SEER, John (by 1512-52/53), of Sandwich, Kent.

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 1512. m. Agnes, 1s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Common councilman, Sandwich (St. Clement’s parish) 1533-4, 1537-47, (St. Peter’s parish) 1534-7, treasurer 1536-7, auditor 1540, 1547, 1548, constable of the 12th ward 1537-41, jurat 1547-d.; bailiff to Yarmouth 1551-d.3


John Seer was a baker. He usually absented himself from the assizes of bread held at Sandwich, and on the only occasion he is known to have attended a breadweighing he was fined 5s. for forestalling and regrating five bushels of barley. He did not cut much of a figure in the port: although he served as a constable of one of its wards from 1537 to 1541 and attended the Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports at Romney on five occasions, he was never mayor. The apex of his career was undoubtedly his Membership of Parliament: this followed half-a-year after his election as a jurat and appears to have been the work of Archbishop Cranmer, for one of whose servants he had stood surety in 1546. The mayor refused to seal the indenture naming Seer and Thomas Pinnock as Members and returned Thomas Patche and Thomas Ardern instead, but the Privy Council overruled the mayor and further ordered the port to pay Seer and Pinnock 20s. compensation. As a Protestant Seer doubtless welcomed the Edwardian Reformation, but nothing has come to light about his part in the proceedings of the Commons: he must have missed part of the third session when on 14 Dec. 1549 he attended a breadweighing at Sandwich, and during the fourth session, when he had been instructed to help Pinnock in the matter of Sandwich harbour, the pair were ordered to leave the House until the validity of their Membership had been settled.4

Seer made his will on 4 May 1551, ordering that no prayers should be said at his burial but that a sermon should be preached then and at his month’s mind and year’s mind. After remembering the poor he left his son Thomas, born on 28 May 1545, £20 on reaching 21, and his daughter Elizabeth £20 when she became 18 or married. He made his wife residuary legatee and sole executrix and appointed as overseers John Broke, Thomas Cotton and Thomas Harflete, asking them ‘to see my children brought up in the informance of the Lord and to defend my wife from wrongs’.

The last reference to Seer in the records of Sandwich occurs on 5 Oct. 1552 when a boy was apprenticed to him to learn ‘the craft of bakership.’ His will was proved twice, on 18 Jan. and 13 Mar.1553. On 21 Jan. 1553 his widow was fined 5s. for failing to keep the assize of bread.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Sandwich old red bk., f. 197v, 251.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Canterbury prob. reg. A29, f. 7.
  • 3. Sandwich old red bk., passim; little black bk., f. 1; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 244, 247.
  • 4. Sandwich old red bk., ff. 94, 102, 112, 128, 187, 194v, 197v, 207, 251; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks., 222, 237-9, 244, 247; APC, ii. 536-7; CJ, i. 17.
  • 5. Canterbury prob. reg. A29, ff. 7, 313; Sandwich little black bk., ff. 21, 30v.