RYTHER (RYDER), John (by 1514-52), of London.

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 1514, prob. s. of Nicholas Ryther ?of Castle Hedingham, Essex by w. Margaret. educ. ?Queens’, Camb. pens. 1517-21. m. (1) Margaret; (2) Mary, at least 3s. 3da.1

Offices Held

Commr. tenths of spiritualities, Suff. 1535, subsidy, royal household 1547, relief 1550; comptroller, household of Elizabeth, dowager Countess of Oxford by 1537, of 16th Earl of Oxford in 1542; receiver, forfeited possessions of Cromwell 1540; cofferer, household of Prince Edward by 1541-7, royal household 1547-d.; receiver and chamberlain, ct. gen. surveyors of the King’s lands by 1545.2


John Ryther came of an old established Yorkshire family, which took its name from its main seat at Ryther in the West Riding. It is probable that he was the son of Nicholas Ryther, a servant of John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, in 1490, and of Margaret Ryther ‘the elder’, servant to the earl’s widow. In 1537 the countess left the elder Margaret Ryther, ‘for the true and faithful service that she of long continuance hath done to me’, 100 marks, two silver-gilt salts and much linen and tapestry. To her comptroller of household John Ryther she left silver worth £11 6s.8d., to his wife Margaret some linen and bedding, to her goddaughter Elizabeth Ryther £5 and to a younger John Ryther the same sum; Margaret Ryther the elder and John Ryther were among the executors of the will. By her own will of 1542 this Margaret Ryther, then a widow, appointed her son John sole executor: she made bequests of silver and linen to other named relatives and charitable gifts to churches in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and at Castle Hedingham and Earls Colne, Essex, the last two being seats of the De Vere family.3

Nothing is known of Ryther’s early years. Of an age with the 14th Earl, he was doubtless reared to service in the household and may have been the ‘John Rider’ who was a pensioner at Queens’ College, Cambridge from 1517 to 1521. The year 1537, which saw the death of the countess and the birth of Prince Edward, was the occasion of Ryther’s entry into the royal service as well as of his growing employment in public affairs. In 1539 he was commissioned to report to Cromwell on the alleged embezzlement by one of the abbot’s servants of the jewelry of Colchester abbey; it was perhaps as a consequence of this assignment that he himself purchased £25 worth of the abbey’s ‘household stuff’ at the end of that year. The fall of the minister in the following one brought Ryther his first important post: in August 1540 he was appointed receiver of all Cromwell’s forfeited possessions and keeper of his principal house. His fee for this office was upwards of £35 a year plus one per cent of the ‘issues’, and in 1543 he received an additional £200, perhaps as a gratuity on the completion of a long and difficult assignment. The John Ryther who raised a company of eight billmen to serve in the French war of 1544 was probably a namesake, for he himself must have been fully occupied with the day-to-day financing of the expedition as one of the five persons authorized in May to purchase provisions for the army on the strength of bills which the treasurer for the war, Sir Richard Rich, was instructed to honour.4

In 1544 Ryther bought land in Essex from the Earl of Oxford and the crown and in the following year a good deal more in Suffolk, some of which he soon resold. His appointment as cofferer of the Household on Edward VI’s accession was followed by considerable rewards in land and money, including an annuity of 50 marks granted in July 1550. It also brought him a seat in Parliament, the choice being evidently dictated by his own and his family’s long connexion with the earls of Oxford. He owned only a small amount of property in Essex, but the 16th Earl could certainly dispose of at least one of the Colchester seats and Ryther would not have lacked support from the court: he was, for instance, a ‘most especial friend’ of the Protector Somerset’s brother-in-law (Sir) Clement Smith, who named him an executor. In the Commons Ryther presumably looked after the crown’s financial interest, but neither of the bills committed to him, to diswarren common land and to prevent regrating, forestalling and engrossing, was of much consequence.5

Ryther made his nuncupative will on 5 Oct. 1552 and died six days later. He left £100 to each of five named children and provided for the marriage of his two eldest sons to the two daughters of a Worcestershire landowner, John Pritchard, both of whose wardships he had purchased in 1551. Among the executors were his second wife Mary and John Wiseman of Great Canfield. Ryther’s eldest son John was about 19 at the time of his father’s death: in recognition of the dead man’s services to the crown the son was granted his own wardship and marriage as free gifts and in the following reign he was awarded an annuity of £37.6

On the list of Members of the Parliament of 1547 as revised for the final session of January 1552 Ryther’s name is erased and marked ‘mortuus’. As he did not die until the following October, after the Parliament had been dissolved, the emendation must have been made late in 1552 or early in 1553 and is probably to be connected with the nomination of Members to Edward VI’s second Parliament.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first certain reference. Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Clay, ii. 458; PCC 8 Spert, 31 Powell.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, viii, xvi, xx; CPR, 1553, p. 367; information from Susan Flower; Lit. Rems. Edw. VI, p. xxxii; E315/523, passim; APC, ii. passim; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 275n.
  • 3. Household Bks. of John Duke of Norfolk and Thomas Earl of Surrey (Roxburghe Club), passim; Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. xx. 9-16; Archaeologia, lxvi. 319; PCC 8 Spert.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xv, xvii, xix.
  • 5. Ibid. xix, xx; CPR, 1547-8, p. 202; 1549-51, p. 292; 1550-3, pp. 40, 439; 1553, p. 137; CJ, i. 16-17.
  • 6. PCC 31 Powell; CPR, 1553-4, pp. 89-90.
  • 7. Hatfield 207.