TYRWHITT, William (by 1531-91), of Twigmoor and Kettleby, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1531, 1st s. of Sir Robert Tyrwhitt II of Kettleby by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir Thomas Oxenbridge of Etchingham, Suss. m. settlement 1 Sept. 1576, Elizabeth, da. of Peter Frescheville of Staveley, Notts., 5s. 4da. suc. fa. 16 Nov. 1581.1

Offices Held


The identity of the William Tyrwhitt, gentleman, returned for Huntingdon with Thomas Maria Wingfield to Edward VI’s second Parliament is not easy to establish. He must have been a member of the Lincolnshire family, which favoured the baptismal name William equally with Robert, and his election was almost certainly the work of Sir Robert Tyrwhitt I who had settled in Huntingdonshire on marrying Wingfield’s mother. There is a remote possibility that William Tyrwhitt was a son of this Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, who predeceased his father and of whom no other trace has been found. It is known, however, that Sir Robert was uncle to at least two Williams and great-uncle to another. Of his nephews, the son of Sir William Tyrwhitt of Scotter was a clerk in holy orders who held the prebend of Brampton in Lincoln cathedral until his death in 1555, and the other was a younger son of Philip Tyrwhitt of Barton upon Humber who received £50 under his father’s will in 1558; the great-nephew was the eldest son of the Sir Robert Tyrwhitt of Kettleby who was returned to the Parliament of March 1553 for Lincolnshire. It was this great-nephew, then described as ‘William Tyrwhitt esquire, a young gentleman, son and heir apparent of Sir Robert Tyrwhitt of Lincolnshire, a man of great power in those parts’, who was involved in an action over lands in Lincolnshire said to have been sold to him unlawfully in or before 1552. He may thus be thought to have come of age recently and to have been eligible for the seat at Huntingdon early in 1553, and he is therefore taken to have been the Member. His father stood close to his great-uncle, his uncle Tristram was to be chosen for the town in 1571, and his younger brothers were to be beneficiaries under the great-uncle’s will a year later.2

From his marriage until the death of his father Tyrwhitt lived at Twigmoor. In June 1580 he was suspected of Catholicism and committed to the Tower where he remained until set free 12 months later on bail of £300 and a promise to take instruction ‘in the truth of the gospel’. A complaint by Bishop Cooper of Lincoln about his part in dissuading friends from conforming with the Anglican settlement led to his committal to the Fleet, from where in November 1581 he was released for his father’s funeral. It was discovered that while in the Fleet he had heard mass and this revelation decided an already doubtful Queen against naming him to the Lincolnshire bench upon which his forbears had served since the 14th century. He remained under surveillance for the remaining ten years of his life and although not recommitted to prison he was rarely allowed to visit Lincolnshire. It was while there winding up his mother’s affairs that he died on 18 July 1591. By his will made two months earlier he asked to be buried near his father’s grave in Bigbychurch and instructed his executors to sell various lands, including his manor of Fillingham, to provide legacies for his children.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 1019; C142/169/10, 231/65.
  • 2. C219/20/60; R. P. Tyrwhitt, Fam. Tyrwhitt, passim; PCC 30 Welles, 1 Tirwhite; Le Neve, Fasti, ii. 118; LP Hen. VIII, xvii, xix; St.Ch.3/3/72.
  • 3. CPR, 1572-5, p. 391; APC, xii-xviii, xx passim; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 280; 1581-90, pp. 46, 145, 280; Cath. Rec. Soc. v. 27, 28; G. Anstruther, Seminary Priests, i. 9; C142/231/65; PCC 21 Sainberbe.