TREW, Simon (by 1515-52), of Cambridge.

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 1515.2

Offices Held

Alderman, Cambridge, mayor 1536-7; j.p. Cambs. 1539-45; commr. sewers, Cambs., Hunts., Lincs., Northants. 1540, musters, Cambs. 1541; serjeant-at-arms July 1550-d.3


Although his family is not mentioned in the visitations of Cambridgeshire, Simon Trew must have been of gentle birth to have achieved the office of serjeant-at-arms. Moreover, he was the only Cambridge townsman of this period, apart from Thomas Brakyn, to serve on the county commission of the peace. He was a loyal supporter of the town in its disputes with the university and when elected mayor he refused to take the accustomed oath binding him to uphold the university’s privileges. The corporation wrote to Cromwell on 29 Sept. 1536, Trew’s first day of office, justifying this refusal by reference to a supposed alteration of the oath ceremony which Cromwell and the town’s high steward, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, were said to have intended. Cromwell had written to the corporation several times during the previous years, mainly about the townsmen’s refusal to allow the university authorities to exercise their rights at Sturbridge fair. Trew evidently aggravated the situation and further letters from Cromwell were followed by a royal letter of 29 Aug. 1537, from which it appears that the only notice the corporation had taken of the minister’s remonstrances was to send Trew and others to London ‘to have had countermandment of some things in the said letters contained’.4

As a commissioner for musters in 1541 Trew attempted to muster the scholars of the university which earned him a further rebuke from the Council. He served with two billmen in the French campaign of 1544 but apparently returned from the war more belligerent than he had gone; on 22 Oct. 1546, as deputy for the absent mayor, Trew ‘refused with his brethren that two aldermen and four burgesses should take any oath at the vice-chancellor’s hands’. On 1 Nov. the Council ordered the townsmen to adhere to precedent in the matter of the oath, but agreed to hear their objections to the custom, a reasonable condition that was ‘received with some stomach’. The town was defeated but not cowed, as the university’s articles of complaint of 18 Dec. show; the first complaint alleged that at the last meeting of both sides:

There was such inordinate unseemly and uncharitable facing and craking of the vice-chancellor, especially by Mr. [Robert] Chapman, Mr. Trew and Mr. [Edward] Slegge, that it seemed rather to tend unto a sedition threatening ... than any other meeting of reasonable men.5

After this clash Trew seems to have played less part in Cambridge affairs; his appointment as serjeant-at-arms, in which capacity he joined his municipal colleague Edward Slegge, clearly kept him away from the town, at least to begin with. In July 1550 he was designated ‘the King’s servant’ and a month later was paid £20 ‘by way of the King’s reward for his good attendance at the court’. No will or inquisition post mortem has been found but he died before 28 Sept. 1552, when his post of serjeant-at-arms, vacated by his death, was conferred on another.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. C. H. Cooper, Cambridge Annals, i. 422.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference.
  • 3. F. Blomefield, Coll. Cant. 224; LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xiv, xvi, xvii, xx; CPR, 1549-51, pp. 291-2; 1550-3, p. 409.
  • 4. Cooper, i. 384-5, 388-90; Stowe 669, f. 1.
  • 5. J. Lamb, Letters from ms Lib. of C.C.C. Cambridge, 41, 73-74; LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xix, xxi; Cooper, i. 441-3.
  • 6. CPR, 1549-51, pp. 291-2; 1550-3, p. 409; APC, iii. 102.