NORMAN, John (by 1483-1525), of York.

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 1483, s. of John Norman of York by Agnes. m. (1) Catherine; (2) aft. 1512, Jane; (3) 1525, Anne, da. of Richard Birley of Gateforth; at least 2s. 2da.2

Offices Held

Member, Corpus Christi guild, York 1512, senior chamberlain 1512-13, sheriff 1514-15, member of the Twenty-Four 1515, alderman 1517, 1521-d., mayor 1524-5.3


The son of a merchant who had come from New Malton, Yorkshire, and rose to be sheriff of York seven years before his death in 1497, John Norman entered the York merchants’ guild in 1501 and became a freeman by patrimony in 1503-4. He was constable of the guild in 1507 and master in 1515-16, and in 1521-2 twice went to London on behalf of the city and its merchants to answer to the Council for complaints made by the Hanse. He was probably the John Norman who in 1519-20 paid custom at Hull on a variety of wares brought in from the Netherlands, and he is known to have had shares in overseas ventures, one of his partners being Thomas Burton. When in 1524 he was assessed for subsidy on £40 in goods in the rich central parish of All Saints, Pavement, he was said to have ‘decayed by chance of the sea’ to the extent of £50 since the previous year; this would mean that in 1523 he was perhaps the sixth richest layman in York. In the year of his death he acquired the manor of South Duffield near York, being apparently the first York alderman to become lord of a rural manor.4

Norman’s civic progress was interrupted when in 1516 his candidature as alderman, supported by Thomas Drawswerd but opposed by William Nelson, resulted in a tie with his opponent: the outcome was a riot and an order from the Council vetoing the appointment of either, and when in the following year the city compromised by electing both, the King had the election quashed. Four years later Norman was elected without opposition, and within the next four he was successively one of the city’s Members of Parliament and its mayor. Of his Membership nothing is known save that he and Thomas Burton expended £16 5s.8d. on writings concerning the sale of wool, probably the monopoly of wool exports which York acquired about this time. The resulting conflict with the Merchants of the Staple was to be the principal feature of Norman’s mayoralty.5

Norman made his will on 13 Nov. 1525. He asked to be buried in All Saints’, Pavement, near his second wife and under a marble slab engraved with ‘the image of a man and three women images with scriptures’. He left money to York friaries, hospitals and prisoners, and to a York anchoress to pray for him. He bequeathed all his property in Doncaster, Ripon and York to his younger son Anthony, appointed his other children, George, Jane and Anne, executors with his brother Thomas, a chantry priest of York minster, and Miles Newton the town clerk, and named his relatives and fellow aldermen John Thornton and John Rasyng supervisors. The will was proved on 1 Dec. 1525. Of the children, George Norman began as a York merchant, but moved out to Gateforth; Anthony was contracted in marriage to the future wife of Archbishop Holgate, who was thereby caused some embarrassment; and Jane took as her second husband Richard Goldthorpe, who sat for York in 1559.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. M. Palliser


  • 1. York Civic Recs. iii (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. cvi), 86.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. Test. Ebor. v (Surtees Soc. lxxix), 213-15; York pub. lib. R. H. Skaife ms, civic officials, ii. 538-9.
  • 3. Reg. Freeman, York, i (Surtees Soc. xcvi), 227; Reg. Corpus Christi Guild, York (Surtees Soc. lvii), 175, 192; York archs. B9, 10 passim.
  • 4. Test. Ebor. v. 213n; York Mercers and Merchant Adventurers (Surtees Soc. cxxix), 117, 126, 323; Bronnen tot de Geschiedenis van den Handel met Engeland, Schotland en Ierland, ed. Smit, i. 277-80; York Civic Recs. iii. 72, 77, 79; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. iv. 176; Tudor Feet of Fines, i (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. ii), 44.
  • 5. York Civic Recs. iii. 51-61, 86, 90-104; York archs. B10, ff. 10, 68.
  • 6. York wills 9, ff. 327-8; Test. Ebor. v. 213-15; Reg. Freemen, York, i. 249; A.G. Dickens, Robert Holgate (Borthwick Pprs. viii), 24-26, and Lollards and Protestants in the Dioc. of York 1509-58, p. 186.