BITHWAY, Robert (by 1517-57), of Marlborough, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. by 1517, ?s of one Bithway of Marlborough. m. Agnes, at least 1da.1
Member, mayor’s council, Marlborough by 1543, constable in 1543, mayor 1555-6.2
Robert Bithway was a tanner and probably a native of Marlborough, since a John Bithway had been mayor in 1511 and was later one of the mayor’s councillors. It is not certain, however, that Robert was John’s son, since the Member in his will was to mention a younger ‘cousin’ and namesake.3
In 1540, two years after his first appearance as a burgess of Marlborough, Bithway was taxed on goods worth £30 in the parish of St. Peter’s and in 1551 on goods valued at £40 in the Barley ward, an assessment equalled only by that of his fellow-Member, Robert Weare alias Browne, in the High Street ward. Bithway, whose trade is mentioned in connexion with a debt claimed by his widow from a Hampshire currier, was probably returned to Parliament because of his prominence in the borough. He may have had business interests in the capital, for in his will, which is written in the third person, he bequeathed to John Browneberde ‘a coat which he bought when he was last at London’. Moreover, kinship with the local gentry was secured by the marriage of his daughter Alice to William Daniell, whose uncle Geoffrey Daniell had bought the priory of St. Margaret’s by Marlborough. Of Bithway’s part in the proceedings of the Commons all that is known is that he was not among those Members who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, for Protestantism.4
When lying sick (perhaps of the current disease) on 8 June 1557, Bithway committed his soul to Almighty God and asked for burial in the parish church of SS. Peter and Paul. His house he left to his widow and then to John Lovell for life, with remainder to his cousin Robert Bithway and his heirs, or to the poor people of the town. Lovell also received 20 dickers of leather, land in the nearby hamlet of Elcot and the testator’s newest gown. William Daniell received £50 and an annuity of £6 13s.4d. A silver goblet and 40s.were left to Bithway’s sister Elizabeth, £15 to his cousin Robert and 33s.4d. to each of Robert’s three sisters. Other bequests included £6 13s.4d. to Elizabeth Style, £3 6s.8d.to her brother John and a gown to their father, John Style the elder, who was to have custody of the legacies to the younger Robert Bithway and his sisters until they should come of age. William Daniell was to share with John Browneberde the custody of Bithway’s ward John Symonds. Four ‘children’, who each received £5, were either grandchildren or godchildren, since they were committed to the care of an unnamed father; their mother could not have been Alice Daniell (who had no issue and who may already have died) and Robert’s will does not mention a second daughter or a son. Agnes was named residuary legatee and sole executrix, with Daniell, Style and John Perrinchief, mayor of Marlborough, as supervisors, and the will was proved on 17 Aug. 1557.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: T. F.T. Baker
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Marlborough corp. gen. entry bk. 1524-5, f. 3; PCC 28 Wrastley; Wilts Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 42.
- 2. Marlborough corp. gen. entry. bk. 1542-3, ff. 2,78; C219/24/180.
- 3. CPR, 1560-3, p. 604; J. Waylen, Marlborough, 108.
- 4. Marlborough corp. gen. entry bk. 1537-8, f. 1; E179/197/185, 198/257; Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. x. 25; CPR, 1560-3, p. 604.
- 5. PCC 28 Wrastley.