Available from Boydell and Brewer
No names known for 1510-23
|1542||SIR EDWARD BAYNTON 1|
|WILLIAM HERBERT I 2|
|1545||(SIR) THOMAS LEE I|
|(aft. 25 Nov. 1545 not known)|
|1547||ROBERT WATSON 3|
|ROBERT WARNER 4|
|1553 (Mar.)||WILLIAM DAMSELL 5|
|WILLIAM WIGHTMAN 6|
|1553 (Oct.)||NICHOLAS CHOWNE|
|1554 (Apr.)||WILLIAM CLERKE|
|1554 (Nov.)||WILLIAM CLERKE 7|
|HENRY CREED 8|
Once a prosperous clothing town and ‘the head town of Wiltshire’, Wilton had declined with the growth of its neighbour Salisbury. In the 16th century the county court still met at Wilton but the assizes were held at Salisbury. The borough, which was ancient royal demesne and part of the barony of Wilton, was in the hands of the crown at the beginning of Henry VIII’s reign, but in 1513 Margaret Pole, daughter of the Duke of Clarence, was restored to the dignity of Countess of Salisbury and to her father’s forfeited lands, including Wilton. On her disgrace the borough passed into the hands of William Herbert, later 1st Earl of Pembroke, who also acquired the site and lands of Wilton abbey and later made Wilton House his chief residence.9
Wilton claimed charters dating back to the reign of Henry I. By the 16th century municipal government was vested in a mayor and a body of comburgesses, sometimes styled the ‘council of the 12’ although generally more than that in number; the 15 men who joined with the mayor to elect Sir Edward Baynton and Herbert in December 1541 were probably the comburgesses. Election indentures survive for the Parliament of 1545 and all those between March 1553 and 1555; all are in Latin except the one for April 1554. The contracting parties are the sheriff of Wiltshire and the mayor and burgesses, described as comburgesses only in 1545. The names of the Members have generally been inserted in a different hand or at least in a different ink. Although the county court met at Wilton none of the borough indentures bears the same date as those for the shire. In 1555 a bill for the paving of Oxford, Newark and Wilton passed the Commons but proceeded no further than its first reading in the Lords.10
The first two Members whose names are known were clearly nominees of the Countess of Salisbury and most, if not all, of the remaining 12 were beholden to Herbert, although some of them may have been recommended to him by other patrons. Henry Creed, a London mercer, was the only native of Wilton returned during the period.
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. Wilton entry bk. p. 160.
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. Hatfield 207.
- 4. Ibid.
- 5. C219/282/10.
- 6. Ibid.
- 7. C219/23/150; Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
- 8. Ibid.
- 9. VCH Wilts. vi. 2, 9, 10, 14-20, 24; Leland, Itin. ed. Smith, i. 259-60; Pembroke Survey (Roxburghe Club cliv), pp. xliv, xlvi, lxxxiv, 3.
- 10. VCH Wilts. vi. 9-11; C219/18C/146, 21/176, 22/92, 23/150, 24/177, 282/10; CJ, i. 44, 45; LJ, i. 505, 506.