King's Lynn

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Elections

DateCandidate
1558/9THOMAS HOGAN 1
 THOMAS WATERS 2
1562/3ROBERT BELL
 RICHARD LESTRANGE
1571ROBERT BELL
 JOHN KYNNE
1572ROBERT BELL
 JOHN PELL
18 Jan. 1580JOHN PEYTON I vice Bell, deceased
9 Mar. 1584JOHN PEYTON I
 RICHARD CLARKE
5 Oct. 1586RICHARD CLARKE
 THOMAS OXBOROUGH
1588/9RICHARD CLARKE
 THOMAS BOSTON
1593(SIR)JOHN PEYTON I
 WILLIAM LEWIS II
16 Sept. 1597THOMAS OXBOROUGH
 NATHANIEL BACON
9 Oct. 1601SIR ROBERT MANSELL
 THOMAS OXBOROUGH

Main Article

The corporation of King’s Lynn consisted of the mayor, 12 aldermen and 18 common councilmen. The electors were the ‘mayor, the aldermen and common council’. Some of the surviving returns for this period recite the names of the burgesses taking part, about 24 in 1584, 21 in 1586, 18 in 1597. In 1589 the parliamentary wages were 3s.4d. a day, raised by a special tax, often collected at the same time as the fifteenths and tenths.

At the beginning of this period the 4th Duke of Norfolk had evidently some influence over the choice of MPs, as he had at other Norfolk boroughs. Thomas Hogan (1559) and Richard Lestrange (1563) were his men. Thomas Waters (1559) was a townsman making his eighth appearance in Parliament, and Robert Bell, of Beaupré Hall, some l2 miles from the borough, and its recorder, was elected in 1563, and again in 1571, with a townsman, John Kynne. In April 1572 it was evidently intended to return the two townsmen John Pell and Thomas Grave(s), but it was then decided, at what stage in the proceedings has not been ascertained (but after a May), to bring in Bell again instead of Grave(s): probably it was a matter of finding a seat for the man intended for the Speakership.

Though King’s Lynn had a succession of powerful men as high stewards (Leicester from 1572; Walsingham from 1588; Hatton from 1590; Burghley from 1592; Egerton from 1598) these, except in one doubtful instance, had no effect upon the independence of the King’s Lynn electors. The Member here concerned is John Peyton I, who was a follower of Leicester and went with him to the Netherlands. But Peyton replaced Bell not only as MP for King’s Lynn in 1581, but also in bed, for he married Bell’s widow, and at board, for he moved into Beaupre Hall. He thus became a local man, and went on to sit in the Parliaments of 1584 and 1593. Richard Clarke (1584, 1586, 1589) and Thomas Boston (1589) were townsmen; Thomas Oxborough (1586, 1597, 1601) and William Lewis II (1593,) were recorders; and Nathaniel Bacon (1597) and Sir Robert Mansell (1601) were local gentlemen.3

Author: P. W. Hasler

Notes

  • 1. E371/402(1).
  • 2. Ibid.