Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/449

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


POLITICAL HISTORY For the history of the reign of Elizabeth in Surrey very full mate- rials exist, owing partly to the official greatness of the two lords lieu- tenant who ruled throughout the reign. The high positions filled by the two Lords Howard of Effingham in the queen's Government, for both were privy councillors, both on occasions ambassadors, the former Lord Privy Seal for a year, the latter for many years Lord High Admiral, resulted in the devolution of some of their work upon deputy lieutenants. This caused the preservation for us in the Loseley papers of records of the administration of a county under the Tudors. Sir Christopher More of Loseley had been one of those country gentlemen, below the higher ranks of the nobility, in whom Henry VIII. preferred to place his confidence. He was justice of the peace for Surrey when justices were not so common as they now are, ulnager l for Surrey and Sussex, and a verderer of Windsor Forest. He was also Remembrancer of the Exchequer. He died in 1549, and was succeeded in his local offices by his son, who became Sir William, and was also deputy lieutenant of the county from 1569, twice sheriff of Surrey and Sussex, and vice-admiral of Sussex. Sir William also represented both the county and Guildford, and once Reigate, in Parlia- ment at different times. Towards the end of Elizabeth's reign his son, Sir George as he became, was associated with him as deputy lieutenant in 1596. Another favourite of Henry in the county had been Sir Thomas Cawarden, Master of the Revels, who died in 1559," and to whom Sir William More was executor. Cawarden was steward and collector of various royal manors in Surrey, and custodian, with the reversion of the fee-simple, of Blechingley, where the ex-queen Anne of Cleves sometimes lived, 3 more tranquil though less eminent than she would have been at Whitehall and Windsor. The Council and the lords lieutenant were in constant communication with these men upon the affairs of the county and upon the application of general measures of administration to their district. In these letters and warrants the varied political life of a sixteenth century county is abundantly illus- trated. What strikes us at once is how very much the county was governed, and by how simple a machinery it was done. The Home Office, the Local Government Board, the Education Department, the Charity Commissioners, the Board of Agriculture, and sometimes the County and District Councils of to-day, were all represented then by the one undelegated authority of the Lords of the Council, who cer- tainly needed all the 'grace, wisdom and understanding' which they could get to discharge their rigorously careful functions. The local magnates are required by them to take care that fit persons, well-dis- posed to the Government, are returned as county and borough members. 1 Examiner of cloth and collector of the duties on cloth. Practically the superintendent of the most important industry of the counties after iron. 3 Just after the session of Parliament closed. 3 She retired first to Richmond. She was deprived of that by Edward VI. in 1548. In 1553 she wrote to Mary from Blechingley. 379