Stanhope, Michael (DNB00)

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STANHOPE, Sir MICHAEL (d. 1552), partisan of the Protector Somerset, second son of Sir Edward Stanhope (d. 1511) by his first wife, Avelina, daughter of Sir Gervase Clifton of Clifton, Nottinghamshire, was descended from an ancient Nottinghamshire family, several members of which had been knighted and had frequently represented the shire in parliament in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. His father was one of the leaders of the army that vanquished Simnel's adherents at Stoke in 1487; he also fought against the Cornish rebels at Blackheath in 1497, and by his second wife was father of Anne, duchess of Somerset [see Seymour, Edward, first Duke of Somerset]. On the death of the elder son, Richard, without male issue, on 21 Jan. 1528-9, Michael succeeded to the family estates. Soon afterwards he entered the service of Henry VIII, and early in 1537 he was placed on the commission of the peace for Nottinghamshire. He benefited largely by the dissolution of the monasteries, his principal grants being Shelford priory, rectory, and manor and the priory of Lenton, both in Nottinghamshire (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, vols. xii. xiii. passim). On 17 Feb. 1541-2 he was appointed lieutenant of Kingston-upon-Hull (Tickell, pp. 186 sqq.), and from that date till the end of the reign he was actively employed in making arrangements for the wars on the border and various expeditions into Scotland (Hamilton Papers, vol. i. passim; Acts P. C. 1542-1547 passim). On 5 Jan. 1544-5 he was returned to parliament as knight of the shire of Nottingham. Soon after Edward VI's accession Stanhope was knighted and appointed chief gentleman of the privy chamber and deputy to his brother-in-law, the Protector, in the governorship of the young king. On 10 Oct. 1547 he was again elected to parliament for Nottinghamshire, and he also received a grant of the keepership of Windsor park and governorship of Hull. Two years later he lost all his appointments on the Protector's fall, and was sent to the Tower (12 Oct. 1549). On 17 Feb. 1549-50, at a thin meeting of the council with Warwick absent, his release was ordered, but it was countermanded on the following day, and he was not set at liberty until he acknowledged a debt of 3000l. to the king (22 Feb.) Early in the following year he was reappointed governor of Hull, in which capacity he came into frequent collision with the mayor and townsmen (Tickell, pp. 214 et sqq.) On 18 May 1551 he was released from his recognisances, but on 17 Oct. following he was again sent to the Tower on a charge of conspiring against Northumberland's life. He remained in prison until after Somerset's execution, and on 27 Jan. 1551-2 he was tried on a charge of felony, apparently under the act passed by Northumberland's influence in the parliament of 1549-50 (Statutes of the Realm, iv. i. 104). Stanhope was no doubt implicated in Somerset's endeavours to supplant Northumberland, but there is no evidence that he aimed at taking the duke's life (Baga de Secretis, pouch xx; cf. Deputy-Keeper of the Records, 4th Rep. App. ii. 230-2). He was condemned and sentenced to be hanged, but the sentence was commuted, and he was beheaded on Tower Hill, 26 Feb., stoutly maintaining his innocence. An act confirming his attainder was passed on 12 April following (Lords' Journals, i. 425). An anonymous three-quarter-length portrait of Stanhope belongs to Mr. Sewallis Evelyn Shirley.

Stanhope's widow, Anne, daughter of Nicholas Rawson of Aveley, Essex, was allowed to retain the priory of Shelford during life. She died on 20 Feb. 1587-8 (see Archæologia, xxxi. 212-4), and was buried in Shelford church, where there are monuments to her and her husband. She left, among other issue: (1) Sir Thomas Stanhope (d. 1596), father of Sir John Stanhope (1560-1611), who was father of Philip Stanhope, first earl of Chesterfield [q. v.]; (2) John, first baron Stanhope [q. v.], and two sons named Edward who are confused by Strype [see Stanhope, Sir Edward, d. 1608]. From a daughter, Jane, who married Roger Townshend, were descended the viscounts Townshend.

[Authorities quoted; Cal. State Papers, Dom.; Lit. Remains of Edward VI (Roxburghe Club); Machyn's Diary (Camden Soc.); Acts of the Privy Council, 1542-53; Cal. Hatfield MSS. vol. i.; Strype's Works; Holinshed's Chron. ed. Hooker, iii. 1081; Stow's Annals, p. 607; State Papers, Henry VIII, vols. i. v.; Off. Ret. Members of Parl.; Tytler's Edward VI and Mary, ii. 13, 19, 44, 46-7, 50, 74; Collins's Peerage, iii. 300 et sqq.; Brown's Nottinghamshire Worthies, pp. 108-9; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. v. 516, vi. 38.1]

A. F. P.