Suffolk

County

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

Elections

DateCandidate
1510?SIR ROBERT DRURY I
 (not known)
1512(not known)
1515(not known)
1523(not known)
1529SIR ANTHONY WINGFIELD
 SIR THOMAS WENTWORTH I
 (aft. 2 Dec. 1529 not known)
1536(not known)
1539SIR ANTHONY WINGFIELD 1
 SIR ARTHUR HOPTON 2
1542?SIR ANTHONY WINGFIELD 3
 SIR ARTHUR HOPTON
1545SIR WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE
 ANTHONY ROUS
 (aft. 8 Feb. 1546 not known)
1547SIR ANTHONY WINGFIELD
 SIR THOMAS WENTWORTH II
by 23 Jan. 1552SIR THOMAS CORNWALLIS vice Wentworth, called to the Upper House4
1553 (Mar.)SIR WILLIAM DRURY
 SIR HENRY BEDINGFIELD
1553 (Oct.)SIR WILLIAM DRURY
 SIR HENRY JERNINGHAM
1554 (Apr.)SIR WILLIAM DRURY
 SIR HENRY JERNINGHAM
1554 (Nov.)SIR WILLIAM DRURY 5
 SIR HENRY JERNINGHAM 6
1555SIR HENRY JERNINGHAM
 SIR WILLIAM DRURY
1558SIR THOMAS CORNWALLIS
 WILLIAM CORDELL

Main Article

On receiving the writ ordering an election of knights of the shire for Suffolk the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk chose a day which he announced at both Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich; the election took place at the shire house in Ipswich. Eight indentures survive from this period. Written in Latin, they are between the sheriff of the one part and the coroners and gentlemen of the shire of the other. Between 20 and 40 of the electors are usually named but in 1545, when after having sat for the county probably without interruption since 1529 Sir Anthony Wingfield was not re-elected, the names of three coroners and 100 gentlemen are given. The sheriff sealed (and on occasion signed) the indenture and returned it with the writ which he endorsed with his signature. In 1547 (Sir) John Godsalve, whose name follows those of the two coroners at the head of the list of electors, witnessed the indenture along with three others whose signatures are now illegible. The elevation of Sir Thomas Wentworth the elder shortly after the opening of the Parliament of 1529 created a vacancy which lasted until 1532 or early 1533, when Sir Philip Tylney, a kinsman of Anne Boleyn, and Sir Arthur Hopton were nominated; Cromwell signified his choice of Hopton, but in the absence of a return the outcome is not known. In 1539 the 3rd Duke of Norfolk told Cromwell that before going north he had arranged in the county for the return of such men ‘as I doubt not shall serve his highness according to his pleasure’. In January 1553 the King recommended the election of Sir William Drury and Sir Henry Bedingfield.7

Apart from William Cordell, all the knights of the shire for Suffolk during the period came from a closely knit group of families. Several were associated with the leading figures in East Anglia, the dukes of Norfolk, the earls of Oxford and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Nearly all held posts in the Household and five were Privy Councillors when elected, two others becoming Councillors during their parliamentary careers and three more after they had left the Commons. In 1558 Cordell had recently been appointed master of the rolls and was Speaker-designate. His election with Sir Thomas Cornwallis, the new comptroller of the Household, ended a run by Sir William Drury and Sir Henry Jerningham; Drury was by then a dying man and Jerningham exchanged Suffolk for Gloucestershire, where he also had property.

A bill for clothmaking in East Anglia did not survive after a single reading in the Commons in 1547, but the manufacture of cloth in Suffolk was to be regulated by two Acts (5 and 6 Edw. VI, c.6 and 4 and 5 Phil. and Mary, c.5) passed in the next ten years.8

Author: M. K. Dale

Notes

  • 1. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r. [1-2].
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Only the dignity 'the right worshipful' remains of the name and style of the first knight on the indenture, C219/18C/82.