OXENBRIDGE (OXBRIDGE, UXBRIDGE), William (by 1498-1550), of Rye and Winchelsea, Suss. and London.
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Family and Education
b. by 1498, prob. s. of William Oxenbridge.2
Page of the chamber by 1526, groom porter to the Queen by 1537; doorward, Holt castle, Denb. 1526-d.; jurat, Rye 1535-43 or later; commr. oyer and terminer 1539; paymaster, Winchelsea c.1539, Camber castle 1542-4; mayor, Winchelsea 1549-50.3
William Oxenbridge was a grandson of Adam Oxenbridge, four times mayor of Rye and thrice Member for the port between 1482 and 1495. His career in the Household can be traced from 1519, when he was paid for riding on royal business, until 1544/45, when he was a groom porter on the Queen’s side, without bouche of court. It was doubtless their shared service to Anne Boleyn, as well as perhaps their common affiliation with Kent, which led Sir John Dudley to call Oxenbridge his ‘fellow’ when reporting to Cromwell in November 1535 the outcome of their joint investigation of a charge of treasonable utterances by the vicar of Rolvenden. From about 1540, when he was ceasing to reside at court, Oxenbridge was employed as paymaster for the new coastal defences in the south-east.4
His combination of gentle birth and royal service gained Oxenbridge first place in the list of jurats of Rye. It also doubtless accounts for his election to the Parliament of 1542, although he then took second place to John Fletcher, presumably because of Fletcher’s long record of service. There was evidently no question of his forgoing parliamentary wages, and as the £17 6s. which he received seems to have been calculated at the standard rate the 173 days which it represented fell far short of the 261 consumed by the three sessions. Even so, Oxenbridge must have attended longer than Fletcher, and his absences may have been due to his concurrent responsibility as paymaster at Camber. Besides sitting in Parliament, he had spent 21 days at Michaelmas 1543 soliciting for the Cinque Ports, doubtless to secure their customary exemption from subsidy, and for this the Brotherhood paid him £3 6s.8d.5
By 1549, when he became mayor of Winchelsea, Oxenbridge had evidently settled there, and it was as of Winchelsea, esquire, that he made his will on 2 Jan. 1550. The absence of any mention of wife or children suggests that he was unmarried. He left to his cousin, Robert Oxenbridge his principal manor house and all his lands in Brede, Sedlescombe and Udimore, and to his brother-in-law Robert Londones the lands and tenements in Rye which he had bought from Henry VIII (probably in 1542) and all his cattle and other livestock, save 300 sheep which were to be sold to cover his bequests. He named the same two his executors and residuary legatees. To William Wymond of Rye he bequeathed lands already given to him at Guestling, Icklesham and Pett, and an outstanding obligation of £30; to Thomas Jerman a house in the Butchery in Winchelsea; to John Stookes of London (probably John Stokes) all the goods in his chamber in London; to John Hall a silver-and-gilt cruse and a scarlet gown; and to William Egleston a similar cruse. Before the will was proved on 23 Apr. 1550 there was trouble between the executors, for on 18 Feb. the Council, acting on a complaint by Robert Oxenbridge, ordered Robert Londones to deliver the dead man’s goods to Oxenbridge and to appear to answer for himself in the matter.6
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Helen Miller
- 1. Rye chamberlains’ accts. 4, f. 388; 5, f. 42.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Suss. Arch. Colls. viii. 230.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv, xii, xiv-xvi, xviii; CPR, 1549-51, p. 237; Rye chamberlains’ accts. 4, ff. 283 seq.; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 222, 230, 240.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, iii-v, ix, xx; SP1/87, ff. 38-39 (LP Hen. VIII, vii. 1440 where misdated 1534).
- 5. Rye chamberlains’ accts. 5, ff. 42, 42v, 75v; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. 222, 229-30, 240.
- 6. PCC 9 Coode; APC, ii. 394.