COLCHESTER, William (1513/14-65 or later), of Cardiff, Glam.

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. 1513/14, prob. s. of John Colchester of Cardiff. ?m.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Cardiff 1552-3, 1554-5, 1559-60, 1564-5, alderman in 1558.2


Although William Colchester claimed gentle birth, he was probably a son of the John Colchester who in 1538 was an alderman of Cardiff. In 1542 William Colchester was the lessee of a house in St. Mary’s Street and in 1549 of another in Worton Street: he also held a mill in the town by copyhold. When in 1552 the corporation objected to paying to the augmentations money earmarked for the upkeep of Cardiff’s bridges, quay and sea-walls, he was one of the delegation which successfully presented its case to Sir Richard Sackville. Colchester helped to elect the Member for Cardiff Boroughs in the spring of 1553, and in the autumn of the following year he was himself elected to the third Parliament of Mary’s reign while serving his second term as bailiff. Since 1542, so far as names survive, the Boroughs had returned nominees of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, but in the absence of any known link between Pembroke and Colchester his election can perhaps be seen as complying with the Queen’s request for resident Members. Colchester served twice more as bailiff of the town, but he is not known to have sat in Parliament again unless it was in 1555 when the name of the Member for Cardiff is lost. The last reference found to Colchester dates from 1564-5. The John Colchester accused in 1577 of harbouring pirates was perhaps a brother or son; another son may have been the Thomas Colchester who appears on the subsidy list of 1582.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Aged 44 in 1558, St.Ch. 4/4/29, f. 19.
  • 2. Cardiff Recs. ed. Mathews, iii. 62; iv. 78; v. 515; St.Ch.4/4/29, f. 19.
  • 3. Huntingtion Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs; Cardiff Recs. i. 217, 350; ii. 153-4; iii. 43; iv. 78; CPR, 1549-50, p. 141; C219/20/205, 23/201; E179/221/262.