TAMWORTH, William, of London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

1st s. of John Tamworth (d.1374/5) of London, by his w. Alice. m. Denise (d. by 1393).1

Offices Held


Probably a Londoner by birth, William Tamworth inherited a substantial estate in the City from his father, who died in, or before, January 1375. According to the terms of his will, John Tamworth left his eldest son a quantity of timber and two river craft, as well as premises in Chancery Lane (including a ‘great house’ called Tamworth Inn), Holborn, and the London parish of Holy Sepulchre without Newgate. Tamworth subsequently agreed to pay his widowed mother an annual rent of 12 marks in return for immediate possession of his patrimony, and at some later date he acquired a messuage in the manor of Tyburn, Middlesex. At the time of his death he was said to enjoy a landed income in the order of £9 a year, although this figure may well represent only a part of his annual revenues from property.2

Tamworth accompanied Richard II on his expedition to Scotland in 1385; and it was as one of the King’s esquires that, in August 1386, he was granted 16 marks a year for life from the town of Camelford in Cornwall. In the following May, however, his annuity was re-allocated to him from the borough of Lostwithiel in the same county, and, for want of evidence to the contrary, it appears to have been paid regularly from then onwards. His wife, Denise, also stood well with the King, being the recipient of £10 a year from the Cornish boroughs of Bossiney and Trevenna in Bossiney until her death in 1393. It is possible that either she or her husband had personal connexions in this part of England, although neither owned land there.3 Meanwhile, in July 1390, Tamworth was being sued for debt in the City by a clerk named Richard Getynton. Two years later he acted as a trustee for the conveyance of property to the London Carthusians, who had recently obtained a royal licence for this purpose, although he did not otherwise involve himself in transactions of this kind.4 Save for his one return to Parliament as a shire knight for Middlesex in 1393 (when a kinsman named Richard Tamworth stood surety on his behalf), his last years remain obscure. In June 1396 Thomas Girdler, one of the men against whom he had previously brought an action for trespass, was pardoned his outlawry for non-appearance in court. Tamworth was still alive in the following August, but had died by February 1400, heavily in debt to the Crown, perhaps for political reasons arising from his loyalty to the dethroned Richard II. His London and Middlesex properties were then farmed out at an annual rent of £9 6s.8d. (raised to £10 13s.4d. in 1406, when Sir Oliver Mauleverer* became tenant) until the diverse sums of money which he owed should be recovered. A William Tamworth appears among the London tax returns of 1412 with an annual income of £2 from land, but there is no means of telling whether or not he was a son of the late shire knight.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


  • 1. Corporation of London RO, hr 103/1; CPR, 1391-6, p. 245.
  • 2. Corporation of London RO, hr 103/1, 51; CFR, xii. 54.
  • 3. EHR, lxxiii. 19; CPR, 1385-9, pp. 215, 314-15; 1391-6, 245.
  • 4. CCR, 1389-92, p. 276; CPR, 1391-6, p. 160; C143/418/34.
  • 5. C219/8/9; CPR, 1391-6, p. 682; 1396-9, p. 22; CFR, xii. 54; xiii. 44; Arch. Jnl. xliv. 76.