PORTER, William (by 1526-?93), of Gray's Inn, London and Lincs.

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 1526, 2nd s. of Augustine Porter of Belton, Lincs. by Ellen, da. of one Smith of Withcote, Leics. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1540. m. by 1569, Jane, da. of John Butler of Aston-le-Walls, Northants., by Margaret, da. and coh. of John Dudley of Aston-le-Walls, 8s. 2da. suc. bro. John 23 Oct. 1575.1

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Cambs., Hunts., I. of Ely, Lincs. Northants., Notts. 1555; alderman, Grantham in 1559.2


The younger son of a Lincolnshire gentleman, William Porter entered Gray’s Inn in the same year as William Cecil. His early career was probably divided between London and his native county. His return to the Parliament of 1555 for Grantham, of which he was a near neighbour at Belton and was to be alderman in 1559, probably owed something to Cecil, himself senior knight of the shire in this Parliament and doubtless responsible for the nomination of the other Grantham Member, George Williams. Both Williams and Porter (although not Cecil) appear on the list of Members who voted against one of the government’s bills, Porter being styled ‘of Grays Inn’ to distinguish him from Arthur Porter of Gloucester, who also appears on the list, and Henry Porter of Coventry, who does not. He seems to have been unrelated to either, and among the various contemporary William Porters the only one with whom he could be plausibly identified is the tenant of John Broxholme and John Bellow living at Lincoln in 1545.3

Porter sat in Parliament twice more under Elizabeth. In 1564 Bishop Bentham rated him as ‘earnest in religion’ and as one upon whom the regime could rely, but despite this recommendation Porter was never named to the bench. He is said to have been buried at Grantham on 7 Dec. 1592, but his inquisition post mortem gives the month of his death as January 1593.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. M. Hofmann


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 791-2; Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 8; Bridges, Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 8; Bridges, Northants. 101.
  • 2. CPR, 1554-5, p. 109; R. Chs. Grantham, ed. Martin, 90-91.
  • 3. Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2; LP Hen. VIII, xx.
  • 4. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 27; Lincs. Peds. 791-2; C142/236/106.