Richard Tracy (1501-1569) Stanway, Gloucestershire, U. K.




RICHARD TRACY educated at Oxford, adm. 27 June 1515.

The following excerpt is from the History of Parliament:

“Richard Tracy’s background and early life doubtless resembled in most respects those of many young men of similar lineage. His family was an old established one in Gloucestershire, which its members had served both locally and at Westminster, his father a justice of the peace and sheriff. A younger son, Richard Tracy spent some time at Oxford before entering the Inner Temple, where if he made no mark on the professional side he was to work his way up as an administrator to the rank of governor


RICHARD TRACY at First Temple


RICHARD TRACY is Master of the revels, First Temple

RICHARD TRACY adm. First Temple, 6 July 1519


A Military Survey of Gloucestershire (1522), excerpts by WHB:

Slaughter Hundred; Broadwell: John Carter 20 lbs., p.88; Upper Slaughter: Richard Tracy 10 sh., p.96

Kiftsgate Hundred with Holford and Greston: p. 223; Westington: Richard Tracy, gent. 40 sh., p. 229; Toddington: William Tracy esq with lands there and other manors, 105 lb, goods 500 lbs., harness for three men.; The abbot of Hailes is rector there and the rectory is worth 8 lbs.; Henry Wyllys is vicar there and the vicarage is worth 8 lbs.; Richard Tracy (371v) a. William Carter


RICHARD TRACY elected to parliament, representing the constituency of Wootton Bassett [historically, a market town located in the North of Wiltshire].

The following excerpt is from the History of Parliament:

“The borough of Wootton Bassett, for which Tracy was returned to the Parliament of 1529, was to be represented by many men from across the nearby border, but his home near Winchcomb was rather distant for him to be accounted a local man: the same was true of his fellow-Member, Walter Winston, who lived at Randwick near Stroud.

Like two other Wiltshire boroughs, Devizes and Marlborough, Wootton Bassett formed part of the jointure of successive queens consort and this court connexion probably explains the appearance among its Members of men who had little, if any, personal connexion with it.

In the case of Tracy, the names of possible patrons include those of Sir Edward Baynton, a local magnate who besides securing his own election for the shire may have been influential in other boroughs, and Sir John Brydges, who was returned for Gloucestershire and whose marriage connexions with Tracy probably assisted his election.

If religious sympathy entered into the matter, Baynton’s incipient Protestantism would have made him a natural patron for the son of so doughty a reformist as William Tracy.


RICHARD TRACY holds the office of Butler 1530-1534

WILLIAM TRACY OF TODDINGTON, RICHARD TRACY’s father dies and leaves a controversial provision which in the following year is deemed heretical.

An excerpt from the History of Parliament:

“The elder Tracy’s death on 10 Oct. 1530 started a chain of events which were to have a profound effect on his son. The dead man had made a will in which he explicitly refused to bequeath anything ‘for that intent that any man shall say or do to help my soul’”


When WILLIAM TRACY’s will is proved, it was referred to the Convocation of Canterbury.

23 March 1531. The Convocation of Canterbury condemns WILLIAM TRACY’s will as heretical.

The following excerpt is from the History of Parliament:

“Dr. Thomas Parker, chancellor of Worcester, not only exhumed TRACY’s body, as he had been instructed to do, but burnt it at the stake, for which he needed, but did not obtain, the writ de heretico comburendo. The fine of £300 imposed on Parker was some retribution for this gruesome affair but the Church itself was to be the greatest loser.

Tracy became a Protestant hero and near-martyr, and his will—or what purported to be it—was circulated among the faithful and was published with a commentary by William Tyndale: even the orthodox Robert Joseph admitted that ‘Tracy has done more harm to the Christian religion in his death than by his pestiferous contentions before’.5

“Filial piety and reforming zeal combined to make RICHARD TRACY the protagonist in his father’s cause—his elder brother is never mentioned—and from his vantage-points of the Temple and Parliament he organized his campaign.

He had been present in Convocation when the verdict was given and it would be interesting to know if he tried to interest the Commons either in this or in its sequel.


According to the History of Parliament:

[O]n 15 Jan. 1533, shortly before setting out for London to attend the fifth session [of Parliament] (which began on 4 Feb.) [RICHARD TRACY] wrote, presumably from Gloucestershire, to an unamed friend, recounting the story and promising to explain the situation to [Thomas] Cromwell who, he had heard, was commissioned to investigate. Whether Cromwell was brought into the affair, or whether, as some versions suggest, even the King took it up, does not appear.

“Cromwell was of assistance to Tracy in other spheres and helped him to obtain several properties and leases: on 16 Feb., during the fifth session, the abbot of Tewkesbury agreed to the minister’s suggestion to grant him the manor of Stanway, which immediately became his home. Tracy’s name appears in several of Cromwell’s memoranda, and it is evident that the two men were close.


