CALLEY, William (by 1461-1515), of London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1461, s. of John Calley of Winchester, Hants by Edith. m. by 1500, Maud, 1s.3

Offices Held

Warden, Drapers’ Co. 1501-2, 1507-8; master, Blackwell hall 1503-d.4


William Calley came to London as a boy, served his apprenticeship as a draper and became a freeman in 1482. His mother, who died in 1500, left him the family house and two others in the parish of All Hallows, Winchester, a tenement in Sparkford, Hampshire, and the residue of her goods. To these he was probably to add the property of Clevancy at Hilmarton, Wiltshire, which remained with his descendants until the present century.5

Although a Merchant Adventurer and master of Blackwell hall, Calley never became an alderman. He was probably not attracted to public life—in 1499 he obtained a lifetime exemption from serving on juries or being given office under the crown—but he allowed himself to be elected to Parliament by the commonalty of London in 1512 and in due course found himself re-elected in deference to the King’s request that the previous Members should be returned again in 1515. Nothing is known of his part in the Parliament of 1512 but on 27 Feb. 1515, during the first session of the next Parliament, the town clerk of London delivered to him five bills relating to trade, including one, which London had been trying to carry since the beginning of the reign, ‘that every stranger made denizen shall pay toll and other rights’. None of these became law.6

Before the second session of this Parliament Calley was dead: it is not known whether he was replaced. By his will of 27 Apr. 1512 he left £5 each to chantries at St. Martin Orgars, within his ward of Candlewick Street, and at All Hallows, Winchester; gave nine tenements in the parish of St. Margaret Lothbury to the Drapers’ Company in return for annual prayers for his soul in the church of the Austin Friars, where he was to be buried; and left £13 6s.8d. for his son John’s schooling and £220 to be given him when he reached 25. On 26 Apr. 1515, a few days before his death, Calley added further bequests, appointed his executors and named as supervisor his ‘good master’ Alderman John Brydges. Five years later Calley’s executors asked the chancellor to disregard Brydges’ testimony in an earlier chancery suit on the ground that he was ‘no indifferent person’ but ‘is and hath been continuer, bearer and unlawful maintainer’ of John Calley; the assertion derives some colour from the fact that Calley was, or was to become, Brydges’ nephew by marriage.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. City of London RO, Guildhall, jnl. 11, f. 147v; rep. 2. f. 125v.
  • 2. Ibid. jnl. 11, f. 204v. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. PCC 13 Moone, 7 Holder; Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 34.
  • 4. A. H. Johnson, Company of Drapers, ii. 467-8; City of London RO, rep. 1, f. 142; 3, f. 21v.
  • 5. P. Boyd, Roll of Drapers’ Co. 33; PCC 13 Moone; VCH Wilts. ix. 10-61 passim.
  • 6. Acts Ct. of Mercers’ Co. ed. Lyell and Watney, 333; CPR, 1494-1509, p. 162 City of London RO, rep. 3, f. 8.
  • 7. PCC 7 Holder; W. K. Jordan, Charities of London, pp. 277, 408; C1/465/22; Wilts. Vis. Peds. 34.