CHARD, William (1490/95-1544), of London and Bridport, Dorset.

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. 1490/95, s. of William Chard of Bridport, and bro. of Thomas.1

Offices Held

Cofferer, Bridport 1527-8, bailiff 1529-30, 1535-6.2


William Chard ‘junior’, who was elected to Parliament and chosen as one of the town’s two bailiffs about the same time, was or became a citizen and brewer of London: he may have been a kinsman of the energetic last abbot of Forde, Dorset. He had several houses in Bridport, one of which he leased from the chaplains of Mondens’ chantry, another in West Street which he exchanged in 1541 for one in South Street, and the bridgehouse. As one of the town’s Members in 1529 he was probably involved in the petition for the monopoly in rope-making to be granted to Bridport which was enacted during the first session. In 1535, when the Parliament had reached its sixth year, the bailiffs, faced with the difficulty of paying wages to Chard and his fellow-Member, Richard Furloke, agreed to give Chard 20s. in final payment and to allow him to hold the bridgehouse rent-free for six years.3

Chard was probably the less unwilling to serve for reduced wages as his business interests were in London, and the borough for its part is likely to have welcomed a continuation of this economical arrangement. Thus as well as sitting again in 1536, when the King asked for the return of the previous Members, Chard may have done so in either or both of the following Parliaments, those of 1539 and 1542, for each of which the name of at least one of the Bridport Members is missing. Before the next Parliament met, however, he was dead. When he made his will on 19 Oct. 1544 he was evidently in London, for it was both written and witnessed by a London scrivener, Edmund Bright. As he mentions neither wife nor child he was perhaps unmarried. He left to his brother Thomas the bridgehouse and the house in Bridport held of the chantry, with the household stuff there, and to his father (who was to outlive him by more than seven years) a furred gown and a velvet doublet. He gave a gold ring and a black gown to Paul Withypoll and a gown, a jacket and six silver spoons to John Miles, brewer, and his executors were another London brewer, James Wilkinson, and his wife, to whom he left a tenement in Bridport. As Chard had held ex-monastic property in the town by knight-service, his brother Thomas had to sue out livery of his lands, which included some in Essex: it is the inquisition post mortem which furnishes both the date of Chard’s death, 28 Oct. 1544, and the age of his brother, who was 51.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from brother’s. PCC 17 Pynnyng.
  • 2. Bridport doom bk. 161, 166, 179; Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 10 (which omits ‘junior,’ 21 Hen. VIII).
  • 3. Bridport doom bk. 166, 177, 184; RCHM W. Dorset, 240-5 D. Knowles, Rel. Orders in Eng. iii. 24, 37; Bridport ms no. 1849; Hutchins, ii. 12.
  • 4. C142/71/184, 73/62; LP Hen. VIII, xx; PCC 17 Pynnyng, 15 Powell.