HAMLIN, Henry (by 1484-1549/50), of Exeter, Devon.

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




Family and Education

b. by 1484, yr. s. of Nicholas Hamlin by Anne, da. of one Wilford. m. (1) or (2) by 1517, da. of Thomas Andrew of Exeter; at least 2da.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Exeter 1511-12, warden of St. Mary Magdalene hospital by 1517, member of the Twenty-Four 1519-d., receiver 1524-5, constable of the staple 1525-6, mayor 1526-7, 1538-9, j.p. 1537, alderman by 1549.2


The Exeter chronicler John Hooker described Henry Hamlin, who ‘lived by merchandise, his traffic [being] most in Brittany’, as a man who ‘thought much of the commonweal’ and who ‘had done several things’ during his second mayoralty, including the establishment of a weekly cloth market in the city; he was also one of the propagandists for the building of the new harbour. Described in a lawsuit as ‘a man of great substance and riches and a great ruler’, Hamlin evidently owed his success chiefly to his own efforts: from his father, also a merchant and mayor, he had received in 1504 only the modest bequest of 20 marks and a gown, although he did better from his mother, who left him a number of properties around Powderham and Teignmouth which were later the subject of a chancery case. It was shortly after his father’s death that Hamlin was admitted to the freedom of Exeter by succession. He is said to have spent his early years in Brittany, perhaps as a factor: by 1523 he was assessed for subsidy at £10 on goods valued at £200, with perhaps a supplementary assessment of 40s. on £60 worth of goods in a neighbouring parish.3

Hamlin had already served his first mayoral term when he was returned, with his brother-in-law John Blackaller, to the Parliament of 1529. Six days before their departure for the first session on 26 Oct. Hamlin and Blackaller were instructed to take with them the city’s charters and other documents which they were to have confirmed by Parliament, and were given £20 towards their expenses in this connexion. After their return on 22 Dec. both received wages for 58 days, the exact length of their absence at 4s. per