MORLEY, William (c.1531-97), of Glynde, Suss.

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.1531, 1ts s. of Thomas Morley by Elizabeth, da. of Anthony Maycott of Reculver, Kent. educ. ?Queens’, Camb. 1545, BA 1548-9, fellow 1548-50. m. (1) settlement 14 Oct. 1560, Ann, da. of Anthony Pelham of Warbleton, Suss., 1 or 2s. inc. Herbert Morley 3da.; (2) Sept. 1570, Margaret (d.1632), da. of William Roberts of Warbleton, 2 or 3s. 1da. suc. fa. 1559.1

Offices Held

J.p. Suss. from c.1570, commr. piracy 1577, capt. of musters by 1584; sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 1580-1; jurat, Winchelsea 1582, mayor and brodhull rep. 1583-4.2


Morley was ‘consiliarius’ of the English at Padua university in 1556. He afterwards left Padua in the company of his cousin John Pelham and travelled to Geneva, where they were received into the congregation of John Knox on 26 Nov. 1557. He and Pelham were both in the 1571 Parliament, where Morley spoke on usury (19 Apr.) and was appointed to a conference on 28 May to discuss whether Surrey and Sussex should have separate or joint sheriffs. He bought the manor of Combe, Sussex, with land in several parishes, from Lord Windsor in January 1563, but otherwise is not known to have added to the estates he inherited from his father, which included eight manors besides Glynde, and an interest in an iron mill and furnaces in Hawkesden Mayfield. His subsidy assessment, £20 in 1560, had by 1572 risen to £30, still a comparatively small amount. However, he carried out extensive rebuilding at Glynde, where his coat of arms in the inner quadrangle is dated 1569.3

Morley was classified by his bishop in 1564 as a ‘favourer of godly proceedings’. A number of letters were sent to him from the Privy Council on such matters as using his influence to end quarrels between local gentlemen, putting down highway robbery in Sussex, or regulating fishing at Rye. In June 1584 he and George Goring I asked permission to resign their offices of captains of musters for the rape of Pevensey, pointing out that they already had to attend in their respective divisions of Lewes and the Cinque Ports. Sussex often experienced trouble in distributing officials over the county. A list of justices drawn up in October 1587 says that although Morley was a ‘good justice as well in respect of religion as of the common wealth’, he was unsuitable for service in the rape of ‘Levefsey’ (?Pevensey) as he lived near Lewes. He made one of the largest contributions from his county—£60—to the Armada fund of 1588-9. In his will, drawn up in October 1573, Morley made arrangements for his widow, and for his first wife’s children, but much of this was out of date by his death on 24 Nov. 1597. The executor was the heir, Herbert, and the overseers were three relatives, Herbert Pelham, Anthony Morley and Anthony Staple or Stapley. The will was proved in January 1598.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: N. M. Fuidge / K.B.


  • 1. Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv. 165; W. Berry, Co. Genealogies, Suss. (Comber’s copy at Chichester); Glynde Place Archives, ed. Dell, 23-7; Lansd. 146, ff. 19-20.
  • 2. CPR, 1563-6, p. 405; E. Suss. RO, Winchelsea hundred bk. iv. 165, 171, 194; Cinque Ports black bk. f. 45; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 181.
  • 3. C. H. Garrett, Marian Exiles, 231; D’Ewes, 171-2; CJ, i. 93; Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv. 165; Suss. Arch. Colls. iii. 214; xviii. 13-14; xx. 73 CPR, 1560-3, pp. 614-15; Berry, loc. cit.
  • 4. Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 11; APC, x. 100, 190; xiii. 417; xviii. 355-6; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 181; Lansd. 53, ff. 160-1; T. C. Noble, Names of Those who Subscribed, 64; PCC 3 Lewyn; C142/253/98; Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv. 165.