Colchester

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

Elections

DateCandidate
1512?JOHN CLERE 1
 ?JOHN MAKIN 2
1515?JOHN CLERE 3
 ?JOHN MAKIN 4
1523THOMAS AUDLEY I 5
 AMBROSE LOWTH 6
1529SIR JOHN RAYNSFORD
 RICHARD RICH
1536(not known)
1539(not known)
1542(not known)
1545JOHN LUCAS
 BENJAMIN CLERE
1547JOHN RYTHER
 JOHN LUCAS
1553 (Mar.)SIR FRANCIS JOBSON 7
 ?JOHN LUCAS 8
1553 (Oct.)JOHN LUCAS
 JOHN BEST I
1554 (Apr.)SIR FRANCIS JOBSON
 WILLIAM CARDINALL
1554 (Nov.)GEORGE SAYER
 ROBERT BROWNE III
1555SIR FRANCIS JOBSON
 JOHN HERING
1558GEORGE CHRISTMAS
 THOMAS LUCAS

Main Article

Colchester was incorporated in 1462. Government was vested in a common council consisting of two bailiffs, eight aldermen and 32 burgesses. On receipt of the sheriff’s precept for an election the bailiffs and aldermen—in 1523 the bailiffs alone—summoned the common council to the moothall. The seven election indentures for the Parliaments between 1545 and 1555 survive; all are in English and most of them in good condition. The contracting parties are the sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire and the bailiffs or, in 1547, the bailiffs with the aldermen and community of the town, and electors are named.

The election of John Clere and John Makin to the Parliaments of 1512 and 1515 is inferred from a settlement in the town records allowing them an annual payment of 26s.8d. each until Clere should have received £17 and Makin £16 10 s.; this had been the method used earlier to pay Members, but no later evidence of payment in that or any other way has been found. The borough’s unwillingness or inability to pay wages, and its dependence on the earls of Oxford, who had a seat four miles distant at Wivenhoe and were keepers of Colchester castle for much of the period, might have been expected to produce a number of strangers among its Members, but of the 17 whose names are known or suggested only John Ryther was such, and even he may have been a native of Essex. Seven of the Members—the two Cleres, father and son, Makin, Ambrose Lowth, John Best, George Sayer and Robert Browne—served the borough as bailiff; Thomas Audley, who was born at Earls Colne, another de Vere residence, and John Lucas did so as town clerk; and Richard Rich, William Cardinall and Lucas’s son Thomas became its recorder. Sir John Raynsford, who was admitted an out-burgess at his election, lived at Bradfield some ten miles away; Sir Francis Jobson was probably the son of a freeman and was seated at nearby Monkwick; Cardinall settled at Great Bromley, seven miles away; and John Hering was of London and Stisted, Essex, about 12 miles from Colchester. Rich and John Lucas served on the councils of successive earls of Oxford, Ryther was comptroller of the household to the 16th Earl and Cardinall his receiver-general. In 1523 Colchester elected Audley after receiving a letter from the King which may have nominated him, and in 1529 Rich was elected after Richard Anthony, also a servant of the 15th Earl, had been elected and then ‘at the special request of the said earl made to the bailiffs’ resigned his seat in Rich’s favour.9

Colchester became the seat of a suffragan bishop under the Act for the nomination and consecration of suffragans (26 Hen. VIII, c.14), and it was allowed three taverns under the Act controlling the sale of wine (7 Edw. VI, c.5).10

Author: D. F. Coros

Notes

  • 1. Colchester Oath Bk. ed. Benham, 148-9.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Colchester Red Ppr. bk. ed. Benham, 26.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. The style, the christian name and half the surname survive on a torn indenture, C219/20.48.
  • 8. CJ, i. 24.
  • 9. C219/18C/42, 19/32, 20/48, 21/65, 22/28, 23/55, 24/67.
  • 10. Cal. Colchester Ct. Rolls, ed. Harrod, 66.

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