Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Whalley, Richard

WHALLEY, RICHARD (1499?–1583), politician, born about 1499, was the only son and heir of Thomas Whalley of Kirkton, Nottinghamshire, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Strelley of Woodborough in the same county. He was no doubt related to the Whalley of Screveton who was physician to Henry VII, and some of whose medical receipts are extant in the Bodleian (Rawlinson MS. A 393, f. 72). He is also said to have been related to Protector Somerset. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, but does not seem to have taken a degree. He was introduced at court, where he ingratiated himself with Henry VIII by his grace and skill in martial exercises; he was one of the ‘young gentlemen’ who attended Sir Thomas Lovell's funeral on 25 May 1524, and three years later seems to have been employed by Cromwell in business relating to monasteries dissolved by Wolsey (Letters and Papers, iv. 150, Nos. 5835, 5849, 6033). In 1536 he was engaged in visiting lesser monasteries in Leicestershire, and on 9 July 1538 he was placed on the commission of the peace for the North Riding of Yorkshire. He also practised law, and was paid twenty shillings for his services as counsel at the York sessions during the trial of the northern rebels. On 26 Feb. 1538–9 he was granted the site of the dissolved Welbeck Abbey and other lands, and on 25 July 1546 he obtained the manor of Sibthorp.

During the protectorate of Somerset Whalley appears to have shared with Sir John Thynne [q. v.] the office of steward to the duke, a position which, coupled with his intriguing disposition, brought him into prominence. On 17 Oct. 1547 he was returned to parliament as member for Scarborough, and he was appointed a commissioner of chantries under the act passed that year (Leach, English Schools, p. 282); he was also crown receiver for Yorkshire. In April 1549 Cecil requested his aid in obtaining the grant of Wimbledon manor, which Queen Catherine Parr had held for her lifetime, but Whalley secured it for himself (Tytler, i. 276–7, misdated 1550). He was one of the Protector's adherents whom Sir Anthony Wingfield [q. v.] was directed to arrest at Windsor on 10 Oct. 1549, but he had on the previous day been sent by Somerset to the duchess at Beddington, and he used the respite to convey a goodly portion of the duke and duchess's goods to his own house at Wimbledon. On 25 Jan. 1549–1550 he and Cecil were bound in recognisances of a thousand marks. Warwick now sought to enlist Whalley's, as he did Cecil's, support, and in the following June warned him against Somerset's endeavours to regain his position (ib. ii. 21–4, misdated 1551). Whalley, however, remained faithful for the time, and in February 1550–1 was engaged in promoting a movement among the nobility for restoring Somerset to the protectorship; in the event of success Somerset is improbably said to have intended creating Whalley earl of Nottingham; a patent is even stated to have been made out (Noble, House of Cromwell, ii. 138). Whalley's intrigue came to the notice of the council, and on 16 Feb. he was committed to the Fleet prison. He was released on 2 April, but was bound in the heavy sum of a thousand pounds. On 18 Oct. following, two days after Somerset's second arrest, Whalley was sent to the Tower. He was repeatedly examined with a view to procuring evidence against Somerset, and his fidelity broke down under the pressure put upon him. At the Protector's trial on 1 Dec. Whalley was one of the principal witnesses against him (Harl. MS. 2194). Perhaps as a reward Whalley himself was not brought to trial, but he remained in the Tower until June 1552, when he was forced to surrender his receivership and fined to such an extent that he had to part with Welbeck, Wimbledon, and other manors (Lodge, Illustrations, i. 170, misdated 1551). On 19 Sept. following he was once more sent to the Tower on a charge of peculation; according to Edward VI, Whalley confessed to these misdemeanours, but that his offences were chiefly political seems probable from the fact that he was released immediately upon Queen Mary's accession (6 Aug. 1553).

In the parliament that met on 2 April 1554, Whalley sat for East Grinstead; on 29 Oct. following and on 30 Sept. 1555 he was returned for Nottinghamshire. He instituted a suit in the court of exchequer for his restoration to the receivership of Yorkshire, but the privy council intervened on 19 Feb. 1555–6, and decided against him on the ground of his surrender in June 1552. On 3 July 1561, however, Elizabeth granted him the manors of Whatton, Hawksworth, and Towton, and he is said to have been very rich when he died at the age of eighty-four on 23 Nov. 1583. He was buried in Screveton church, where his widow raised a fine alabaster monument to his memory (figured in Thoroton, Nottinghamshire, i. 250). In 1543 Robert Recorde [q. v.] dedicated to Whalley his ‘Grounde of Artes.’

Whalley was thrice married, and is said to have had twenty-five children. His eldest son predeceased him in 1582, and he was succeeded by his grandson Richard, who was sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1595–1596, knight of the shire in 1597, married as his second wife Frances, daughter of Sir Henry Cromwell, and was father of Colonel Edward Whalley [q. v.]

[Letters and Papers of Henry VIII; Roll of Somerset's Expenses (Egerton MS. 2815); Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80; Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. v. 56, 66, 111, 124; Hatfield MSS. i. 95–6; Acts P.C. ed. Dasent; Ellis's Orig. Letters, I. ii. 173; Lit. Rem. of Edward VI (Roxburghe Club); Machyn's Diary; Narr. of the Reformation, Wriothesley's Chron., Troubles connected with the Prayer Book and Visit. of Huntingdonshire (Camden Soc.); Visit. of Nottinghamshire (Harl. Soc.), p. 117; Richmondshire Wills (Surtees Soc.), p. 79; Off. Ret. Memb. Parl.; Thoroton's Nottinghamshire, vol. i.; Hayward's Edward VI; Burnet's Hist. ed. Pocock; Strype's Eccl. Mem.; Noble's House of Cromwell, ii. 135–40; Tytler's Hist. of Edward VI and Mary; Froude's Hist.; Cooper's Athenæ, i. 116, 544; Brown's Nottinghamshire Worthies, pp. 107–8.]

A. F. P.