CATELL, John (by 1521-67 or later), of Bridport, Dorset and 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 1521, s. of John Catell (d. by Oct. 1542) of Bridport by Agnes.1

Offices Held

Cofferer, Bridport 1544-5; alnager, London Oct. 1565.2


John Catell was left by his father’s will of 4 Apr. 1540 three burgages in East Street, Bridport, one in South Street, £6 13s.4d. worth of woollen cloth and a small quantity of plate. He lived in Bridport at least part of his time, for he was mustered there as an able billman in 1539 and 1542 and assessed there for the benevolence of 1545. However, it was as John Catell of London that he took possession of his houses in East Street in 1542 and sold them to a Dorset man eight years later.3

In the early 1550s Catell and three partners, all merchants of London, petitioned the lord chancellor to issue a commission for their formal bankruptcy to save them from their creditors. Their failure was incurred, they declared, solely ‘by misfortune of the world’, through the fall in the value of money and losses at sea, not through any fraudulent dealings. Presumably they extricated themselves and continued to trade, for in 1559 Catell was described in the general pardon as citizen and salter, alias merchant, of London. Two years later Sir Robert Dudley wrote on his behalf to the city of London that he should ‘be restored’ to the capital’s alnerage; the aldermen were unable to comply with Dudley’s request but on 25 Nov. 156I they granted Catell the reversion of the post. After a dispute with the holder of a prior interest in the reversion he succeeded to the alnerage, only to become involved with another claim on it which was settled in 1567 by the court of aldermen’s arbitration.4

Presumably it was to Dudley’s favour, as well as to his own connexion with Dorset, that Catell owed his return as junior Member for Weymouth in 1558. During the previous year Dudley had fought at St. Quentin under the command of the Earls of Bedford and Pembroke who were to dominate the borough after the accession of Elizabeth and whose authority had been established there earlier. The first session of Mary’s last Parliament saw Dudley’s restoration in blood (4 and 5 Phil. and Mary, no.12), and Catell may have spoken up for his patron during the bill’s passage through the Commons.

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from entry on inheritance. PCC 7 Alen.
  • 2. Bridport doom bk. 198; City of London RO, Guildhall, rep. 15, f. 14.
  • 3. PCC 7 Alen; E36/17, f. 6; 29, f. 23; 179/104/163; Bridport doom bk. 200, 210.
  • 4. C1/1293/15; CPR, 1558-60, p. 169; City of London RO, rep. 15, ff. 14, 411v, 413v, 483v; 16, ff. 167v, 169v.