COPPYN, William (by 1509-58), of Canterbury, Kent.

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



Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1509. m. Anne, 1da.1

Offices Held

Common councilman, Canterbury by 1537, sheriff 1538-9, alderman 1539-d., mayor 1541-2, 1551-2, dep. mayor 1549-50; commr. benevolence 1544.2


William Coppyn, brewer, was admitted to the freedom of Canterbury by redemption in 1530. In 1539-40 the city chamberlains reimbursed him the expenses of soldiers going with him to the Downs; in 1542-3 he was paid for riding with soldiers to Dover and in the following year for going to London to the Council ‘for business of the city concerning victuals to be provided for the King’s army’; and in 1549-50 he was paid his expenses in going to Rochester for the business of moving soldiers from Canterbury to London. Evidently when the need arose the brewer turned his attention to military transport and victualling.3

Coppyn was also door keeper of St. Augustine’s abbey; Cardinal Pole’s book of pensions records the payment of 1556 of his fee of 53s.4d., by then described as an annuity, as a surviving charge on the late abbey, so that he presumably kept it until his death. It was from St. Augustine’s that Coppyn leased the manor of Lenham and lands in the manor of Langport, near Canterbury; in 1539 he surrendered his interest in the Langport property in return for a new lease from the crown, and in April 1540 he and his wife received a grant of it in fee. He was one of those who in March 1554 appraised the ornaments and vestments of St. Augustine’s which were not suitable for the King’s use. Under a commission of July 1547 he and three others valued the rectory of St. Martin without Canterbury for the crown.4

During the investigation into charges of heresy in Kent in 1543 Coppyn was reported to have said that he was in favour with Cranmer, but his will suggests that he was conformable to any orthodoxy and as a Member of Mary’s first Parliament he was not among those who ‘stood for the true religion’. In both this and the following Parliament his fellow-Member was John Twyne. On 10 Apr. 1554 the city resolved that the £12 ‘before this time delivered to Mr. Twyne and Mr. Coppyn burgesses of the Parliament for the said city should by writ be levied of the commonalty and repaid again into the chamber’, and that in future no parliamentary wages should be paid out of the chamber.5

On 20 Sept 1558 Coppyn was marked as absent from the burmote through illness and he died soon afterwards, his will of 8 Apr. 1552 being proved on 4 Oct. 1558. He wanted ‘an honest dinner or breakfast’ to be provided immediately after his death, in the house of alderman John Fuller, for the mayor and all the burmote, and he asked them to pray for him ‘in such order as shall be then commonly used’. To his wife Anne he gave half his plate, goods and money on condition that she delivered the lands bought from Henry VIII to his daughter Amy; the other half of the plate, goods and money he left to Amy, together with £100, and to her husband John Needham he gave all his horses. His brother’s son Edmund Coppyn was to have his lease in the lands called ‘Gray’s Lees alias Coppins Hith’, and Thomas Fooks his lease of Littlebourne parsonage. He named his wife and daughter executors.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman, Canterbury prob. reg. C27, f. 120.
  • 2. Canterbury burmote rolls passim; chamberlains’ accts. 1540-2, 1549-50, 1551-2; LP Hen. VIII, xx.
  • 3. Freemen of Canterbury, ed. Cowper, col. 259; Canterbury chamberlains’ accts. 1539-40, 1542-4, 1549-50.
  • 4. Val. Eccles. i. 22, 32; Arch. Cant. ii. 58; LP Hen. VIII, vi, xiv, xv, xix, xx.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xviii; Canterbury burmote bk. f. 83v.
  • 6. Canterbury burmote bk. f. 118v; prob. reg. C27, f. 120.