BAINBRIDGE, William (by 1526-83), of Derby.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1526. m. by 1547, Elizabeth, sis. of John and Nicholas English of Nottingham, at least 2s. inc. Robert, at least 1da.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Derby 1555-6, 1563-4, 1575-6; coroner, Derbys. from 1561.2


The problem of distinguishing between the Bainbridge family of Derby and its namesakes of Lockington in Leicestershire is aggravated by defective contemporary pedigrees. That they were closely related is evident from their frequent references to their cousinhood and from their almost identical coats of arms.3

William Bainbridge was a merchant who by the time of his death owned considerable property in Derby. He was probably the ‘William Bainbridge the elder’ to whom, with Robert Bainbridge and William Bainbridge the younger, Thomas Statham and others were licensed in March 1562 to alienate the house and site of Blackfriars priory and lands in the parish of St. Werburgh, Derby. Bainbridge’s marriage to the sister of a prominent Nottingham mercer and the bequest in his will to Humphrey Bird, ‘sometime my master and one of the sergeants’ of Nottingham, may reflect his apprenticeship in Nottingham under Bird. During the reign of Edward VI, Bainbridge lodged a complaint against Thomas Sutton and several others whom Sutton had ordered to depasture his close in Bakewell; he claimed to hold this on lease from John Sharpe and was later sued by Sharpe for paying rent due for it to William Allestry.4

Only fragmentary evidence of his official career survives. His return to the third Parliament of Mary’s reign as junior Member for Derby, before his first appointment as bailiff of the town, suggests that he had previously held at least some minor office in the corporation: he was to be re-elected to three out of the next four Parliaments. While he and William More III were in London for the Parliament of November 1554, a bridge giving access to mills at Darley owned by them and one Humphrey Buxton was destroyed. This incident perhaps explains their absence from the House when it was called early in January 1555. The pair were informed against in the King’s bench during Easter term 1555 for leaving Parliament without licence. Having failed to appear Bainbridge was distrained in the following Michaelmas term, but came in person a year later and asked for a day to be named for his answer. Nothing further is recorded of the suit until Easter term 1558 when he was fined 53s.4d. (Although he is not known to have applied, as did his fellow-Member in 1558 James Thatcher, for a licence to absent himself from the Parliament, he did so in 1563.) After being present at the trial of Joan Waste for heresy in 1556, Bainbridge and his fellow bailiff Richard Ward II were given custody of the prisoner and charged with carrying out the sentence. According to Foxe, Bainbridge later certified the truth of his account of the martyr’s life and death, both from his own knowledge and ‘by special enquiry and conference by him made with divers others’.5

By his will of 22 Apr. 1583 Bainbridge left an annuity of 40s. for the maintenance of a public preacher and £40 for the building of a school in Derby. He was buried on 5 May 1583 and the will was proved in late October.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: C. J. Black


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from marriage. PCC 3 Butts; Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc. vii. 262-3; J. C. Cox, Derbys. Churches, iv. 99; C1/1101/21.
  • 2. W. Hutton, Derby, 80-81; CPR, 1560-3, pp. 375, 531; 1566-9, pp. 123, 301, 414; Cox, Derbys. Annals, i. 88-89.
  • 3. Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc. vii. 144-5, 249; St.Ch.3/1/87, 3/33.
  • 4. St.Ch.4/9/47; KB27/1176; CPR, 1560-3, p. 385.
  • 5. KB27/1176, 1180, 1186; CJ, i. 51, 69; Foxe, Acts and Mons. viii. 250.
  • 6. PCC 3 Butts; Cox, Derbys. Churches, iv. 99.