CALOWHILL, Richard (by 1519-48), of Worcester.

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 1519. m. Joan, ?da. of Thomas Sheldon of Worcester, s.p.2

Offices Held

Bailiff, Worcester 1542-3, 1544-5, collector of subsidy 1542.3


Richard Calowhill’s origin and parentage have not been discovered, but he had contemporaries bearing his name in Herefordshire and Worcestershire and as a draper of Worcester he had presumably grown up in that city. As bailiffs in 1542 he and Edward Bratt certified the city’s musters and in the same year he was named a subsidy collector; this appointment shows that Calowhill had not sat in the Parliament of 1539 which had voted the subsidy, the names of the Members being lost. His Membership of the Parliament of 1545 is known from entries in the city records of payments to him and Thomas Sheldon towards their wages and expenses. In May 1546 they were allowed £7 4s. for an absence of 36 days (the first session having lasted 32) and this sum was to be raised by a levy on members of the two city councils and on the several wards; Calowhill himself was also paid sums of 16s. and 40s. for transacting items of business while in London. It appears from other entries that he alone attended the brief second session at the beginning of 1547, setting out on 14 Jan., the day on which it began, and returning on 8 Feb., eight days after it had been dissolved by Henry VIII’s death.4

Calowhill may have been the ‘Killohill of Tedstone in com. Worcester’ who married Sheldon’s daughter; although Tedstone does not appear among his own landed properties his nephew John Calowhill was seated there in 1566. Calowhill had begun to invest in land in 1540, when he bought a moiety of the manor of Woodmanton in Clifton-on-Teme, Worcestershire. His main acquisition came in July 1543 with his purchase for £447 of lands in Clifton formerly of Limebrook priory, the site and lands of Whistones priory in Claines and rents belonging to Great Malvern priory, all in Worcestershire, and a farm in Bramling, Kent, which he disposed of immediately; two years later he added property in Claines and Whittington, bought from the brothers Richard Taverner, Robert Taverner and Roger Taverner, and the tithes of Claines, bought from George Tresham and Edmund Twyneho. No indication has been found of his city property, but he lived in St. Nicholas’s parish and between 1545 and 1547 he shared in the payment to the corporation of the sums of £10 and £7 owed to it by that parish.5

Calowhill died on 18 Oct. 1548. By his will of 13 Oct. 1547 he had asked to be buried in St. Mary’s churchyard and had given 12d. to the high altar of his own parish church. He bequeathed £40 a year to his wife Joan, whom he made sole executrix, and left her all his lands and goods until his debts and legacies were paid; as supervisor he named his brother Nicholas, with a gift of 40s.No child is mentioned in the will and at the inquisition taken on 11 Nov. 1548 the heir was found to be a brother John, then aged 30 years and more, who received licence to enter on the following 14 Feb. Calowhill’s widow married one William Spany and the pair were sued in the common pleas during Michaelmas term 1549 for money owed by Calowhill to Bishop Heath of Worcester.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Worcester Guildhall, chamber order bk. 1540-1601, f. 20.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. PCC 51 Alen; Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 127-8.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII , xvii; Nash, Worcs. ii. App. cxi; E179/281/7, f. 41.
  • 4. NLW Hereford consist. ct. wills, box 3 Ca; PCC 51 Alen; LP Hen. VIII, xvii; E179/281/7, f. 41; Worcester Guildhall, chamber order bk. 1540-1601, ff. 20, 21v; audit of accts. 1540-1600, sub. 1545-6.
  • 5. Vis. Worcs. 127-8; NLW Hereford consist. ct. wills, box 3Ca; LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xx; VCH Worcs. iii. 302, 304, 306; iv. 251, 254; Worcester Guildhall, audit of accts. 1540-1600, sub. 1545-6 and 1546-7.
  • 6. C142/87/95; PCC 51 Alen; CPR, 1548-9, p. 336; CP40/1142, p. 494.