RICHARD TRACY holds the office of Steward 1535-1537

From the History of Parliament:

[RICHARD TRACY] sent [Thomas] Cromwell a discourse, which may have been of his own composing, on the evils of making lawyers bishops and the need to choose suitable preachers.


From The History of Parliament:

[P]resumably [RICHARD TRACY] served for Wootton Bassett in the following [Parliament], that of June 1536, when the King asked for the re-selection of the previous Members, and perhaps again in 1539 and 1542, for which Parliaments the names of the borough’s Members are lost.”

“When in the autumn of 1536 the north rebelled, TRACY was one of those gentlement in the west on whose loyalty the King felt he could rely, but in the even Tracy’s allegiance was never put to the test.


From the History of Parliament.

“[RICHARD TRACY] was named to the bench for Worcestershire, where he owned more land than in his own county, and from then on he cut a figure in local affairs, especially in religious matters for which he earned the praise of Bishop Latimer.


From the History of Parliament.

[RICHARD TRACY] served on the commission to examine a relic belonging to Hailes abbey which was adjudged spurious and entrusted to his care.

[RICHARD TRACY] was nominated, but not picked, as sheriff of Worcestershire, being passed over in favor of Robert Acton.


Thomas Cromwell loses favor with Henry VIII and is beheaded.

From the History of Parliament

[RICHARD TRACY’]s friendship with Cromwell led to his occasional presence at court and it was perhaps on such a visit that he witnessed the reception of Anne of Cleves. The fall of the minister did not harm Tracy’s career, although in the 1540s no trace of his presence at court has been found.

[RICHARD TRACY’]s first known work, The profe and declaration of thys proposition: Faith along justifieth was dedicated to Henry VIII, to whom he described himself as the ‘most simple of this your realm and yet one of the lively members of this your civil and politic body’.

Two more tracts, Of the Preparation to the Crosse and to Death dedicated to Cromwell in 1540.


The publication Supplycation to our most Soueraigne Lorde Kyng Henry the Eyght published are usually considered TRACY’s work and gained him some popularity.


The reformist bias in [RICHARD TRACY]’s writings of was not welcomed by the government [of Henry VIII] and in July 1546 his publications were banned, together with those of other Protestant authors.


RICHARD TRACY marries BARBARA LUCY, daughter of THOMAS LUCY of Charlecote, Warwickshire and ELIZABETH EMPSON, daughter of SIR RICHARD EMPSON of Easton Neston, Northants.


On the accession of Edward VI this ban [on RICHARD TRACY’s religious writings] lapsed, and in 1548 Tracy published A most godly enstruction and lesson and A bryef and short declaration made wherebye every Chrysten Man may knowe what is a Sacrament, in which he opposed transubstantiation.

His purpose was didactic, and according to his sympathisers he observed in his own life the principles that he advocated. His reputation as ‘an earnest favourer of all good and godly learning’ was generally praised, particularly by his protégé Bartholomew Traheron.8


RICHARD TRACY holds the office of Governor 1549-1550,


The year 1551 was an unhappy one for Tracy. On 10 May his friend Robert Keilway II was imprisoned in the Fleet for having concealed “a seditious and lewd message” fm, and a week later Tracy was himself committed to the Tower.


In February 1552 the attorney-general and John Throckmorton I were ordered to examine [RICHARD TRACY in the tower], but he was not released until the following 17 November and even then ordered to appear weekly before the Council.

This episode has been thought to have resulted from Tracy’s unfavourable estimate of the Earl of Warwick, but it may be more than a coincidence that several years later TRACY had to defend his title to a manor against one John Throckmorton.


[TRACY’s] religious views were to bring him to the notice of the Council during Mary’s reign, when he was removed from the bench for both Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

His avowed intention to conform met with some incredulity, and the Queen’s doubts were confirmed in September 1555 when the Council rebuked him for his behavior towards Bishop Brooks of Gloucester.

On this occasion TRACY reiterated his vowal and he probably did conform as no more is heard of his opposition and he is not known to have gone into exile.


RICHARD TRACY was in trouble with the Council once more before the reign was out, but this was for refusing to contribute towards the forced loan of 1557.


RICHARD TRACY must have welcomed the advent of Queen Elizabeth I (in November 1558). He was restored to his place on the bench.


RICHARD TRACY picked as Sheriff of Gloucestershire.


The new religious settlement was to disappoint RICHARD TRACY. He protested against the retention of a crucifix in the Queen’s chapel and warned Cecil of the dangers of idolatry.


RICHARD TRACY in a will made 6 March 59 provided from a debt owing him the marriage portions of his three daughters, Hester, Susan, and Judith, whose batismal names, like his sons’ reflect his devotion to the Bible.

His part of the lands of Clifford priory and certain unspecified lands recently purchased from the first Earl of Pembroke he dised upon his younger sons, Samuel and Nathaniel. He appointed his eldest son Paul exer and his cousin George Stratford overseer. TRACY died two days later, and the will was proved in the following month.

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