More, George (DNB00)

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MORE or MOORE, Sir GEORGE (1553–1632), lieutenant of the Tower of London, eldest son of Sir William More, sheriff and vice-admiral of Surrey, was born on 28 Nov. 1553 at Loseley, near Guildford. A letter to his father from William Cole [q. v.], the president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, proves that he was sent to study there in the summer of 1570 (1578 is an evident misprint), and was placed under the president's personal supervision (Loseley MSS. ed. Kempe). He was created M.A. on James's visit to Oxford on 30 Aug. 1605. Another George More matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, on 3 Dec. 1575, aged 20, and took no degree (Wood, Athenæ Oxon.ii.354). And yet another graduated B.A. 20 Feb. 1571-2 and M.A. 21 Jan. 1572-3. In 1574 the future lieutenant became a student at the Inner Temple (ib.) In 1604 he presented to the Bodleian some manuscripts and 40l. to buy books. More first entered parliament as member for Guildford in 1584-5, and represented that place in four parliaments of Elizabeth (1586-7, 1588-9, and 1593), and three of James I (1604-11, 1624-5). But he sat for Surrey in 1597-8, in 1614, and 1621-1622, and in the first two parliaments of Charles I's reign (1625 and 1626) (cf.Foster, Alumni Oxon. loc. cit.; Official Returns of Members of Parliament, passim). He is spoken of in Elizabeth's time as a frequent speaker, 'much esteemed for his excellent parts,' and his name constantly recurs in the debates under James I and Charles I,though he took no very prominent share in them. Wood says he was beloved of Elizabeth for his many services to the commonwealth. She knighted him in 1597, and at the same time he was made sheriff of Surrey and Sussex for the next year. About this time More obtained the wardship of young Edward Herbert, afterwards first Lord Herbert of Cherbury [q. v.], by the payment of 800l. to his guardian, Sir Francis Newport.

On his father's death in 1600 More succeeded to the Loseley estate, where the queen had previously paid the family four visits; on 3 Nov. 1601 he received a grant of the lordship and hundred of Godalming, and in 1602-3, shortly before the queen's death, was made one of the chamberlains of receipt of the exchequer. Elizabeth's favours were continued by James I, who with his queen twice visited More at Loseley, in August 1603 and in 1606. More was appointed receiver-general or treasurer to Prince Henry soon after the accession, and probably held this post till the prince's death in November 1612 (cf. Birch, Life of Prince Henry, p. 228). On 9 July 1611 More was made chancellor of the order of the Garter. After the arrest of Sir Gervase Helwys [q. v.] (1 Oct. 1615) More received the important and dangerous post of lieutenant of the Tower. The first state prisoner committed to his care was Robert Carr, earl of Somerset [q. v.], on 2 Nov. 1615. On Somerset's refusal to appear for trial More is said to have gone to Greenwich at midnight, and roused James, who was in bed. James, with tears in his eyes, besought his advice, and More subsequently persuaded the prisoner to give way, by the assurance that his trial was only a matter of form. James afterwards rewarded him by a gift of 1,000l., of half of which he was said to have been cheated by Annandale (Weldon, Secret History of James I, ii. 233). The details of the story are not absolutely correct. James was at Newmarket at the time. It seems that some protest was made by Somerset before the trial, and that the king directed More in May 1616 to induce him to submit; if he still refused he was to be forced; but that if he seemed 'distracted in his wits' the trial must be adjourned (see letters printed in Kempe's edition of Loseley MSS.; Spedding, Life of Bacon, ii. 103-5, 131). In January 1617 More, 'wearye of that troublesome and dangerous office,' was trying to sell his post at the Tower, and in March Sir Allen Apsley (1569?-1630) [q. v.] (sworn lieutenant in his place on 3 April) bought it for 2,400l. More retired to Loseley, where in August he entertained Prince Charles. In 1621 he was granted a lease of crown lands at 60l. a year, in lieu of his pension as chancellor of the Garter, and in 1629 received a grant of 1,200l. for the surrender of this office. Although in 1624 'his long and faithful service to the king' is spoken of, James seems to have henceforth neglected him, and there are extant at Loseley many unanswered memorials of his to the king. He is spoken of as infirm and weak of body at James's funeral, but in spite of advancing age and infirmities kept his seat in parliament, and continued to speak (cf. the debate on Wentworth's election for Yorkshire). In August 1625 he opposed, as unconstitutional, Whistler's proposal to apply to the lords on the question of supply. That he supported Charles's early policy, however, is shown by the remark in March 1626 that he had 'lately shown leanings to the court,' and he voted for supply (Forster, Eliot, i. 277, 311, 315; Fawsley, Debates, Camd. Soc.) In 1625 he was one of the collectors of loans in Surrey. He died at Loseley on 16 Oct. 1632, aged 78, and was buried in the chapel there.

He published ‘A Demonstration of God in his Workes,’ London, 1597, 4to. ‘Principles for Young Princes,’ London, 1611 and 1629, is very doubtfully assigned to him (Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. vii. 57).

By his wife Anne (d. 1590), daughter of Sir Adrian Poynings, widow of a Hampshire gentleman, More had four sons and five daughters. The eldest, Robert, born 1581, was knighted by James, and died seven years before his father, to whose estates his eldest son, Poynings More, succeeded. More's third daughter, Ann, born in 1584, was secretly married in 1600 to John Donne [q. v.] A portrait of Sir George More is at Loseley.

[Manning's Surrey, i. 95, &c.; Carew's Letters (Camd. Soc.), p. 19; Nichols's Progresses of James I, i. 250, 556, ii. 374, iii. 119; State Papers from 1601 to 1630; Gardiner's History, ii. 351, 353. iv. 66, 120; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714; Loseley MSS. ed. Kempe, 1836.]

E. T. S.