Chippenham

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

No names known for 1510-23

Elections

DateCandidate
1529WILLIAM BUTTON I
 THOMAS WILKES
1536(not known)
1539(not known)
1542(not known)
1545ROBERT WARNER
 JOHN BONHAM
1547JOHN ASTLEY 1
 FRANCIS GOLDSMITH 2
1553 (Mar.)(not known)
1553 (Oct.)ROBERT WRASTLEY
 HENRY GOLDNEY alias FERNELL
1554 (Apr.)WILLIAM SMITH
 THOMAS SMITH III
1554 (Nov.)CYRIAK PETYT
 JOHN PROCTOR
1555NICHOLAS SNELL
 JOHN POLLARD
1558(SIR) JOHN SULYARD
 WILLIAM NEVILLE

Main Article

Like nearby Calne, the market town of Chippenham was founded on ancient demesne land of the crown. Although it returned Members intermittently from 1295 it was a borough only by prescription until its incorporation in 1554, and even then it remained manorial. The royal manor had eventually been split up, but from the early 15th century the two chief manors were united in the possession of the Hungerford family which held them until the attainder in 1540 of Walter, Lord Hungerford of Heytesbury. In 1540 two courtiers, Robert Serle and Lawrence Walmesley, were appointed to the office of bailiff of Chippenham in survivorship and four years later the lordship, manor and hundred of Chippenham were granted to Queen Catherine Parr in jointure. The lordship and manor, less certain lands which had been vested in the borough, were restored to Walter Hungerford immediately after the grant of the charter of incorporation, but the hundred had already passed to Sir Thomas Darcy, Lord Darcy of Chiche, and been sold by him to (Sir) William Sharington, whose brother and heir was to start a long dispute with the burgesses over the freehold of the guildhall. The forest of Chippenham, which had remained in crown hands throughout, was also held by Queen Catherine and by her last husband Sir Thomas Seymour II, Baron Seymour of Sudeley. Another ‘manor of Chippenham’, late of Stanley abbey, was granted to Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp, in 1536 and to Sir Edward Baynton in 1537, and yet another was held by the earls of Huntingdon, perhaps by descent from the Hungerfords.3

Queen Mary’s charter of 2 May 1554 confirmed the government of the borough by a single bailiff, which seems to have been the formula adopted during the reign of Edward VI. Under Henry VIII, to judge by the election indenture of 1545, the town had been administered by two bailiffs assisted by two constables and ten burgesses; for that election the precept was directed by the sheriff of Wiltshire to the two bailiffs but in the autumn of 1553 it was sent only to one. The charter named 12 burgesses who were to co-opt new members of their own body and nominate two of their number each year from whom the others and the inhabitants were to elect the bailiff at Michaelmas. It granted lands in the borough ‘for the maintenance of two burgesses ... at our Parliament’ and for other purposes, but since the earliest accounts begin in 1559 it is impossible to say whether Chippenham paid parliamentary wages. Besides the one for 1545, election indentures survive for all the Marian Parliaments except that of April 1554, and for the b