Guildford

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
1529SIR THOMAS PALMER
 JOHN DALE
1536(not known)
1539?WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM 1
 ?JOHN BOURNE I 2
1542(SIR) JOHN BAKER I
 WILLIAM FITZWILLIAM
1545ANTHONY BROWNE I
 THOMAS ELYOT
1547(SIR) ANTHONY BROWNE I
 THOMAS ELYOT
by 23 Jan. 1552THOMAS STOUGHTON vice Elyot, deceased3
1553 (Mar.)(not known)
1553 (Oct.)WILLIAM MORE II
 WILLIAM HAMMOND
1554 (Apr.)GEORGE TADLOWE
 WILLIAM HAMMOND
1554 (Nov.)HENRY POLSTED
 WILLIAM MORE II
1555HENRY POLSTED
 WILLIAM MORE II
1558EDWARD POPHAM
 WILLIAM HAMMOND

Main Article

Guildford owed its commercial pre-eminence in Surrey to its position on the Great Way, at a gap in the chalk ridge traversing the county where there was a fording place across the river Wey. It was the county town and its castle served as the gaol for both Surrey and Sussex. The medieval palace was repaired by Henry VIII who was a frequent visitor, and it was there that in 1545 the Duke of Suffolk died. The royal park was restocked at the same time and William Cope, Sir William Fitzwilliam I, later Earl of Southampton, his kinsmen the Sir Anthony Brownes, father and son, (Sir) Michael Stanhope, and the Marquess of Northampton were successive keepers. The two charters granted by Henry III in 1257 were amplified throughout the middle ages. Henry VII’s incorporation of the town as the mayor and approved men was confirmed in 1519 and 1547. The mayor and other officers were chosen annually at a meeting of the guild merchant, membership of which was limited to payers of scot and lot who had served as the town’s bailiff. The number of approved men attending the guild merchant and court leet from the 1520s to 40s fluctuated between 14 and 21. A fee-farm of £10 was paid to the crown. The 12th Earl of Arundel was high steward by 1559. Some municipal records survive from the period.4

While visiting the town in 1539 the Earl of Southampton advised the townsmen to let him nominate Members prepared to remit wages in part or in full. They agreed to let the earl have the nomination of one Member but told him that they wished to elect Daniel Mugge, a townsman related to Christopher More and Henry Polsted, as the other. The earl commended Mugge to Cromwell as ‘an honest man ... whom I think will do right well his part in such things as the King’s majesty intendeth’ and asked if the King or his minister wanted the other nomination: if it was left to himself he would name either William Fitzwilliam or John Bourne, two servants of his. In the absence of a return the outcome is not known. Indentures written in English survive for all the Parliaments summoned in the 1540s and for the last three Parliaments of Mary’s reign. The contracting parties are the sheriff of Surrey and Sussex with the mayor and ‘approved men and burgagers with the whole assent, consent and agreement of other burgagers’. In 1558 the names of the two Members, Edward Popham and William Hammond, are inserted in a different hand from the rest of the indenture. Only one townsman, William Hammond, is known to have sat, but William More, Henry Polsted and Thomas Stoughton had family connexions with Guildford and Thomas Elyot held property there. Anthony Browne sat while his father was keeper of the park and seems to have influenced the returns himself in the same capacity after his father’s death. Others owed their Membership to the Earl of Southampton or to the Earl of Arundel. The identity of John Dale has not been established.5

Following Cranmer’s proposal for suffragan bishops Guildford was designated the seat of a suffragan under an Act of 1534 (26 Hen. VIII, c.14), but no appointment was made. Nothing came of two bills for the town introduced in the Parliament of 1547.6

Author: S. R. Johnson

Notes

  • 1. LP Hen. VIII xiv(1), 520 citing Cott. Cleop. 4, f. 176.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Hatfield 207.
  • 4. VCH Surr. iii. 3, 560-2; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 33-34, 41; The King’s Works, ii. 656; iii. 40n; Guildford Bor. Recs. (Surr. Rec. Soc. xxiv), passim.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xiv(1), 520 citing Cott. Cleop. 4, f. 176; C219/18B/88, 18C/118, 19/101, 23/121, 24/151, 25/109.
  • 6. CJ, i