Sir Christopher DANBY

(High Sheriff of Yorkshire)

Born: 1 Oct 1503, Yorkshire, England

Died: 14 Jun 1571

Father: Christopher DANBY (Sir)

Mother: Margaret SCROPE

Married: Elizabeth NEVILLE ABT 1520, Yorkshire, England


1. Elizabeth DANBY

2. Joan DANBY

3. Mary DANBY

4. Thomas DANBY (High Sheriff)

5. Christopher DANBY (b. ABT 1540)

6. John DANBY

7. William DANBY

8. James DANBY

9. Marmaduke DANBY

10. Dorothy DANBY

11. Magdalen DANBY

12. Margaret DANBY

13. Margery DANBY

14. Anne DANBY

The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

First son of Sir Christopher Danby of Thorpe Perrow by Margaret, dau. and event. coheiress of Thomas, 5th Lord Scrope of Masham. Married by 1531, Elizabeth, dau. of Richard Neville, 2nd Lord Latimer. Suc. family 17 May 1518. Kntd. 25 May 1533. J.p. Yorks. (W. Riding) 1538-45, (N. Riding) 1538-45, 1558/59-d.; commr. musters (N. Riding) 1539, benevolence (N. Riding) 1544/45, relief (N. Riding) 1550; sheriff, Yorks. 1545/6.

For one so well endowed and connected Christopher Danby was to live a relatively obscure life. Among the earlier references to him are those of his securing exemption from serving on juries or as sheriff in Nov 1532, and of his being released from the shrievalty when he was pricked in 1543 after nominations in 1538 and 1539; he did, however, serve as a juror in 1537, join the bench in 1538 and other commissions thereafter, and become sheriff in 1545. His knighthood presents a not dissimilar pattern, for it was only after being fined for not having been knighted that he was dubbed at the coronation of Anne Boleyn.

Danby was momentarily involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace. On 15 Oct 1536 the lords at Pontefract castle reported that he and his brother-in-law Sir John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer, had been taken by the rebels; both men managed to extricate themselves and Danby, in the Duke of Norfolk's phrase, showed himself a true subject by acting as a grand juror in the trials of his less fortunate colleagues, including his cousin Lord Darcy. His own survival of the crisis was marked by his entry upon local administration and by his association with the defence of Berwick. Some years later he was listed among the few Yorkshire knights fit to serve against the Scots, and in 1544 he was charged with raising 50 or 100 men for the Scottish campaign.

In 1538 Danby engaged in a scheme to exchange his lands in Kent and Suffolk, part of the Scrope inheritance, with the King and Cromwell for Yorkshire lands. In May of that year Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland, asked Cromwell to ensure that, in view of the intended marriage between his daughter Mary and Danby's son Thomas, the new lands should descend to Thomas Danby as the old were to have done. In the event nothing seems to have come of the proposed exchange. It seems that Danby himself might have been ennobled, for Sir William Paget named him as one of the men whom Henry VIII chose on his deathbed to be ‘advanced’: if so, it would probably have been because of his connexion with Queen Catherine Parr, who had been the wife of the 3rd Lord Latimer. Nothing has been discovered about Danby's attitude towards the religious changes of these years but in view of his Catholicism in later life he is likely to have been more at ease under Mary than under Edward VI. It was then that he had his only spell in Parliament as junior knight for Yorkshire with Sir William Babthorpe, although his part in the proceedings has left no trace.

After 1558 Danby was again a dissentient. Listed among the justices who were accounted ‘no favourers of religion’ in 1564, in Nov of the following year he was in some trouble with both the council in the north and the Privy Council. His younger son Christopher was, in the words of Sir Thomas Gargrave, ‘one of the chief rebels for religion’ in 1569, as was a son-in-law, Sir John Neville of Liversedge, Yorkshire. Danby made his will on 27 Mar 1568 and died on 14 Jun 1571. His son and heir Sir Thomas Danby was then over 40 years old.


J. T. Cliffe, Yorks. Gentry

H. H. Leonard, ‘Knights and knighthood in Tudor England (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1970)

R. B. Smith, Land and Politics
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