About James Button, MP
Family and Education b. aft. 1567,1 3rd s. of Miles Button (d. 22 Sept. 1597) of Dyffryn House, St. Nicholas, Glam. and Margaret, da. of Edward Lewis of Van, Glam.;2 bro. of Sir William*. m. by 1605, Anne, 4s. 3da.3 bur. 23 Apr. 1649.4 sig. Ja: Button.
Offices Held Att.(jt.), Sheriff’s Ct. Glam. 1592;5 bp. of Worcester’s collector by 1597-at least 1611,6 surveyor-gen. 1609;7 gov. and feoffee, Hartlebury g.s. Worcs. by 1608-at least 1638.8
?Gent. of the privy chamber (extraordinary) to Prince Henry by c.1611.9
Biography The younger son of a Glamorganshire j.p.,10 Button followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and namesake, James Button of Worlton, surveyor and auditor-general of the bishop of Llandaff.11 Button was the bishop of Worcester’s revenue collector by 1597, the year in which Gervase Babington was installed as bishop. Significantly, Babington had earlier served as bishop of Llandaff.12
As the bishop’s collector, Button resided in Worcester, where he was still living in 1602.13 Thereafter he settled in Hartlebury, outside Bewdley, the residence of the bishops of Worcester, where his son Thomas was baptized in May 1605.14 Button enjoyed an income of more than £40 a year, but in 1608 he was investigated in the Exchequer for allegedly embezzling £5 from the clerical subsidy. His brother, Sir William, defended him, arguing that there had been a mistake, and pointed to his exemplary service.15 Button’s career does not appear to have been harmed by the Exchequer investigation, for in November 1609 he was appointed surveyor-general of the bishop’s lands. Following the death of Babington in May 1610, he was accused, with Babington’s widow and son, of colluding to hold back books apparently promised to the dean and chapter.16 However he remained in the employ of the new bishop.17 He may have been the ‘Mr. Button’ who served as a gentleman of Prince Henry’s privy chamber extraordinary in about 1611, but if so there is no evidence that he held Court office after Henry’s death in 1612.
Button probably owed his election for Bewdley in 1614 to his brother Sir William, a client of the 1st earl of Suffolk. The latter was one of the treasury commissioners, and as such may have exercised some influence at Bewdley, a royal manor. It is also possible that Button was assisted by the bishop, since Hartlebury lay close to Bewdley, and Ralph Clare*, the keeper of Bewdley Park, was subsequently one of Button’s executors.18 Button does not appear in any of the records of the Addled Parliament.
By April 1641 Button was resident at Broadwater, in the parish of Kidderminster.19 He made his will on 18 Feb. 1649 and was buried in St. Mary, Kidderminster on 23 April. An inventory of his goods, taken on 1 May, valued his personal possessions at £40 17s. 8d.20 None of Button’s descendants sat in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629 Authors: Glyn Redworth / Ben Coates Notes 1. Button’s elder bro. Sir William matric. at New Coll., Oxf. aged 19 in 1586. Al. Ox. 2. W. Berry, Hants Genealogies, 34-5; IGI (Worlton, Glam.); Glam. Peds. ed. T. Phillipps, 34. 3. Worcs. RO, MF135/1, Hartlebury par. reg.; Worcs. RO, Consist. Ct. wills etc. 1649, no. 8. 4. Worcs. RO, MF158/2, Kidderminster par. reg. 5.CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 180. 6. E179/59/245; E401/2416. 7. Worcester Cathedral Lib., dean and chapter regs. A7 (vii), ff. 63-4. 8.Old Order Bk. of Hartlebury G.S. ed. D. Robertson (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1904), pp. 36, 60. 9. SP14/67/147. 10.JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 287-90; List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 257. 11. PROB 11/95, f. 186; Cardiff Recs. ed. J.H. Matthews, ii. 278. 12.CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 470. 13. E115/66, f. 45. 14. Worcs. RO, MF135/1, Hartlebury par. reg. 15. SP14/37/94. 16. REQ 2/397/59. 17.CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 502. 18.VCH Worcs. iv. 309; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 358; Worcs. RO, Consist. Ct. wills etc. 1649, no. 8. 19. E115/18/62. 20. Worcs. RO, Consist. Ct. wills etc. 1649, no. 8.