CLERKE, Henry (c.1495-1558), of Northampton.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1495. m. Isabella, 2s.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Northampton 1540-1, mayor 1548-9.2


Various men named Clerke or Clarke appear in the Northampton records and in lawsuits of local provenance, and because Henry Clerke passed all his life in the town one of them was possibly a relative.No connexion has been established between him and the family which came from Devon and established itself during the middle years of the 16th century at Stanwick, in Northamptonshire, but as Henry Clerke of Stanwick, whose life overlapped his namesake’s, had dealings with the town the two cannot always be distinguished.3

Clerke was a fuller who, by the time of the earliest surviving town records, was already in later middle age and an established member of the group of prominent freemen who governed the borough. There are glimpses of him as a witness in lawsuits and as an alderman who sat in the town court to assist the mayor: he was one of those in whose name leases to and by the corporation were made and whose consent to town legislation was obtained. He was to leave the reversion of his property, in default of heirs, to the corporation on condition that a requiem mass was said annually for his soul, and he thus answered to the Queen’s requirement that the Members of the Parliament of November 1554 should be both townsmen and Catholics. Neither he nor his fellow-Member Ralph Freeman was among those who were found to be absent without leave when the House was called early in January 1555.4

In his will of 12 Aug. 1558 Clerke asked to be buried in Corpus Christi chapel in All Saints church. He had acquired several messuages and mills in Northampton and these and all his goods he left to his two sons, subject to a rent payable to his wife and executrix for her life. The will was proved on 22 Oct. 1558. Clerke’s younger son and namesake succeeded to his position in the town.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. One of several witnesses described as ‘men of 60 years of age’ in 1555, Recs. Northampton, ed. Cox and Markham, ii. 216. PCC 61 Noodes.
  • 2. Recs. Northampton, ii. 551, 560.
  • 3. Cal. Northampton Recs. 150; C1/69/385, 87/43, 585/23; 142/172/101; Northampton wills, various; Recs. Northampton, ii. 122, 216; Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 14; Bridges, Northants. i. 97, 204, 269; Northampton ass. bk. 172.
  • 4. Cal. Northampton Recs. 157; Northampton ass. bk. 14, 21, 30, 147; Recs. Northampton, i. 340.
  • 5. PCC 61 Noodes; Recs. Northampton, ii. 551, 560, 567.