WRASTLEY (WRESTLEY), Robert.
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Family and Education
This Member has not been identified. His surname is spelled clearly ‘Wrastlay’ in the return and ‘Wrastley’ on the Crown Office list. He is named first in the return and is styled ‘gentleman’, whereas his fellow-Member Henry Goldney alias Fernell is described as a yeoman. Neither was marked among those who ‘stood for the true religion’ in the Parliament. As Goldney was to be appointed first bailiff in the charter of incorporation granted to Chippenham on 2 May 1554 it would be strange if the gentleman who had taken precedence over him eight months earlier was the Robert ‘Wrotesley’ named in the charter as one of the 12 burgesses who were to assist Goldney, yet the municipal accounts mention payments of 20s. in 1566 and 1570 to a Joan Wrestley, who was assessed for subsidy as a widow in 1571. No one else of the name is recorded earlier at Chippenham, but a John Wrastley became bailiff there in 1586.1
There was a John Wrastley of Sutton Benger, Wiltshire, who died late in 1556, and a Henry Wrastley of Salisbury who made his will in 1559; both described themselves as gentlemen but neither seems to have had a kinsman called Robert or any connexion with Chippenham. A man who might have been the Member was Robert Wrasteling, ‘trusty friend’, executor and residuary legatee of Richard Manchester, clerk. Manchester made his will when dying at the Savoy on 20 Oct. 1541 and shortly afterwards Wrasteling was sued by Charles Belfeld for goods worth at least £80, which Manchester was alleged to have obtained by posing as the executor of Ralph Belfeld. The case required depositions from several acquaintances of the dead men, including a gentleman of the King’s wardrobe; Ralph Belfeld himself had been secretary to the 3rd Duke of Norfolk and Richard Manchester a chaplain to Sir John Russell and a canon of Exeter. Wrasteling’s own position or residence is not stated, but he may thus have had connexions at court which later could have helped to bring him into Parliament.2