COLLY, Roger (by 1532-87/89), of Wanborough, Wilts.

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



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1532. m. Margaret, d.s.p.2

Offices Held

?Groom of the chamber to Prince Edward in 1539, ?yeoman of the guard by 1547.3


Roger Colly may have been a native of Wiltshire and even of Marlborough itself, where an otherwise obscure Richard ‘Colle’ was a burgess in 1524/25 and was assessed for subsidy in 1540. He seems to have had at least one namesake in the shire, a ‘very poor man’ who in 1538 claimed in Chancery that he had been defrauded over the sale of a messuage in Newnton. However, as Colly was designated ‘gentleman’ when returned to Edward VI’s second Parliament he is probably to be identified with a man who bought and sold lands in Marlborough and Wanborough in the reign of Elizabeth and with the leading taxpayer in 1576 at Bishopstone, near Wanborough, who was assessed at 5s. on goods worth £30. Such local standing would, however, have been insufficient to procure his election in 1553, which would be most easily explained if he had also been the Roger Colly who was groom of the chamber to Prince Edward in 1539 and a yeoman of the guard at the death of Henry VIII. The holder of the first of these offices received a 21-year lease of the town of Mostyn, Flintshire, a grant which suggests that he belonged to the Colly family of Malpas, Cheshire, several of whom had posts in the households of Edward and Elizabeth and one of whom was porter of Flint castle in 1550; the yeoman of the guard held land in Herefordshire for which he was plaintiff in a chancery suit within four years of his attendance at Henry VIII’s funeral. This Roger Colly could have been a royal nominee at Marlborough, with either the sheriff, (Sir) William Sharington, or William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, as the intermediary; there are grounds for attributing the return of his fellow-Member William Button II to one or other of these local magnates.4

Nothing is known of any part Colly may have played in the Commons or in the succession crisis of the following summer, but he was sufficiently in favour during Mary’s reign to be granted in 1555, as the King’s and Queen’s servant, the wardship of a Berkshire heir. Roger Colly of Wanborough, gentleman, made his will on 15 June 1587, trusting ‘to be saved only by the death and passion of Jesus Christ’ and asking for burial ‘according to the laudable use of the Church of England’. He named his wife Margaret residuary legatee and sole executrix, and two neighbours, Edward Walrond of Aldbourne and Henry Martyn of Upham, overseers. He left small bequests to his brothers James and John Colly and £50 and a featherbed to Alice Gwilliam of Charlton, Berkshire, to be delivered to her on marriage or at the age of 21 by Richard Webbe of Charlton. Webbe was to enter into bonds of £100 for the due performance thereof with the testator’s ‘brother’ Philip Kistell and nephew of the same name, and if Alice died the legacy was to go to the children of Nicholas Withers and his wife Anne, Colly’s kinswoman, in Hampshire. The will was proved on 29 Jan. 1589.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. C219/282/8.
  • 2. Presumed to be of age at election. PCC 19 Leicester.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xiv; LC2/2, f. 39; C1/1204/80.
  • 4. E179/69/48, 197/185; C1/967/10, 31, 1204/80; Wilts. N. and Q. 354; vii. 212, 553-4; Two Taxation Lists (Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. x), 94; LP Hen. VIII, xiv; T. H. Davies-Colley, Colley Fam. of Churton Heath, 15, 30-31, 34; LC2/2, f. 39.
  • 5. CPR, 1555-7, p. 182; PCC 19 Leicester.