RICE, William (by 1522-88), of Medmenham, Bucks.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1522, s. of one Rice by Eden, da. of Thomas Saunders. m. by Nov. 1553, Barbara ?Fuller.1

Offices Held

Sewer, the chamber by 1543; bailiff, manors of Kingsland and Much Marcle, Herefs. Feb. 1543; gent. the privy chamber by Nov. 1553; bailiff and collector of former lands of St. Mary’s abbey, York in Cumb., Lincs., Yorks. and Westmld. 1553-?d.2


William Rice claimed gentle birth but his parentage has not been traced. He is first glimpsed in 1543 when already established as a minor household officer he obtained the bailiwick of two Herefordshire manors. Of his progression at court nothing has been found until Mary made him a gentleman of the privy chamber and gave him an annuity of £20 in reward for his support during the succession crisis of 1553. A more substantial grant to him and his wife Barbara, for good service, was made on 7 Nov. 1553, comprising the manors of Backnoe in Thurleigh, Bedfordshire and Medmenham. Later royal grants included manors in Kent and Somerset, and a moiety of some former Dudley properties in the midlands. Barbara Rice is sometimes identified with the Mistress Rice to whom during her last illness Queen Mary confided that when she died Calais would be found ‘lying’ on her heart, but this is more likely to have been Beatrice ap Rhys who had been in Mary’s service since at least 1525.