SMITH, alias DYER, John (1498/99-1571), of Ipswich, Suff.

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. 1498/99. m. Jan. 1546, Catherine Coppyn, prob. a wid., 3s. 4da.2

Offices Held

Chamberlain, Ipswich 1541, member of the Twenty-Four 1543, constable 1545, bailiff 1546-7, 1551-2, 1557-8, 1560-1, 1566-7, j.p. 1546-9, 1551-3, 1557-62, 1564-5, 1566-70.3


Nothing has been discovered about the origins of John Smith alias Dyer, but his late appearance in the Ipswich records suggests that he was not a native of that town, although he could have been the merchant of Ipswich who was involved in two chancery suits relating to land between 1529 and 1538. For the subsidy of 1545 he was assessed on goods worth £40, showing him to have been among the wealthier townsmen; in 1568 his assessment was on £30. This local standing was reflected in Smith’s return to three Parliaments between 1547 and 1554; early in 1553 he and Richard Bryde alias Byrde were elected despite a recommendation from Edward Grimston in favour of a crown official, William Honing. Smith also made journeys to London on the town’s business. In 1562 he went with others at the request of (Sir) Nicholas Bacon for proceedings in the ‘compromise concerning Mr. Tooley’s mortmain’. Five years later he was called upon to give evidence in a Star Chamber case between the corporation and Edmund Withypoll.4

By a will made on 12 Sept. 1571 Smith left two houses in Ipswich, a mortgage on Elton Hall and a lease of Brook’s Hall there to be divided between his wife and his sons, two named William, and John. He also made bequests to his sons-in-law John Blowers, John Coppyn (probably a stepson), Thomas Kennington and William Saunders and left books to his sons including ‘Paraphrases upon the epistles of St. Paul’, Bullinger ‘upon the Apocalypse’ and a bible ‘of the Geneva translation’. ‘Mr. Keyes, preacher’ received a gown and money. The will was proved on 2 Oct. 1571 by the executors, Smith’s sons William the elder and John. The latter may have been the John Smith lodging by the London Bridewell to whom Edward Dyer (possibly a relative) wrote on 2 Aug. 1571 as ‘my very friend’ suggesting that he should come to court, the Earl of Leicester having recommended him to the Queen.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: John Pound


  • 1. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 2. Aged 68 in 1567. PCC 38 Holney, 16 Carew; Add. 37226, p. 194; N. Bacon, Annals Ipswich, 277n.
  • 3. Bacon, 216, 221 et passim.
  • 4. C1/667/9, 758/12; E179/181/270; Suff. Green Bks. xii. 166; Ipswich central lib. letters, accession 2672, no. 4; Bacon, 262, 277n; Walthamstow Antiq. Soc. xxxiv. 45.
  • 5. PCC 38 Holney; Lansd. 13, ff. 117-18.