GRIFFITH, Robert (1501/2-68), of Salisbury, Wilts.

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

Constituency

Dates

Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. 1501/2. m. by 1546, Catherine, 1s. 3da.2

Offices Held

Member, council of the Forty-Eight, Salisbury 1531, member of the Twenty-Four 1541, auditor 1537, 1541, 1549, 1553, 1556-7, 1559, 1561-3, 1565, assessor for Market ward 1541, warden, tailors’ guild in 1541, senior warden in 1548, 1556, mayor 1545.3

Biography

Robert Griffith lived in Salisbury for at least the greater part of his life and is not known to have been related to the Robert Gruffydd who was returned for Caernarvon Boroughs in 1545 and 1558. Although unaccountably described as a butcher of Calne in the King’s bench proceedings of 1555, Griffith was a prosperous draper who, when empanelled with other leading citizens for the indictment of the 8th Baron Stourton, was given the style of ‘armiger’. He was among 15 citizens who lent money to the King in 1542, when he subscribed £20, and he paid £4 on his goods in the Market ward towards a benevolence three years later. In 1550, 1551 and 1552 he was assessed for subsidy on goods worth £60, and between 1547 and 1561 he made seven purchases of property in Salisbury.4

Griffith was first returned for Salisbury, with William Webbe II, on 26 Sept. 1547, but neither sat in the Parliament of that year. By an intervention from outside the city which, although it has left no trace in the records, was doubtless a repetition of the episode of 1545, they were replaced by (Sir) John Thynne and Henry Clifford, probably at the instance of the Protector Somerset. No such interference, however, deprived Griffith of his seat in the two Marian Parliaments to which he was elected, on each occasion with a fellow-citizen. On 4 Mar. 1555 he joined these other two ex-Members, John Abyn and John Hooper, in a claim for £36 for their parliamentary expenses; if this sum represented their combined wages for Queen Mary’s first three Parliaments, which together lasted 157 days, they were claiming the statutory rate of 2s. a day with an addition for travelling and perhaps other costs. Yet for Griffith and Hooper to include attendance throughout the last of these Parliaments meant that they were ignoring their unlicensed absence before its dissolution, a dereliction for which they were prosecuted. Griffith appeared in his own person in Michaelmas term 1555 to ask for a day to answer in the following Hilary term, when his name was erased from the list of those distrained, but the process against him was revived in 1558 and was only terminated by the Queen’s death.5

By his will of 28 May 1568 Griffith left his wife Catherine a third of all his property, with the furniture of her chamber and ‘all things meet and necessary for a woman of her calling’; the remaining property in Salisbury and a house at Bristol went to his eldest grandson and namesake, with 100 marks when he should come of age. Giles Griffith, a younger grandson, was to have £50 at the age of 21 and was to remain with his brother in the custody of their father John. There were minor bequests to two married daughters, Margaret Vincent and the wife of William Capelin, to ‘my daughter’s daughter’ Margaret Tuthill, and to the overseers, Griffith’s friends George Wilton and John Venarde, merchants of Salisbury. John Griffith was appointed sole executor of the will, which was proved on 25 Aug. 1568.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker

Notes

  • 1. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.; Salisbury corp. ledger B, f. 313.
  • 2. Aged 50 on 17 Dec. 1552, Salisbury dioc. RO, bp’s dep. bk. 2, f. 21v. Salisbury corp. ledger B, f. 271; PCC 16 Babington.
  • 3. Ledger B, ff. 271, 285, 294, 300, 305v, 310v, 314, 317v, 320v, 325, 329, 331, 338; C. Haskins, Anct. Trade Guilds and Companies of Salisbury, 162-3, 165; LP Hen. VIII, xxi; Wilts. Arch. Mag. viii. 324.
  • 4. KB27/1176 rex roll 17; E179/198/256, 260, 262; E179/259/19; Two Taxation Lists (Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. x), 38; Wilts. N. and Q. iii. 372, 460; iv. 61, 63, 158, 213, 563.
  • 5. Ledger B, ff. 301v, 313, 317; KB27/1176, 1187-8.
  • 6. PCC 16 Babington.

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