RAYMOND, John I.
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Family and Education
Of the 23 men who represented Reading in Parliament between 1510 and 1558 three cannot be identified, and John Raymond is one of them. In the early years of Henry VIII the town almost invariably returned residents but in 1529, with the King at Windsor intervening in the elections, Reading may have been persuaded to accept at least one nominee. Raymond and his fellow, Thomas Vachell I, were to be re-elected to the next Parliament, in accordance with the King’s general request to that effect, on 2 June 1536: although both were then given the customary designation ‘burgenses’, neither is ever found among the membership of the guild or the town oligarchy and neither held municipal office. Vachell was a neighbouring landowner and agent of Cromwell, who as high steward of Reading is likely to have procured his further re-election in 1539, when the Members’ names are unknown, but Raymond’s return on that occasion is open to more doubt. That the corporation had been under pressure to accept two ‘strangers’ is shown by its resolution of 11 Apr. 1539 that in future at least one Member should be a burgess, by which was presumably meant a member of the guild. The fact that on this occasion—the only one during the century—no record of the election itself appears in the corporation diary, may mean either that the names of nominees were as yet unknown in the borough or that as a form of silent protest they were not entered. The terms of the resolution, however, leave no doubt that neither can have fallen within its definition, which was the case with both Vachell and Raymond; but whereas Vachell, who was to be returned to the next two Parliaments, may be presumed to have sat in this one also, Raymond had no parliamentary future and was perhaps passed over this time in favour of a more obvious nominee.3
Although he stood outside the municipal oligarchy Raymond was probably not unknown in Reading. In 1530 a notary public of that name, with two others, witnessed the exemption from municipal office of Richard Barnes; in 1542 both a John Raymond ‘gentleman’ and a ‘Master Raymond’ contributed to the cost of the Scottish campaign, and in 1560 a John Raymond was holding, but not occupying a tenement and garden, as well as two more tenements which he held with, amongst others, Thomas Vachell II. The presence in or near the town of one family of the name, if not two, is also shown by the christening at St. Mary’s of a John in 1538, followed by an Alice and a Dorothy, as well as by the bequests made in 1544 by a vicar of Thatcham, himself bearing the well known local surname Justice, to his cousins John, Leonard and Thomas Raymond. Nothing that has come to light, however, explains the election of a local man who was not a burgess, while the few John Raymonds found elsewhere are in the main even more hypothetical. The purveyor at Calais in 1520 might have been connected with Richard Smith I, Member for Reading in1512 and himself sometime a customer of Calais, but only their name draws attention to either the merchant taylor of London who died about 1557 or the man of Dorset who did so in 1575. By contrast, it can be said with the confidence that John Raymond II, Member for Maldon in 1536 and in October 1553 was a different man.4