Puckering, John (DNB00)

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PUCKERING, Sir JOHN (1544–1596), lord keeper of the great seal, eldest son of William Puckering of Flamborough, Yorkshire, was born in 1544. On 10 April 1559 he was admitted a student at Lincoln's Inn, where he was called to the bar on 15 Jan. 1567, was elected governor in 1575, and reader in Lent 1577. In 1580 he was made serjeant-at-law. In the parliaments of 1584–1586 and 1586–7 he was speaker of the House of Commons, being member successively for Carmarthen, Bedford, and Gatton, Surrey. In the former he committed, on 17 Dec. 1584, William Parry [q. v.] for opposing the bill excluding jesuits from the realm; in the latter, on the incrimination of the Queen of Scots by the Star-chamber commission, he presented to Elizabeth on 12 Nov. 1586 the resolutions of the commons in favour of her speedy execution. In both parliaments his speeches to the queen were couched in the most grandiloquent style of loyal adulation. While still speaker he was made queen's serjeant, and employed in unravelling the plots of Babington, Abington, and their confederates. In 1586 he joined the council of the Marches. His first appearance in court on the crown side was in Abington's case on 15 Sept. 1586. He also took part in the prosecution of William Davison (1541?–1608) [q. v.], of Sir Richard Knightley [q. v.], and of Philip Howard, first earl of Arundel of the Howard family [q. v.], besides acting as joint commissioner with Baron Clarke in the trial of the puritan John Udal [q. v.] in July 1590 and February 1590–1. While occupied in prosecuting at Westminster the late lord-deputy of Ireland, Sir John Perrot [q. v.], he was made lord keeper of the great seal on 28 April 1592, in succession to Sir Christopher Hatton [q. v.], and knignted. He took the lord-keeper's oaths and his seat in the court of chancery on 4 June, and delivered the queen's speech on the meeting of parliament on 19 Feb. 1592–3.

Puckering was a favourite with the queen, whom he entertained with prodigal magnificence at his villa at Kew on 11 Dec. 1591. His town residence was Russell House, between Charing Cross and the Temple. After a brief tenure of office, disgraced by a simoniacal disposal of ecclesiastical patronage—the guilt of which Camden imputes to his subordinates—he died at his villa at Kew on 30 April 1596. His remains were interred in St. Paul's Chapel, Westminster Abbey, where a costly monument was placed to his memory by his widow. Some manuscripts, transcribed by Thomas Baker [q. v.] from lost papers by Puckering, are in Harl. MS. 7042 [cf. arts. Marlowe, Christopher, and Penry, John]. Other of his papers are Egerton MSS. 2124 ff. 48–53, 2644, and Addit. MSS. 25246 and 32117.

By his wife, Jane, daughter of George Chowne of Kent, he had issue (with four daughters) three sons, of whom the two elder died in infancy. The third Sir Thomas Puckering (1592–1636), who was, between 1605 and 1610, the companion of Henry, prince of Wales, was M.P. for Tamworth from 1621 to 1628, and high sheriff of Warwickshire in 1625. In 1612 he was both knighted (3 June) and made a baronet (25 Nov.) He was a member of the North-West Passage Company. He was buried in 1636 in the church of St. Mary, Warwick, where an elaborate monument is extant. The baronetcy expired with him. By his wife Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir John Morley of Halnaker in Sussex, whom he married in 1616, he had three daughters, viz,: Frances, who died in infancy; Jane and Cecilia or Cicely, who died at the age of thirteen. The surviving daughter, Jane, died without issue in 1652, and on her death the estates devolved on Sir Henry Newton [q. v.], her father's nephew (Hamper's MS. notes to Dugdale's Warwickshire, ii. 404, in Brit. Mus.; Colvile, Warwickshire Worthies Brown, Genesis of the United States).

[Dugdale's Orig. pp. 253, 261, and Chron. Ser. p. 95; Strype's Works, ed. 1822; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1591–7 and Addenda, 1580–1625; Browne Willis's Not. Parl. iii. 99, 115; Cobbett's State Trials, i. 1143, 1233, 1281, 1327; Cobbett's Parl Hist. i. 822; Somers Tracts, i. 227, 232; Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, iii. 129–130, 252, 369, 452, 463; Camden's Annales regn. Eliz. ed. Hearne, pp. 541, 596, 641, 735–6; Sidney Papers, ed. Collins, i. 376; Nicolas's Sir Christopher Hatton, p. 482, and Davison, pp. 151, 313; Lysons's Environs of London, i. 204–5; Manning and Bray's Surrey, i. 446; Hasted's Kent, i. 35; Clutterbuck's Hertfordshire, ii. 516, 521; Norden's Essex (Camden Soc.), p. xvii; Nichols's Herald and Genealogist, iii. 450, 473; Neale's Westminster Abbey, ii. 179; Marshall's Genealogist, iv. 33; Howard's Misc. Gen. et Herald. ii. 101, 198, 2nd ser. i. 207; Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. pp. 127, 137, 160, 306; Harl. MS. 6164, ff. 51 b, 79, and 91; Spedding's Life of Francis Bacon; Foss's Lives of the Judges; Campbell's Lives of the Chancellors; Manning's Lives of the Speakers.]

J. M. R.