Winchester

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
7 Jan. 1559WILLIAM LAWRENCE
 ROBERT BETHELL
Dec. 1562WILLIAM LAWRENCE
 THOMAS MICHELBORNE
1571THOMAS MICHELBORNE
 RICHARD BIRDE I
25 May 1572THOMAS MICHELBORNE
 JOHN CAPLYN II
14 Jan. 1583WILLIAM BETHELL vice Michelborne, deceased
11 Nov. 1584JOHN WOLLEY
 THOMAS FLEMING I
10 Oct. 1586JOHN WOLLEY
 THOMAS FLEMING I
9 Oct. 1588THOMAS FLEMING I
 FRANCIS MYLLES
1593(Sir) Edward Stafford II
 Thomas Fleming I
7 Oct. 1597WILLIAM BADGER
 JOHN MOORE III
7 Oct. 1601EDWARD COLE
 THOMAS FLEMING II

Main Article

Winchester’s principal officials in this period were a mayor, recorder, aldermen, two bailiffs, two coroners, two constables and the major’s ‘assistants’, known as the ‘24’ although their number varied. Sir Francis Walsingham, high steward of Winchester since 1588, procured a new charter for the city in 1588. On Walsingham’s death Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, was appointed to the office, but resigned in October 1591 in favour of (Sir) Thomas Heneage. When Heneage died in 1595, (Sir) Charles Blount, 8th Lord Mountjoy, succeeded him.

Parliamentary elections were made by the common assembly, held either at the guildhall or in the House of the Hospital of St. John. The number eligible to vote varied: 43 in 1559, 66 in 1586, 55 in 1593 and 63 in 1601. It appears from the minute books that the numbers actually present were somewhat lower: 30 in 1559 and about 40 at most other elections. There was only one known contest during Elizabeth’s reign; that was at the by-election in January 1583 occasioned by the death of Thomas Michelborne. The candidates were William Bethell and Richard Cooke, both local men. The former was elected, but did not take his seat as the Parliament, which had last sat in 1581, was dissolved in April 1583.

In all except the first and last Parliaments of the reign, Winchester returned its recorder or legal counsel: Thomas Michelborne (1563, 1571, 1572), T