SADLER (or SADLEIR), SIR RALPH (1507-1587), English statesman, the son of Henry Sadler, steward of the manor of Cilney, near Great Hadham, Hertfordshire, was born at Hackney, Middlesex, in 1507. While a child he was placed in the family of Thomas Cromwell, afterwards earl of Essex, whose secretary he eventually became. Between 1525 and 1529 his patron's letters are full of Sadler's name in connexion with Cardinal Wolsey's suppression of the monasteries; this probably brought him under the king's notice, for in 1536 he was made gentleman of the privy chamber, and from that time was continually employed by Henry VIII. In 1537 Sadler went first to Scotland to try to reconcile Margaret to her son King James V., and then to France on the same mission to James himself. He seems to have been successful, and was again in Scotland in. 1540 trying to induce the king to follow his uncle's ecclesiastical policy. In or about January 1 540, he was made secretary of state along with Sir Thomas Wriothesly, and was knighted, probably about the same time. On James V.'s death Sadler again went to Scotland (March 1543) to negotiate a marriage between prince Edward and his cousin Mary; he was unsuccessful, but still retained Henry's confidence. On Henry's death in 1547, Sadler was by his will made one of the councillors to the sixteen noblemen entrusted with the young king's guardianship. In the same year he was appointed treasurer to the army sent to Scotland, and for his services in rallying the repulsed cavalry at the battle of Musselburgh or Pinkie, he was created a knightbanneret. He also received many grants of land, including the manor of Standon in Hertfordshire, where he built a magnificent house in 1546. When Mary ascended the throne he retired, living quietly till Elizabeth's accession. He issued the writs for the privy council meeting at Hatfield on the 20th of November 1558, and during the first year of the queen's reign he once more became a privy councillor. He sat in the parliament of January 1558-1559 as member for Hertford, which he had already represented in 1541, 1542 and 1553. Not long afterwards his strong Protestant sympathies and his acquaintance with Scotch affairs induced Elizabeth to send him (1559) to Scotland, ostensibly to settle the border disputes, but in reality to secure a union with the Protestant party there, and he was largely instrumental in bringing about the treaty of Leith, July 6th, 1560. In 1568 Sadler was appointed chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, and in the same year was one of the English Commissioners employed in treating on the matters arising from the flight of the Queen of Scots. From this time he seems to have been continually engaged as a discreet and trusty servant in connexion with Mary's captivity, and was frequently sent with messages to her. On the 25th of August 1584, when, owing to the imputations made by his countess, George 6th earl of Shrewsbury was allowed to resign his guardianship of the Queen, Sadler was appointed to succeed him. In September Mary was removed from Sheffield to Wingfield and thence early in 1585 to Tutbury. In April, Sadler, after numerous petitions on his part, was permitted to resign his distasteful charge. He is said by some to have been sent to Scotland to announce to James VI. his mother's death, but this is not corroborated by the state papers. On the 30th of March 1587 Sadler died at Standon, and was buried in the church there. He had married about 1534 Elizabeth Mitchell, xxni. 32 whose first husband Matthew Barre had deserted her and was believed to be dead. Barre, however, re-appeared a few years later, and Sadler then obtained an act of parliament legitimatizing his children. Sadler was not a brilliant statesman, but a most faithful and intelligent servant. His letters, particularly those on Scottish affairs, are most interesting.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Letters and Negotiations of Sir Ralph Sadler (Edinburgh, 1720) ; The State Papers and Letters of Sir R. Sadler, ed. Arthur Clifford, with a memoir by Sir Walter Scott (Edinburgh, 1809, 3 vols.) ; article by N. H.N. in Gentleman's Magazine for March 1835; I. M. Cussans, Hist, of Hertfordshire (1870-1873, 3 vols.); Memoir of the Life and Times of Sir R. Sadleir, by F. Sadleir Stoney (1877); Life and Letters of Thomas Cromwell, by R. B. Mernman (Oxford, 1902, 2 vols.).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)