CHAMBER, (CHAMBERS), William (by 1534-79), of Salisbury, Wilts.

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 1534. educ. ?Oxf. m. by 1575, Eleanor, 1s. 3da.1

Offices Held

?Servant of bps. of Salisbury.2


William Chamber was born at Ripe in East Sussex, and as he styled himself gentleman he doubtless belonged to the family settled near Lewes since the reign of Edward II. Several members of this family were graduates of Oxford, so that Chamber may have been one of two namesakes whose careers after leaving the university have not been traced. The first took his degree in 1513 3 and the other was maintained at Oxford by the dean and chapter of Canterbury between 1541 and 1543: as Chamber was to leave an infant son at his death in 1579 he is more likely to have been the younger than the older of these two.3

Chamber was probably a kinsman of Thomas Chamber, under bailiff to Bishop Shaxton of Salisbury until 1537 when he was replaced by John Goodale. He was also perhaps related to Richard Chambers, the friend and benefactor of John Jewel who shared his exile in Germany during Mary’s reign. In his will of September 1571 Jewel, then bishop of Salisbury, was to appoint William Chambers, whom he described as his servant, one of his executors and a residuary legatee. Before entering Jewel’s service Chamber could have been employed by his predecessor John Salcot alias Capon, who held the see from Shaxton’s removal until his death in 1557. If so, the bishop could have helped to secure Chamber’s election at Old Sarum, although he probably owed this chiefly to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, as lessee of the manor of Milford to which the few remaining customary tenants of Old Sarum paid suit; in 1571-2 a William Chamber was to be listed as one of the earl’s tenants in Dorset. The only elector named on the indenture was John Hooper, a fellow-citizen of Salisbury who joined Chamber in Parliament as one of that city’s representatives. Of Chamber’s part in the House nothing is known save that he did not follow his fellow-Member John Marshe in opposing one of the government’s bills.4

Little further trace has been found of Chamber. He was a sick man when on 3 May 1579 he made his will. He bequeathed his household goods and his house in Salisbury, where he was then living, to his wife for so long as she remained a widow. His lands in Dorset, Hampshire, London, Middlesex and Wiltshire, he left to his son William who was to be brought up by his friend John Thistlethwayte. He left to each of his daughters £180 on reaching the age of 18, until which time he assigned them to the care of three of his friends, Judith to William Blacker (the father of the Elizabethan Member), Pascha to Christopher Weekes, and Catherine to William Holmes. As overseers he named Anthony Parry and Chancellor White of Salisbury, and as administrators until his son, the executor, came of age he appointed one of his kinsmen, Rowland Oldfield, and Thistlethwayte. They proved the will on 2 July 1579 and it was not until June 1596 that the heir took over its administration.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Elizabeth McIntyre


  • 1. Presumed to be of age at election. PCC 29 Bakon.
  • 2. J. Jewel, Works (Parker Soc.), pp. iv, xxv.
  • 3. PCC 29 Bakon; Suss. Arch. Colls. vii. 128; Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40 p. 110,
  • 4. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxxix. 323, 324, 326; Strype, Eccles. Memorials , iii(1), 224-5, 231; Jewel, pp. iv, vii, viii, xiii, xxv, 1196; C219/24/186; HMC Hatfield , xv. 386; Pembroke Survey (Roxburghe Club cliv), 158.
  • 5. PCC 29 Bakon.