MASSEY, William (c.1515-79), of Puddington, Cheshire.

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



Family and Education

b. c.1515, 1st s. of Sir John Massey by Katherine, da. of Thomas Venables, Baron of Kinderton, and aunt of Sir Thomas Venables. m. (1) Anne (d.1568), da. of George Booth of Dunham, 6s. 2da.; (2) Margaret, wid. of Richard Forsett and of Roger Amyce. suc. fa. 1551.

Offices Held

J.p. Cheshire from c.1559, sheriff 1563-4.


Massey owned considerable land in Cheshire, as well as an estate over the Welsh border in Flintshire. He was probably the ‘Mr. Massie of Puddington’ described in 1568 as ‘steward to the [3rd] Earl of Derby’: this may refer to the stewardship of Derby’s manors rather than to an office in the Earl’s household. With the support of the greatest magnate in the district, a relationship with the Venables family, and his own social position in Cheshire, Massey was able to attain the dignity of a county seat. Little is known of his career. Like many other Lancashire and Cheshire gentlemen he favoured Catholicism, remaining however an active official in his county until at least August 1577, when he was one of the commissioners who examined abuses in the collection of customs at Chester, where he owned property in Watergate Street.

He died on 4 June 1579. His will, made 24 Apr. and proved 23 July that year, suggests that he was not a wealthy man. He left £13 6s.8d. for the building of a monument, and a further £6 6s.8d. to make a new window and to improve the lighting in the north chapel of St. Nicholas, Burton, where he wished to be buried. The monument, now destroyed, was an alabaster altar tomb, with recumbent figures, inlaid in black marble, of him and his wife.

PRO Chester, 3/70/6; 3/79/6; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. lix), 173; St. Ch. 5/M7/1; Ormerod, Cheshire, ii. 557, 560-1; T. S. Leatherbarrow, Lancs. Eliz. Recusants (Chetham Soc. n.s. cx), 32; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 76; Lansd. 25, f. 10; Lancs. and Cheshire Wills, ed. Irvine (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. xxx), 195-8.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge