Grantham

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 HUSSEY II
 FRANCIS HALL
 (aft. 14 Aug. 1534 not known)
1536(not known)
1539(not known)
1542(not known)
1545SIR EDWARD WARNER
 EDMUND HALL
1547SIR EDWARD WARNER
 EDMUND HALL
1553 (Mar.)SIR EDWARD WARNER 1
 THOMAS HUSSEY I
1553 (Oct.)SIR EDWARD WARNER
 JAMES WALLIS
1554 (Apr.)THOMAS HUSSEY I
 RICHARD DISNEY
1554 (Nov.)ROGER JOHNSON
 RICHARD SHARPE
1555GEORGE WILLIAMS
 WILLIAM PORTER
1558HENRY SAVILE
 ANTHONY THOROLD

Main Article

The borough of Grantham had been incorporated by Edward IV in 1463 as the alderman and burgesses. The alderman was elected annually from a body of 13 comburgesses holding office for life and forming the alderman’s court; vacancies among the comburgesses were filled by election from among the freemen. There were various municipal officers, including by the early 16th century a recorder, who was often a member of the Thorold family. The charter was slightly modified in 1484 and confirmed in 1504, 1510 and 1547. No municipal records survive for the period. The manor belonged to the crown as part of the duchy of York and the lordship was held by each of Henry VIII’s consorts in turn. Manorial courts were held under the direction of the royal steward or his deputy: the stewardship was held by Sir John Hussey, later Lord Hussey, until his death in 1537 and then by successive earls of Rutland, whose seat at Belvoir was only a few miles from Grantham.2

Grantham did not suffer as much as other market towns in the district from the Dissolution, although a scheme supported by Cranmer for the appointment of a suffragan bishop there came to nothing. It was included among a number of towns in the Act of 1540 (32 Hen. VIII, c.18) providing for the restoration of derelict property. The loss of its seven chantries in 1549 seriously affected the grammar school, which raised almost all its endowment from this source, but four years later the school was refounded under letters patent granting the town a licence in mortmain for the purpose.3

Parliamentary elections took place in a ‘general congregation of the alderman and comburgesses’. Seven indentures for the period 1545 to 1558 survive, the names for March 1553 being taken from the county return and for 1558 from the sheriff’s schedule. All the indentures except that for 1547 are in Latin, the two contracting parties being the sheriff of Lincolnshire and the alderman and burgesses, or elsewhere the comburgesses, who in 1547 are said to have carried out the election ‘with the assent and consent of the burgesses and freemen’. Signatures or marks of several electors are sometimes appended.4

Of the 13 Members sitting in this period only Sir Edward Warner was not a Lincolnshireman by birth or domicile, and he came from the neighbouring county of Norfolk. Francis Hall, Roger Johnson, Richard Sharpe and James Wallis were townsmen at the time of their return, and William Porter became one in the late 1550s. With the exception of Sharpe, about whom little has been discovered, all the townsmen held municipal office. Anthony Thorold of Blankney was the town’s recorder and Edmund Hall of Greaford was a younger son of Francis Hall. Since Edmund Hall and his father were associated with Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, their Membership probably owed as much to Suffolk as to their own standing. Both Sir John Hussey and the and Earl of Rutland used their influence as local magnates and stewards of the manor to procure the election of relatives, clients and servants; that Hussey’s downfall did not end his family’s influence in the borough is to be inferred from the subsequent return of Richard Disney and Thomas Hussey. In the early 1550s Sir William Cecil emerged as a figure of importance in Lincolnshire. When in February 1553 he asked the corporation to accept two of his nominees as Members, he was told that as it had already yielded to Rutland’s suit for Warner it could only comply ‘in behalf of Mr. Hussey’. In 1555 his servant George Williams was elected for the borough and he himself sat for the shire. Of the Grantham Members only Thomas Hussey had previous parliamentary experience, but several went on to seats elsewhere, Hussey separating his two elections for the borough by a knighthood of the shire.

Author: N. M. Fuidge

Notes

  • 1. Lansd. 3, f. 75v.
  • 2. B. Street, Grantham, 106; R. Chs. Grantham, ed. Martin, 9, 14,