Heytesbury

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 JOHN SEYMOUR
 ROBERT SEYMOUR
1536(not known)
1539(not known)
1542(not known)
1545WILLIAM SHARINGTON
 EDWARD CHAMBERLAIN II
1547THOMAS THROCKMORTON I 1
 THOMAS EYNNS 2
1553 (Mar.)(not known)
1553 (Oct.)FULK MOUNSLOWE alias LANGLEY
 THOMAS HILL
1554 (Apr.)RICHARD FORSETT
 CHRISTOPHER DYSMARS
1554 (Nov.)HENRY UNTON
 ?THOMAS CHAFFYN II
1555THOMAS HUNGERFORD
 FULK MOUNSLOWE alias LANGLEY
1558CHRISTOPHER SACKVILLE
 HENRY PARTRIDGE

Main Article

At the beginning of the 16th century the manor of Heytesbury was held by the Hungerford family, as it had been when the borough first returned Members in 1449, but on the attainder in 1540 of Walter, Lord Hungerford, it was forfeited to the crown. In June 1541 William Sharington obtained a lease of the demesne lands and in March 1553 Henry Wheeler, a gentleman of the privy chamber, was granted the lordship of the manor.3

As a proprietary borough, never incorporated, Heytesbury was administered by one or two bailiffs. Election indentures, all in Latin, survive for the last Parliament of Henry VIII and the five Marian Parliaments, the one for 1558 being in a damaged condition. The second contracting party with the sheriff of Wiltshire varies: in 1545 it is the bailiff or bailiffs (unnamed) together with the burgesses; in October 1553 and the following March the two bailiffs, William Button II and John Frowde, with the community of the borough; in October 1554 Henry Wheeler with all the burgesses and community, and in 1555 Button and Frowde, only Button being described as bailiff, with the burgesses and community. The names of several Members are inserted in hands different from those of the documents, Edward Chamberlain’s, Richard Forsett’s and Christopher Dysmar’s appearing over erasures. At least three of the indentures, those for the first three Marian Parliaments, were made at Wilton, presumably at the county court.4

The names of 16 Members are known, sitting in eight of the Parliaments which met between 1510 and 1558. The brothers Sir John and Robert Seymour could have owed their return to Hungerford. Sharington, besides being lessee of the demesne lands, was a member of Queen Catherine Parr’s household and a follower of Sir John Seymour’s younger son Thomas, knight of the shire in 1545; his partner Chamberlain also had Seymour connexions. Thomas Throckmorton and his relative by marriage Thomas Eynns likewise fall within the Seymour orbit, being particularly associated with the Protector Somerset’s steward (Sir) John Thynne, Eynns’s nephew, who was to control Heytesbury in the reign of Elizabeth and who was perhaps the patron of Fulk Mounslowe alias Langley in the autumn of 1553 and in 1555: Mounslowe may, however, have had a connexion with Wheeler through John More. Thomas Hill was town clerk of Worcester and perhaps owed his return only two days before the Parliament opened to the influence of John Bourne I who had taken the Worcester seat which Hill may have hoped to occupy. Thereafter the most significant influence was probably wielded by successive sheriffs: John Erneley’s for Forsett, Dysmars and Henry Unton (who was also related to Button); Robert Hungerford’s for Thomas Hungerford (taken to be Robert’s younger brother), and Sir