BECKINGHAM, John (by 1510-66), of Salisbury, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. by 1510. m. by 1536, Agnes, 1s.1
Member of the Forty-Eight Salisbury 1531.2
John Beckingham does not seem to have been connected with the family of that name which held land in north-west Berkshire and whose last direct male representative, also called John, died in 1527. A John Beckingham, taking wages of 20s., was assessed for subsidy at Salisbury in 1523 and the name, once with the suffix ‘senior’, occurs twice in a further assessment, on both occasions on 20s., two years later. If any of these entries refers to the future Member he must have risen rapidly to become the John Beckingham who gained admission to the council of Forty-Eight on 20 Oct. 1531, and who leased the rectory of St. Edmund from the provost of the adjoining college in 1536. Despite what were probably humble origins, Beckingham certainly made a successful career for himself; when he was pardoned on 15 Jan. 1559 it was recorded that he had formerly lived in London and had been a fishmonger and merchant, although he now ranked as a gentleman and a resident of Salisbury. He does not appear to have belonged to the Fishmongers’ Company (a list of whose members in 1537 does not include his name or that of any of his family) but an earlier connexion with that trade seems to find reflection in the mention in his will of a house in Thames Street, London, ‘at the sign of the Peppercorn’, which he had let to a fishmonger, and in the fact that his son Henry was to exercise that trade in Salisbury. By December 1553, when John Abyn had Beckingham’s property surveyed for a debt of £200 outstanding for several years, Beckingham was styled merchant; the only item then recorded which might indicate the nature of his trade was two-and-a-half hundredweight of lead, whereas his bequest of ‘one piece of kersey of six yards’ hints at involvement in the cloth trade.3
Beckingham appears to have taken only a limited part in civic affairs. The sole office with which his name is connected is the constableship and