Lincoln

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
1558/9ANTHONY THOROLD 1
 ROBERT FARRAR 2
1562/3ROBERT MONSON
 ROBERT FARRAR
1571THOMAS WILSON
 ROBERT MONSON
5 May 1572THOMAS WILSON 3
 JOHN WELCOME 4
1584STEPHEN THYMBLEBY 5
 JOHN JOYE 6
1586JOHN SAVILE II
 THOMAS FAIRFAX I
1588/9GEORGE ANTON
 PETER EURE
1593GEORGE ANTON
 CHARLES DYMOKE
1597THOMAS GRANTHAM II 7
 GEORGE ANTON 8
12 Oct. 1601GEORGE ANTON
 FRANCIS BULLINGHAM

Main Article

The city of Lincoln, with a population of more than 2,000 in the middle of the sixteenth century, was a county in itself. It was governed by a mayor and 12 aldermen, constituting a self-perpetuating body usually known as the ‘inner chamber’: most of its members were merchants. There was also a common council of ‘discreet and honest persons’, chosen by the aldermen. The city had a recorder, usually elected from the local gentry, and two sheriffs.

Parliamentary elections, for which writs were sent direct to the sheriffs, were held at meetings of the county court in the guildhall. The return for the 1601 Parliament is made out between the sheriffs on the one hand and, on the other hand, the mayor, five aldermen, ten named persons—presumably common councilmen—and ‘other citizens of the said city’. As lessees from the Crown of the fee-farm rent of the city, the Manners family, earls of Rutland, had considerable influence in Lincoln’s affairs, including parliamentary elections. In 1573 the 3rd Earl asked to be made steward of the city, an office apparently unknown hitherto; but the aldermen seem to have refused.

The election for the first Parliament of Elizabeth’s reign coincided with negotiations between the authorities and 2nd Earl for the outright purchase of the fee-farm. In December 1558, therefore, even before the writ had arrived, Rutland’s nominee, Robert Farrar, who had sat for Lincoln several times already, was elected again. The common practice of electing the recorder as the other Member would probably have followed and the decision been confirmed at the next meeting of the county court. By that date, however, he had died and it seems evident that the inner chamber intended to choose Robert Monson, not only as recorder but also also as MP. But the common council book shows Anthony Thorold, a friend of the Earl of Rutland, was hastily elected as recorder and it was he who acquired the other seat in Parliament. How this this occurred is not clear, but it seems to have been the only occasion during the reign when Manners influence prevailed in the nomination for both. At any rate, Lincoln Liner retained Monson as an additional legal adviser, and in 1563 he was elected to Parliament with Farrar.

In 1571 Thomas Wilson, master of requests and future principal secretary was elected ‘for divers good considerations’. He lived at Washingborough, within the county of the city of Lincoln, and may have been suggested to the council by Monson. His colleague in 1572 was John Welcome, the only alderman to sit in Parliament during the reign. Both these Members died before the Parliament was dissolved, though Wilson’s death occurred after its final session. That the 3rd Earl of was anxious to interest in the borough is suggested by a letter of June Julie by urging him to support Bullport the candidature of Robert Dymoke for the seat Wilson had left vacant. However, no evidence of a by-election to replace either Wilson or Welcome been found. Rutland nominated to the next two Parliaments. John Joye (1584) was one of Rutland’s legal advisers, and Thomas Fairfax (1586) was a relative from Yorkshire whose father for that county at the same time. Stephen Thymbleby (1584), the re