Ipswich

Borough

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

Elections

DateCandidate
1510THOMAS HALL I 1
 WILLIAM SPENCER 2
1512THOMAS BALDRY 3
 EDMUND DAUNDY 4
1515THOMAS BALDRY 5
 EDMUND DAUNDY 6
 (aft. 6 May 1515 not known)
1523HUMPHREY WINGFIELD 7
 THOMAS RUSH 8
1529THOMAS RUSH
 THOMAS HAYWARD
by 3 Nov. 1534THOMAS ALVARD vice Hayward, deceased9
 (aft. Feb. 1535 not known)
1536(not known)
1539ROBERT DAUNDY 10
 WILLIAM SABINE 11
1542RALPH GOODWIN
 JOHN SPARROW
1545WILLIAM REYNBALD
 RICHARD SMART
1547JOHN GOSNOLD
 JOHN SMITH alias DYER
1553 (Mar.)JOHN SMITH alias DYER
 RICHARD BRYDE alias BYRDE
1553 (Oct.)JOHN GOSNOLD
 JOHN SULYARD
1554 (Apr.)CLEMENT HEIGHAM
 THOMAS POLEY
1554 (Nov.)RALPH GOODWIN 12
 JOHN SMITH alias DYER13
1555JOHN SULYARD
 RICHARD SMART
1558WILLIAM WHEATCROFT
 PHILIP WILLIAMS
by 5 Nov. 1558EDMUND WITHYPOLL vice Wheatcroft14

Main Article

The borough of Ipswich was governed by two bailiffs and 12 portmen assisted by 24 of the commonalty; the bailiffs and four portmen were justices of the peace, and the bailiffs served as coroner and escheator and exercised admiralty jurisdiction within the liberty. This constitution, developed from privileges first obtained in 1200, had been included in a charter of incorporation of 1446 which was confirmed in 1463, 1512, 1518 and 1547. The municipal records for the early 16th century survive almost complete.15

The right of election of the two Members was vested in all resident burgesses. An order of the borough court in 1474 had confirmed the right to free votes in the election of all municipal officials and Members and had forbidden outsiders to send letters or messages of recommendation to the townsmen. Elections were held in the guildhall. Seven of the indentures for the period survive, all but one, for the Parliament of 1545, being written in Latin. Six of these are between the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk of the one part and the two bailiffs and burgesses of the other, but that for 1547 is between the sheriff and the shipowner Henry Tooley and seven other aldermen. Following the death of Thomas Alvard in 1535 the King nominated his favourite Anthony Denny, who had been Alvard’s superior at Whitehall, but with what result is not known. Early in 1553, when Edward Grimston of Rishangles asked three of the leading residents to promote the return of William Honing, clerk of the signet, Ipswich elected two townsmen and Honing was elected at Orford. The reason for Edmund Withypoll’s replacement of William Wheatcroft in 1558 is not clear.16

Of the 23 Members sitting in this period 17 were townsmen, all but Edmund Withypoll being merchants or customs officers with municipal experience and most of them inter-related. The other six were all Suffolk men, but Thomas Poley was domiciled in London. John Gosnold, Clement Heigham and Thomas Poley had connexions with the Wentworth family, settled some five miles from the town at Nettlestead, and Humphrey Wingfield with the Duke of Suffolk. John Sulyard was well-known locally and Thomas Rush of Sudbourne a customer whose successive wives had property in the town. Ipswich adhered to its rule that only freemen might be elected, and several of the nonresident Members were accordingly admitted to the freedom. Little is known about the payment of expenses; in 1510 William Spencer received 40s. and in 1558 Philip Williams remitted half his ‘fee’.

Ipswich was for a brief period the seat of a suffragan bishop under the Act for the nomination and consecration of suffragans (26 Hen. VIII, c.14). The town was allowed three taverns under the Act controlling the sale of wine (7 Edw. VI, c.5).

Author: M. K. Dale

Notes

  • 1. Ipswich ct. bk. 7, p. 196; N. Bacon, Annals Ipswich, 181.
  • 2. Ipswich ct. bk. 7, p. 196.
  • 3. Ibid. p. 312.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Bacon, 188.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Ipswich ct. bk. 8, p. 116.
  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. LP Hen. VIII, vii. 1522(ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v; Ipswich central lib. letters, accession 2672, no. 2.
  • 10. Bacon, 212.
  • 11. Bacon, 213.
  • 12. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 13. Ibid.
  • 14. Wm. Salt Lib. SMS 264.