CARDINALL, William (1509/10-68), of Great Bromley, Essex.

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



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. 1509/10, 1st s. of William Cardinall of Great Wenham, Suff. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1533. m. (1) settlement 1535, Joan, da. of John Gurdon of Dedham, Essex and Assington, Suff., wid. of John Cole of Dedham, 1s. William 3da.; (2) by June 1556, Lettice, da. of William Knightley of Norwich, Norf., wid. of John or William Clipsby of Clippesby, Norf., 4 or 5s. 1da. suc. fa. 1551.1

Offices Held

J.p. Essex 1547, 1558/59-?d.; receiver-gen. to 16th Earl of Oxford by 1558; recorder, Colchester 1560-1, 1562-3.2


William Cardinall came of a Suffolk family and it was either he or his father who began the connexion with Essex by buying Great Bromley manor in November 1542; as he was by then in his thirties and married he may well have been the purchaser, and his inquisition makes no mention of his father in respect of the manor. He was trained in the law and may have practised, but his income was mainly derived from elsewhere: when in 1536 he took a lease of mills and pastures at Dedham, Essex, jointly with his first father-in-law, both were described as ‘clothiers’. That he did well is shown by his assessment of £160 a year on his lands at Great Bromley for the subsidy of 1545, a larger figure than those of most of the comparable gentlemen in the county. It is true that not all his ventures prospered. In Mary’s reign he was in Chancery over his purchase some years earlier of all the standing timber in Sir Thomas Darcy’s park at Bentley, Essex: although he had paid the seemingly low sum of £337, Darcy put so many difficulties in the way of his obtaining the timber that it must have turned out a bad bargain.3

By 1558 Cardinall was receiver-general to John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford. If he had already been in the earl’s service four years earlier, when he was first returned to Parliament for Colchester, Oxford’s patronage would have powerfully reinforced his own claim as a considerable figure in local business and society: Great Bromley lies seven miles east of Colchester. He may also have leaned towards the Protestantism of the town: he was removed from the commission of the peace during Mary’s reign, and he was to be described as a ‘favourer’ of religion in 1564.4

Cardinall was restored to the bench in 1558/59, was recorder of Colchester from 1560 to 1563, and was re-elected there to Elizabeth’s first two Parliaments. He died intestate on 7 or 8 Aug. 1568 and was buried at South Benfleet; letters of administration of his estate were granted to his eldest son William. Of his other children one daughter, Rose, married a son of George Sayer of Colchester and another, Faith, married Henry, son of Roger Appleton.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. Aged 58 at death, Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. iv. 166. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 33, 172 (where Cardinall’s mother is incorrectly identified, PCC 32 Martyn); Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 77; C142/151/52; Wards 7/11/112; NRA 8606 (Gurdon pprs. 458. 3/1); Morant, Essex, i. 433, 441.
  • 2. CPR, 1547-8, p. 83; 1563-6, pp. 22, 39, 123; Essex RO, Ass. 35/7/2/3, D/DPr/141-2; Colchester town hall, Benham mss 25, f. 2.
  • 3. Essex RO, D/DV40/85; CPR, 1557-8, p. 1; C1/1341/1.
  • 4. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 62.
  • 5. Essex Rev. iv. 235 seq.; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 109.