Worcester

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
3 Jan. 1559RICHARD BULLINGHAM
 GUTHLAC EDWARDS
1562/3WILLIAM GIBBES II
 JOHN MORE I
1571FRANCIS STREATE
 RICHARD BULLINGHAM
1572CHRISTOPHER DIGHTON I
 THOMAS WALSGROVE alias FLEET
7 Nov. 1584RICHARD NASH
 WALTER JONES
26 Sept. 1586RALPH WYAT
 WALTER JONES
1 Nov. 1588WALTER JONES
 JOHN WALSGROVE alias FLEET
1593WALTER JONES
 ROLAND BERKELEY
14 Oct. 1597ROLAND BERKELEY
 WILLIAM BAGNALL
1601ROLAND BERKELEY
 CHRISTOPHER DIGHTON II

Main Article

The government of Worcester was vested in two bailiffs, a recorder, a town clerk, a council of 24 and a council of 48. The method of election, according to the chamber order book, was that the city council would meet (probably to make the actual choice of MP), then the bellman would summon ‘the rest of the commons ... as many as would come’ to ‘give their voices thereunto’. Then the ‘bailiffs and the whole council together went up to the council chamber and ... proceeded to their election’. In the event of disagreement a poll would be taken of all those present, including the 24 and the 48.

Worcester had a record of complete electoral independence. All the MPs were townsmen and all except John Walsgrovealias Fleet (1589) held office in the corporation. John Walsgrove alias Fleet was a lawyer, son of Thomas Walsgrove alias Fleet (1572). Also father and son were the two Christopher Dightons (1572, 1601). Walter Jones (1584, 1586, 1589, 1583) was the town clerk.

The more independent the borough, the more scrupulous it was about paying its MPs. The going rate at Worcester up to 1572 for each session was 2s. per day per Member plus 1s. per day ‘in consideration of finding of a man betwixt them’. The accounts for 1584 and 1597 work out at 3s. per day per Member, but there is no mention of provision for a servant. In 1563 each of the 24 paid 3s.2d., of the 48 2s.1d. The contribution of the commons was collected by wards, and the wages for the servant came from the ‘common treasure of this city’. The chamber order book, from which these figures are taken, has also an account of special expenses incurred in 1572 ‘upon a bill touching a water course out of [the river] Severn’:

Mr. Newton for drawing the bill10s.
Mr. Richardson’s clerk for engrossing the bill3s.