Sandwich

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
1510JOHN WESTCLIFF 1
 JOHN COCK I 2
1512JOHN WESTCLIFF 3
 JOHN HOBARD 4
1515JOHN WESTCLIFF 5
 JOHN HOBARD 6
1523JOHN SOMER 7
 ROGER MANWOOD I 8
1529VINCENT ENGEHAM
 JOHN BOYS
29 Dec. 1533THOMAS WINGFIELD vice Boys deceased9
1536THOMAS WINGFIELD 10
 VINCENT ENGEHAM 11
1539THOMAS PATCHE 12
 NICHOLAS PEAKE 13
1542JOHN LEE III 14
 THOMAS ROLFE 15
1545JOHN MASTER 16
 THOMAS MENYS 17
1547?THOMAS PATCHE 18
 ?THOMAS ARDERN 19
 THOMAS PINNOCK 20
 JOHN SEER 21
1553 (Mar.)THOMAS PATCHE 22
 THOMAS MENYS 23
1553 (Oct.)(SIR) JOHN PERROT 24
 SIMON LINCH 25
1554 (Apr.)JOHN MASTER
 SIMON LINCH
1554 (Nov.)JOHN TYSAR
 NICHOLAS CRISPE
1555NICHOLAS PEAKE
 (SIR) JOHN PERROT
1558ROGER MANWOOD II
 NICHOLAS CRISPE

Main Article

Sandwich was still a relatively prosperous port despite the decline in its Mediterranean trade and the growth of the sandbanks threatening its harbour. Following an inquiry of 1512 it was said that 500 or 600 boys might be ‘harboured’ and that a further 60 could ‘at every tide take in horses’, but an Act of 1515 (6 Hen. VIII, c.17) to deepen the Stour and neighbouring waterways for the benefit of Sandwich’s domestic trade was ineffective. Later appeals to the crown for assistance produced little response although in 1550 the inhabitants were granted their own church plate ‘upon condition they shall employ the same to the amending of their haven to bring the same unto some perfection’. Sandwich derived some support from its ‘limbs’, Deal, Fordwich, Ramsgate, Sarre, Stonar and Walmer, but little from Brightlingsea in Essex, the only ‘limb’ of the Cinque Ports not in Kent or Sussex.26

The town government, based on charters dating back to at least the 12th century, was in the hands of a mayor, about 12 jurats and a common council chosen by the freemen. The mayor was elected early in December and an ordinance of the Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports of 1526 limited the electorate to 37 selected freemen. Members of Parliament seem also to have been elected by the freemen from four candidates presented to them by the jurats. From 1290, when the prior of Christ-church, Canterbury, ceded Sandwich to the crown, there was also a bailiff, often appointed from the ranks of the Household. Sir Edward Ryngeley, who replaced Brian Tuke in the office in 1524, was involved in continuous dispute with the townsmen and after six years agreed to sell them the bailiwick for £100: according to the Sandwich old red book, in December 1532 ‘the whole office of bailliage’ was ‘in the town’s hands’. Thomas Patche, a jurat and former mayor, was appointed to the office in 1543 and held it until his death in 1553 when he was succeeded by the lord warden of the Cinque Ports, Sir Thomas Cheyne.27

All the Members returned before 1547 were jurats, as required by an ordinance of the Brotherhood, although Thomas Rolfe did not become one until the day of his election and Thomas Wingfield, who had been a jurat for four years earlier in his career, was not readmitted until six months after his by-election. Both were involved in customs administration at Sandwich, as were John Westcliff, Thomas Ardern and Simon Linch. Ardern was the first non-jurat to be returned for the port in the period. On 23 Sept. 1547 Sandwich elected Thomas Pinnock and John Seer, both recently made jurats and both possibly clients of Archbishop Cranmer, but the mayor, John Style, refused to seal the indenture and arranged a second election at which the bailiff, Patche, and the comptroller of customs, Ardern, were chosen, almost certainly on the recommendation of Ardern’s master Cheyne. After an appeal the Privy Council upheld the original election. Pinnock and Seer took their places in the House and in November 1551 they were ordered to solicit for the furthering of work on the haven ‘at their next repair to Parliament’. Yet in the list of Members prepared for that session Patche and Ardern appear as the Members (although Ardern is correctly marked ‘mortuus’) and on 9 Feb. 1552 Pinnock and Seer were ordered to absent themselves from the House ‘until the perfect return be known’: what this was does not transpire. This emergence of Patche and Ardern suggests that they had earlier sat in the House until the Council decided against them.28

Patche and Thomas Menys were elected to the second Edwardian Parliament to the great indignation of Cheyne, whose ‘request touching the burgesses’ (the details of which are unknown) had not been followed. The borough authorities protested that they had ‘done nothing but according unto the King’s majesty’s writ and his lordship’s precept’ and refused to carry out another election unless Cheyne ‘could purchase a new writ for the same’. Before the next Parliament John Tysar was appointed ‘solicitor’ to the lord warden ‘concerning the election of our burgesses’, but the borough proceeded to re-elect Menys (obviously the man whom Cheyne had opposed for the previous Parliament) together with the jurat and customer Linch. The assembly passed a resolution promising to bear such charges as might arise from ‘the maintaining of any suit ... concerning the election’ but by whatever means Cheyne managed to replace Menys with his son-in-law Sir John Perrot. Both the Members returned to Mary’s second Parliament were jurats and presumably the town’s own choice, but for her third, after electing Tysar (then mayor) and William Lathebury, a jurat, it had to accept Lathebury’s replacement by another son-in-law of Cheyne, Nicholas Crispe, the names of both Members being entered on ‘blanks’ in the lord warden’s schedule. In 1555 Sandwich elected another jurat and ex-mayor, Nicholas Peake, and its recorder, Roger Manwood (grandson of the Member in 1523), but Manwood appears on the schedule for Hastings, his place at Sandwich being taken by Perrot. The transposition, if it was not a clerical error, suggests that Cheyne was determined to bring Sandwich to heel even to the extent of rejecting a Member otherwise acceptable to him. On 31 Dec. 1557 the town chose Manwood and his elder brother John Manwood, a jurat and ex-mayor, only to have the elder Manwood superseded by Crispe.29

Fifteen of the 18 jurats who sat were also at some time mayor. Sandwich paid its townsmen Members, generally at the statutory rate of 2s. a day, but often very much in arrear: Master and Menys agreed to serve in the Parliament of 1545 for 18d. a day.

Author: N. M. Fuidge

Notes

  • 1. Sandwich white bk. ff. 176, 176v.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid. f. 191v.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid. f. 231v.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Ibid. f. 315.
  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. Sandwich old red bk. f. 51v.
  • 10. Ibid. f. 80.
  • 11. Ibid.
  • 12. Ibid. f. 111.
  • 13. Ibid.
  • 14. Ibid. f. 141v.
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Ibid. f. 177v. The senior Member's surname is now illegible but W. Boys, Sandwich (1792), 409 has it as 'Master'.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. Hatfield 207.