Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Rodes, Francis

RODES, FRANCIS (1530?–1588), judge, born about 1530, was son of John Rodes of Staveley Woodthorpe, Derbyshire, by his first wife, Attelina, daughter of Thomas Hewett of Wales in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The family traced its descent from Gerard de Rodes, a prominent baron in the reign of Henry II. Francis was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, but did not graduate. In 1549 he was entered at Gray's Inn, and in 1552 was called to the bar. He was Lent reader at his inn in 1566, and double reader in 1576, and seems to have derived a considerable fortune from his practice. In 1578 he was raised to the degree of the coif, and on 21 Aug. 1582 he was made queen's Serjeant. On 29 June 1585 he was raised to the bench as justice of the common pleas, and in October 1586 he took part in the trial of Mary Queen of Scots at Fotheringay. He died towards the end of 1588 at Staveley Woodthorpe. His will, dated 7 June 1587, was proved on 28 April 1591; among numerous other benefactions he made bequests to St. John's College, Cambridge, and the newly founded grammar school at Staveley Netherthorpe. His 'Reports' were among the manuscript collections of Sir John Maynard (1602-1690) [q. v.], and are now in Lincoln's Inn library (Hunter, Cat. of Lincoln's Inn MSS.) His principal seat was at Barlborough, Derbyshire, where he built the hall which is still standing; he also purchased extensive estates—Billingsley, Darfield, Great and Little Houghton, all in Yorkshire.

Rodes married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of Brian Sandford of Thorpe Salvine, Yorkshire; and, secondly, Mary, eldest daughter of Francis Charlton of Appley in Shropshire. Her sister Elizabeth married John Manners, fourth earl of Rutland, who appointed Rodes one of his executors. Rodes was succeeded in the Barlborough estates by his eldest son by his first wife, Sir John Rodes (1562-1639), whose son Francis (d. 1645) was created a baronet on 14 Aug. 1641. The title became extinct on the death of Sir John Rodes, fourth baronet, in 1743. Darfield and Great Houghton passed to the judge's eldest son by his second wife, Sir Godfrey Rodes (d. 1634), whose son, Sir Edward Rodes (1599-1666), served as sheriff of Yorkshire and colonel of horse under Cromwell; he was also a member of Cromwell's privy council, sheriff of Perthshire, and represented Perth in the parliaments of 1656-8 and 1659-1660. Sir Edward's sister Elizabeth was third wife of Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford. Her portrait, by an unknown hand, belongs to the Earl of Crewe, who also possesses a portrait of her father, Sir Godfrey Rodes.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i.35; Foss's Judges of England; Dugdale's Orig. Jurid. and Chron. Ser.; Collins's Peerage, i. 473; Wotton's Baronetage, ed. Kimber and Johnson, ii. 2.55; Burke's Extinct Baronets and Landed Gentry, ed. 1871; Lysons's Derbyshire; Hunter's South Yorkshire, ii. 129, 130; Strype's Annals, iii. 364; Foster's Gray's Inn Register, pp. x, 20, and Members of Parl. of Scotland; Familiæ Minorum Gentium (Harl. Soc.), pp. 38-9, 583-7; Genealogist, new ser. x. 246-8.]

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