Wootton Bassett

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
20 Jan 1559CHRISTOPHER DYSMARS
 HUMPHREY MOSELEY
1562/3JOHN HIPPISLEY
 GABRIEL PLEYDELL
29 Jan. 1563 (new writ )1MATTHEW POYNTZ vice Hippisley, chose to sit for Wells
1571HENRY KNYVET
 JOHN WINCHCOMBE
26 Apr. 1572HENRY KNYVET
 EDMUND DUNCH
3 Nov 1584THOMAS VAVASOUR
 JOHN HUNGERFORD
9 Oct. 1586THOMAS VAVASOUR
 JOHN HUNGERFORD
14 Oct. 1589(SIR) HENRY KNYVET
 JOHN HUNGERFORD
1593JOHN HUNGERFORD
 WILLIAM MEREDITH
5 Oct. 1597HENRY DACRE
 JOHN LOWE
7 Oct. 1601JOHN WENTWORTH
 JOHN RICE

Main Article

The manor of Wootton Bassett was in Crown hands during this period, following the departure overseas of Sir Francis Englefield, a Catholic. The keepership of that part of the manor known as Little Vastern Park was granted to Henry Knyvet on 8 July 1563 following his marriage into the Stumpe family.2

During the earlier part of the reign Sir John Thynne was responsible for the returns of Humphrey Moseley (1559), John Hippisley and Gabriel Pleydell (1563), John Winchcombe (1571) and Edmund Dunch (1572). At the first election after obtaining the keepership of Little Vastern Park Henry Knyvet began to exert his influence. Seven Parliaments were to meet before he died, and he sat in all of them, three times returning himself for Wootton Bassett (1571, 1572 and 1589) and on the other occasions, when he sat for Malmesbury, demonstrating his hold over the Wootton Bassett seat by bringing in his nephew Thomas Vavasour (1584, 1586), his grandson Henry Dacre (1597), and probably being responsible for the return of William Meredith, a Wiltshire landowner, in 1593. Local standing probably accounts for the election of two Wiltshire country gentlemen, Christopher Dysmars (1559) and John Hungerford (1584, 1586, 1589, 1593). John Wentworth (1601) was an Essex country gentleman, returned through his wife’s relative, the Earl of Hertford. Matthew Poyntz, a Gloucestershire country gentleman, who replaced Hippisley for the 1563 Parliament, had no known links with the borough. Neither had John Lowe (1597), a Salisbury lawyer. John Rice (1601) has not been