Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Drury, Robert (d.1536)

DRURY, Sir ROBERT (d. 1536), speaker of the House of Commons, eldest son of Roger Drury, lord of the manor of Hawsted, Suffolk, by Felicia, daughter and heir of William Denton of Besthorpe, Norfolk, was educated at the university of Cambridge, and probably at Gonville Hall. He figures with his father as commissioner of array for Suffolk in 1487 (Materials for the Reign of Henry VII, Rolls Ser., ii. 135). He was a barrister-at-law and a member of Lincoln's Inn, being mentioned in the list preserved by Dugdale among the ‘governors’ of that society in 1488–9, 1492–3, and 1497 (Orig. 258), but the date of his admission is uncertain. On 17 Oct. 1495 he was elected speaker of the House of Commons, being then knight of the shire for Suffolk (Rot. Parl. vi. 459). This parliament produced many private acts and one public statute of importance, whereby it was enacted that ‘no person going with the king to the wars shall be attaint of treason’ (11 Hen. VII, c. i.). Bacon characterises this measure as ‘rather just than legal and more magnanimous than provident,’ but praises it as ‘wonderful, pious, and noble’ (Bacon's Works, Literary and Professional, ed. Spedding, i. 159). In 1501 he obtained from Pope Alexander VI a license to have a chapel in his house, ‘the parish church being a mile distant and the road subject to inundations and other perils.’ On 29 Aug. 1509 he attested the document whereby Henry VIII renewed his father's treaty with Scotland, and he was also one of the commissioners appointed to receive the oath of the Scottish king and to treat for the redress of wrongs done on the border (Rymer, Fœdera, xiii. 262, 263, 264). On 12 March 1509–10 he obtained a license to impark two thousand acres of land, and to fortify his manors in Suffolk (Letters and Papers … Henry VIII, i. 143). Between June 1510 and February 1512–13 inclusive he was engaged with various colleagues in the attempt to pacify the Scottish border by peaceful methods, and to obtain redress for wrongs committed (Rymer, Fœdera, xiii. 276, 301, 346). He witnessed the marriage of the Princess Mary on 9 Oct. 1514 (Letters and Papers … Henry VIII, i. 898), was appointed knight for the body in 1516 (ib. vol. ii. pt. i. p. 872), was one of a commission appointed to examine suspects arrested in the district of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields in July 1519 (ib. vol. iii. pt. i. p. 129), was present on the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520, and on 10 July of the same year was in attendance on the king when he met the Emperor Charles at Gravesend (ib. 241, 243, 326). In 1521 he was a commissioner for perambulating and determining the metes and bounds of the town of Ipswich (ib. 469). In 1522 he was in attendance on the king at Canterbury (ib. 967). In 1523 and 1524 he was chief commissioner for the collection of the subsidy in Suffolk and town of Ipswich, and in 1524 he was a commissioner for the collection of the loan for the French war (ib. 1365, 1366, 1457, vol. iv. pt. i. pp. 82, 238). He is mentioned in 1526 as one of the legal or judicial committee of the privy council, ranking in point of precedence next after Sir Thomas More (ib. pt. iii. 3096). In 1530 he was one of the commissioners of gaol delivery for Ipswich (ib. 2919), was appointed commissioner of sewers for Suffolk in December 1534, and died on 2 March 1535–6 (ib. vii. 596, viii. 75). He was buried in St. Mary's Church, Bury St. Edmunds, under a stone monument, the wooden palisade of the tomb bearing the inscription, ‘Such as ye be some time were we, such as we are such shall ye be. Miserere nostri.’ Drury married twice. By his first wife, Anne, daughter of Sir William Calthorpe, knight, of Burnham-Thorpe, Norfolk, he had issue (besides daughters) Sir William Drury, who succeeded him at Hawsted, and Sir Robert Drury of Hedgerley, Buckinghamshire, father of Sir William Drury [q. v.], lord president of Munster, and of Sir Dru Drury [q. v.] By his second wife, Anne, relict of Edward, lord Grey, he had no issue.

[Cullum's Hawsted, pp. 131, 142, 145; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 56; Manning's Lives of the Speakers.]

J. M. R.