Warburton, Peter (1540?-1621) (DNB00)

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WARBURTON, Sir PETER (1540?–1621), judge, only son of Thomas Warburton (natural son of John, fourth son of Sir Geoffrey Warburton of Arley, Cheshire) by his wife Anne, daughter of Richard Maisterson of Nantwich, Cheshire, was born at Northwich in the same county about 1540. He passed his legal novitiate at Staple Inn, and was admitted on 2 May 1562 student at Lincoln's Inn, where he was called to the bar on 2 Feb. 1571–2, and was elected bencher on 3 Feb. 1581–2, and Lent reader in 1583. He served the office of sheriff of Cheshire in 1583, and was appointed queen's attorney for that and the adjoining county of Lancaster on 19 May 1592, in October of which year he was also placed on the commission for enforcing the laws against recusancy. On 8 July 1593 he was elected vice-chamberlain of Chester, which city he represented in the parliaments of 1586–7, 1588–9, and 1597–8. On 29 Nov. 1593 he was called to the degree of serjeant-at-law. He was a member of the special commission for the suppression of schism appointed on 24 Nov. 1599, and was provided with a puisne judgeship in the court of common pleas on 24 Nov. 1600. He went the Oxford circuit (see the curious details of his expenses printed in Camden Miscellany, vol. iv.), was continued in office on the accession of James I, and knighted at Whitehall on 23 July 1603. He assisted at the trial of Essex (19–25 Feb. 1600–1), and tried the ‘Bye’ conspirators [see Markham, Sir Griffin] and Sir Walter Ralegh (15–17 Nov. 1603), and was a member of the special commissions that did justice on the plotters of the gunpowder treason (27 Jan. 1605–6). He was appointed by commission of 20 Jan. 1610–11 to hear causes in chancery with Sir Edward Phelips [q. v.] and Sir David Williams [q. v.] In the conference on the royal message touching the commendam case, on 27 April 1616, he joined with Coke and the rest of his colleagues in denying the right of the king to stay proceedings, but afterwards ate his own words in the royal presence [see Coke, Sir Edward]. That his temper, however, was not wholly subservient is shown by the fact that in the following October he was in disgrace for having presumed to hang a Scottish falconer contrary to the king's express command. He was soon restored to favour, and on 9 Aug. 1617 was nominated of the council in the Welsh marches. By successive investments of his professional gains he gradually acquired considerable landed estate in his native county. His residence was for some years Black Hall, Watergate Street, Cheshire, a house formerly belonging to the grey friars. In his later days he removed to his manor of Grafton, in the parish of Tilston, where he died on 7 Sept. 1621. His remains were interred in Tilston church.

Warburton married thrice: first (on 4 Oct. 1574), Margaret, sole daughter of George Barlow of Dronfield Woodhouse, Derbyshire; secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Butler of Bewsey, Warrington, Lancashire; thirdly, Alice, daughter of Peter Warburton of Arley, Cheshire. By his second and third wives he had no issue; by his first wife he had two daughters, Elizabeth—who married Sir Thomas Stanley of Alderley, ancestor of the present Lord Stanley of Alderley—and Margaret, who died in infancy.

[Visitation of Cheshire, 1580 (Harl. Soc.), pp. 238, 240; Lincoln's Inn Records; Dugdale's Orig. pp. 253, 261; Chron. Ser. p. 99; Ormerod's Cheshire, ed. Helsby, i. 60, 69, 74, 219, ii. 704; Hist. MSS. Comm. Cal. Hatfield MSS. iv. 240, 522, v. 277, 13th Rep. App. iv. 254, 14th Rep. App. viii. 85; Index to Remembrancia, p. 452; Members of Parliament (Official Lists); Nichols's Progresses, James I, i. 207; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1602–18, and Addenda, 1580–1625; Cobbett's State Trials, i. 1334, ii. 1, 62, 159; Whitelocke's Liber Famelicus (Camden Soc.), pp. 62, 97; Spedding's Life of Bacon, v. 360; Rymer's Fœdera, ed. Sanderson, xvi. 386; Documents connected with the History of Ludlow and the Lords Marchers, p. 244; Genealogist, new ser. ed. Harwood, xii. 162, ed. Murray, vii. 6; Foss's Lives of the Judges.]

J. M. R.