SKIPWITH, William (by 1487-1547), of South Ormsby, 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 1487, 1st s. of Sir John Skipwith of South Ormsby by Catherine, da. of Sir Richard Fitzwilliam of Aldwark, Yorks. m. (1) c.1505, Elizabeth (d.c.1515), da. of Sir William Tyrwhitt of Kettleby, Lincs., 1s. Sir William; (2) c.1517, Alice (d. 29 June 1550), da. and coh. of Sir Lionel Dymoke of Mareham-on-thy-Hill, Lincs., 4s. inc. Henry 7da.; 1s. 1da. illegit. by Agnes. suc. fa. 5 Jan. 1518. Kntd. 31 May 1533 / 26 June 1534.3

Offices Held

J.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) 1520-d.; commr. subsidy, Lincs. 1523, 1536, loan 1524, musters 1542, 1546, contribution 1546; other commissions. 1530-d.; sheriff, Lincs. 1526-7; servitor at coronation of Anne Boleyn 1533.4


William Skipwith, a descendant of the 14th-century judge Sir William de Skipwith, and the head of a prosperous Lincolnshire family connected by marriage with more important neighbours, was active in the affairs of the county. During the rising of 1536 he acted for the King, not without jeopardy to his life. Taken prisoner at Louth by the insurgents, he yielded to pressure and signed the letters expounding grievances to the King; but on the advance of the Duke of Suffolk to put down the rebellion he managed to evade his captors on 14 Oct. and submitted to Suffolk five or six days later.5

The ennoblement, towards the end of 1529, of Sir John Hussey and Sir Gilbert Tailboys, the two knights of the shire for Lincolnshire in the Parliament of that year, had created two vacancies which were left unfilled until Cromwell intervened in 1532 or 1533. From a prepared list of three names Cromwell, perhaps after consultation with the King, chose Skipwith and his brother-in-law Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, against whose names he placed a circle, in preference to Robert Hussey, younger brother of Lord Hussey. Although there is no evidence that either Skipwith or Tyrwhitt was by-elected, Skipwith’s knighthood, which may have been conferred during the sixth session early in 1534, would have suitably recognized his representation of the shire in Parliament. If he did join it in that or the previous year, he was doubtless re-elected to its successor in 1536, in accordance with the King’s general request for the return of the previous Members. He was certainly chosen again in 1539, when he may be thought to have had a share in the Act (31 Hen. VIII, c. 16) for his daughter Margaret’s jointure on her marriage to George, 2nd Lord Tailboys. It was during the second session of the same Parliament, on 10 June 1539, that the house and site of the suppressed abbey of Markby, Lincolnshire, from which he had earlier drawn a fee, were leased to Skipwith, the reversion being granted to the Duke of Suffolk: the £100 he was owing to the King three years later may have been arrears of payment for this lease.6

Skipwith died at Ormsby on 7 July 1547, apparently intestate.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; LP Hen. VIII, vii. 56 citing SP1/82, ff. 59-62.
  • 2. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r.[1-2].
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/33/21. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 889, 895; Vis. Lincs. ed. Metcalfe, 64; Holles’ Church Notes (Lincoln Rec. Soc. i), 120; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 280; C142/91/94; W. O. Massingberd, Ormsby, 94, 391; LP Hen. VIII, vi, vii; Lincs. Wills, 1500-1600, p. 16.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, iii-viii, xi, xiv, xvi, xvii, xx, xxi.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, iii, iv, xi.
  • 6. SP1/82, ff. 59-62; LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xvii; Lincs. Peds. 895; Vis. Lincs. 40-41.
  • 7. C142/87/26.