CHAMBERS, William (by 1521-59), 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 1521. m. fac. 24 June 1539, Jane Fredesby (?Frindsbury), wid., of diocese of Rochester, s.p.1

Offices Held

Churchwarden of St. Ethelburga’s, London in 1552.2


William Chambers’s parentage has not been traced, but as he was occasionally styled ‘gentleman’ he may have come of a gentle family in the neighbourhood of Bray, one with which he had many personal ties. A member of the Goldsmiths’ Company, he had business connexions with Calais and with ports along the south coast, especially in Cornwall; he held a licence for the sale of wine on any of his premises; he lent money to a wide range of people, from pewterers to vintners; and he helped to finance several ventures and to build ships for the Channel trade. The first glimpse of him comes in 1541-2 when he shared a crown licence to grow woad. In 1543 he gave evidence to John Grenville about the way in which Henry Trengove alias Nance and Thomas Carnsew exercised their clerkships of the tin coinage in Cornwall. Three years later he appeared in the court of requests to answer charges brought against him by two of his former apprentices who, he retorted, had defrauded him.3

Chambers numbered among his friends John Cosworth, the receiver-general for the duchy of Cornwall, and it was presumably this friendship, aided by his long-standing association with the county, which explains his appearance for a newly enfranchised Cornish borough in the last Parliament of Mary’s reign. His precedence on the return is uncertain, for whereas on the original list of Members his name follows that of his partner Thomas Randolph, on a copy in use during the second session the order is reversed. He made his will on 9 Mar. 1559, asking for burial in the church where he had been warden and for a sermon at his funeral. After leaving money for the poor in St. Ethelburga’s parish and at Bray, he provided for his wife and kinsmen and forgave 29 debtors the money due to him. He named his wife sole executrix and John Cosworth among the four overseers. His widow proved the will on the following 1 Dec.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Elizabeth McIntyre


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Fac. Off. Reg. 1534-49, ed. Chambers, 187; PCC 61 Chaynay.
  • 2. W. Cobb, Churchwardens and their Accts., Church of St. Ethelburga, 35; Walters, London Churches at the Reformation, 267-73.
  • 3. C193/32/2; Wm. Salt Lib. SMS 264; W. Chaffers, Guilda Aurifabrorum, 47; PCC 61 Chaynay; LP Hen. VIII, xvii; VCH Berks, iii, 105; CPR, 1554-5, pp. 129, 235; St. Ch.2/31/161; Req. 2/12/74.
  • 4. C193/32/2; Wm. Salt Lib. SMS 264; PCC 61 Chaynay.