Norwich

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
1512ROBERT HARYDANCE 1
 (aft. 2 Feb. 1514 not known)
 JOHN CLERKE I 2
1515(not known)
1523(not known)
1529EDWARD REDE
 REGINALD LYTILPROWE
1536?JOHN CORBET II 3
 (not known)
1539AUGUSTINE STEWARD 4
 JOHN GODSALVE 5
1542WILLIAM ROGERS
 ?JOHN GODSALVE
1545ROBERT RUGGE
 RICHARD CATLYN
1547AUGUSTINE STEWARD 6
 RICHARD CATLYN 7
1553 (Mar.)THOMAS MARSHAM
 ALEXANDER MATHER
1553 (Oct.)THOMAS GAWDY I
 RICHARD CATLYN
1554 (Apr.)HENRY WARD
 JOHN BALL
1554 (Nov.)JOHN CORBET II 8
 ALEXANDER MATHER
1555JOHN ALDRICH
 THOMAS GREY
1558THOMAS GAWDY II
 THOMAS SOTHERTON

Main Article

The constitution of Tudor Norwich was based on two early 15th-century charters, one of 1404 incorporating it as a county under the name of the citizens and community, and another of 1417 setting out the arrangements for civic elections. The mayor and two sheriffs were assisted by 24 aldermen and by a common council of 60, chosen annually by the city’s four wards. There were a town clerk, a recorder and several lesser officials, and a number of lawyers of local birth were retained as counsel. The civic records for the period survive almost intact.9

Elections followed the form laid down in the Liber Albus of Norwich:

that burgesses, that shall be chosen for knights of the shire of the city, shall be chosen by the common assembly, and the persons so chosen their names shall be presented and published in plain shire and within the city to the mayor [and] sheriffs and to the council there being in the guildhall.

When in 1539 Cromwell nominated John Godsalve the city reminded the minister of its statute requiring the Members to be residents; having already held its elections before the receipt of Cromwell’s letter it also insisted upon ‘some lawful discharge’ for the second election necessary for compliance with the minister’s demand. This is the only known instance during the period of its yielding to such pressure. Neither the successive bishops nor the dukes of Norfolk exercised any discernible influence on its Membership; it is true that Robert Rugge was a half-brother of Bishop Rugge, but the relationship is likely to have been more of a hindrance than a help. Seven indentures survive for the years between 1542 and 1555; they are in Latin and the contracting parties are the sheriffs on the one part and the aldermen and electors to the number of between 20 and 35 on the other.10

The 19 Members sitting in this perio