thereof partly to her own leniency towards a brother [i.e. Peter Wentworth] of that man [i.e. Paul Wentworth] which now made this motion, who in the last session was by this house for just cause reprehended and committed, but by her majesty gra ciously pardoned and restored again'. After a speech from the comptroller of the house hold, the house submitted.

In 1589 Wentworth, in a letter to the Queen praying for a further and longer lease of Burnham Abbey, states that the Queen had shown her confidence in him by com mitting to his charge the Duke of Norfolk at his house at Burn ham. The note of the Queen's reply at the bottom of the letter says, 'Her majesty most princely calling to mind the long and dutiful service of this suppliant, her highness's servant , his loyal care, trouble and charge, at the com mitting of the late Duke of Norfolk to his house, most graciously did consent ' ( Col. Hatfield MSS. iii. 457).

In 1590 he was granted a lease of Burnham for thirty-one years. Wentworth died in 1593. His will, dated in the 35th Elizabeth (1592-3), is a good example of the puritan style at its best. Wentworth left to his wife all his crown leases in the property ' of the late dissolved monastery ' of Burnham, and the rectories of Dornye (or Dorney) and Burnham, and many other things. The manor of Clewer and Olewer's Court, and his Berkshire property, he left to his son Peter. He left large sums of money to his daughters, making them come of age at twenty-five. The inquisition after death is dated 36th Elizabeth (1593-4). Either Wentworth or his nephew Paul was the author of the famous devotional work, Wentworth's ' The Miscellanie, or a Regestrie and Methodicall Directorie of Orizons', published in 1615 (London, 4to, 2 parts) and dedicated to King James. There are copies in the British Museum and the Bodleian Library. A third copy belonged to Mr. John Wentworth, mayor of Chicago, and was burnt in the Chicago fire of 1871.

[Cal. State Papers, Dom. passim; Cal. Hat- field MSS. ; Acts of the Privy Council, ed. j Dasent ; D'Ewes's Journals ; Button's Three Branches of the AVentworth Family ; John Wentworth's Wentworth Genealogy, English and American, first privately printed in two volumes, and then published in three volumes, Boston, 1878, 8vo; some authorities attribute to Paul Wentworth the speech of 20 Apr 1571 about the chameleon ' Mr. Wentworth ' is often used in the 'Parlia mentary History ' when both Peter and Paul were members.]

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