tor-general, having previously held the attorney-generalship to the Duchy of Lancaster and the court of wards, and after the death in 1566 of the speaker of the House of Commons, John Williams, Onslow was early in October chosen to fill his place. He did not wish to be speaker, urging various technical objections—his attendance as member of the council at the sittings of the House of Lords, and his own unworthiness—but his wishes were overruled. He had considerable difficulties to face. The commons at once began to debate the question of the succession and the queen's marriage (Parl. Hist. i. 708–10); but the parliament was dissolved early in the following year. Before the next parliament was called, having paid a visit to Shrewsbury early in April 1571, he was seized at the house of his uncle Humphrey Onslow, then bailiff of the town, with a pestilential fever, and, though he was removed to Harnage, he died five days afterwards. He was buried in St. Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, on 8 April 1571. There is a monument to his memory in the church. In London he lived at the Blackfriars convent, of which he had had a grant from the queen. Onslow married, 7 Aug. 1559, Catherine, daughter of Richard Harding of Knoll, Surrey, with whom he acquired the Knoll estate, which continued in his family. By her he had two sons, Robert and Edward, and five daughters. Of the sons, Robert died unmarried; Edward was knighted at some uncertain time, married Isabel, daughter of Sir Thomas Shirley of Preston Place, Sussex, and died 2 April 1615. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Thomas, who, dying without issue in December 1616, was succeeded by his brother Sir Richard Onslow the parliamentarian [q. v.], who is separately noticed.
Onslow was a very learned lawyer (cf. Pycroft, Introd.), and has been assumed to be the author of the ‘Arguments relating to Sea Landes and Salt Shores’ which has been edited by J. W. Pycroft, London, 1855, 4to. The original forms Lansdowne MS. C. 6. Others of Onslow's opinions will be found in Lansdowne viii. 64 and x. 39.
[Manning's Lives of the Speakers, p. 230; Visitation of Shropshire (Harl. Soc.), p. 378; Manning and Bray's Hist. of Surrey, i. 536, iii. 54, &c.; Owen and Blakeway's Hist. of Shrewsbury, ii. 167; Strype's Parker, pp. 302–3; Ret. of Members of Parl. i. 398, 406; Book of Dignities; Acts of the Privy Council, 1558–70; Cal. of State Papers, Dom. 1547–80.]
ONSLOW, Sir RICHARD (1601–1664), parliamentary colonel, descended of an ancient family settled at Onslow, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, was second son and heir of Edward Onslow, knight, of Knoll, Surrey and Isabel, daughter of Sir Thomas Shirley of Preston Place, Sussex. Richard Onslow (1528–1571) [q. v.] was his grandfather (Surrey Archæological Collections, vol. iii. appendix; Harl. MS. 1430, f. 35). Onslow the grandson succeeded to the family estate of Knoll on the death without issue of his elder brother, Sir Thomas, in 1616. He was knighted at Theobalds in June 1624, served as knight of the shire for Surrey in the parliament of 1628, and was appointed justice for the county (State Papers, Dom. 13 Feb. 1633–4, cclx. 58). In November 1638 he was one of the deputy-lieutenants of Surrey.
He sat for Surrey in both the Short and the Long parliaments, and, on the outbreak of the civil war, became a strong parliamentarian, raising a regiment of his own by command of the commons (Whitelocke, p. 87). In August 1642 he forcibly seized at Kingston Justice Mallet, who was on the point of adjourning the sessions and repairing to the king (Lords' Journals, v. 264; Commons' Journals, ii. 704). He was appointed one of the sequestrators for the county of Surrey in 1643, and at the siege of Basing House in May 1644 he was one of the colonels in command (Clarendon, viii. 123; State Papers, Dom. vols. dii. and diii. passim). On 1 July 1645 the commons ordered him a payment of 400l. out of the excise for money advanced to Sir William Waller's lifeguard (Commons' Journals, iv. 191; Lords' Journals, viii. 469). The tradition that he lay for a time under suspicion of privately sending money to the king originated in the invectives of the poet George Wither. In his office as justice of the peace for the county, Onslow had quarrelled with Wither, whom he deposed from the command of the militia in the east and middle division of Surrey (August 1644), and later from the commission of peace. In his ‘Justiciarius Justificatus,’ Wither assailed him in consequence with great irony (State Papers, Dom. dii. 9). Complaints of the book, made in the House of Commons on 10 April 1646, were referred to a committee; and on 7 Aug. it was voted that the insinuations were false and scandalous, and that the poet should pay 500l. damages, and have his book burned at Guildford (Commons' Journals, iv. 505, 531, 639; Whitelocke, 223).
Sir Richard was one of the forty-eight members secluded by the army on 5 Dec. 1648 (Dugdale, Short View, pp. 362–3). He was, however, nominated colonel of a regiment in 1651 (State Papers, Dom. Interreg. i. 48), and sat with his eldest son, Arthur, as knight of the shire in the two parliaments of Cromwell, 3 Sept. 1654 and 17 Sept.