WOODROFE, Sir Nicholas (c.1530-98), of London; later of Poyle, Surr.

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.1530, 1st s. of David Woodrofe, sheriff and haberdasher of London, by Elizabeth, da. of John Hill, alderman and grocer of London. m. Griselda (d.1607), da. of Stephen Kyrton of London, 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 1563. Kntd. 1580.

Offices Held

Master, Haberdashers’ Co. 1585; treasurer, St. Thomas’s hospital 1569-71, president 1584-6; alderman, London 1571-88, sheriff 1572-3, ld. mayor 1579-80.


During his membership of the Commons Woodrofe sat on committees dealing with the Sabbath day (27 Nov. 1584), grain, ecclesiastical affairs and the navy (19 Dec.), the subsidy (24 Feb. 1585), London apprentices (2 Mar.), water bailiffs (10 Mar.) and piracy (24 Mar.). At different times he was appointed by the Privy Council to a number of commissions, dealing mainly with disputes between merchants. On one occasion he was himself the subject of a complaint to the Council. In 1580 Thomas Cosgrave of Dublin reported that, though the sheriff’s court of London had awarded him £30 in a case of debt, Woodrofe—then lord mayor—would not agree to the verdict, constraining him to take £20.

Woodrofe resigned as alderman in 1588, on grounds of health, and soon afterwards retired to his estate in Surrey, where he made his will on 7 May 1596. ‘It hath pleased God’, he wrote,

many ways to diminish my former estate, so that I am not able to remember my wife, children, friends, and servants, with other good uses, as I much desire, and would not omit if ability did serve. I must therefore desire my friends and all others to judge the best, my estate, I protest, being so mean that I cannot accomplish that I owe in good will towards them.

He divided his personal estate according to the custom of London: a third to his wife, a third to his children, and a third for his personal bequests. He left £3 6s. 8d. to a servant, £10 to the poor at his funeral, and £10 to the poor of Farnham, Guildford, and Seale, the parish in which he lived. A further £2 was bequeathed for the repair of Seale church. The remainder of his third he left to his wife and executrix, Griselda, who proved the will on 7 Aug. 1598. He died 18 May 1598, and was buried at Seale. The heir was his son David.

C142/137/31; Manning and Bray, Surr. iii. 94, 175, 178; Surr. Arch. Colls. xxxii. 88; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. cix, cx), 26; PCC 21 Chayre, 71 Lewyn; A. B. Beaven, Aldermen, i. 63, 139; ii. 38; D’Ewes, 333, 343, 356, 362, 365, 372; APC, x. 50-1; xi. 223; xii. 279.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière