CRISPE (CRIPSE), Nicholas (by 1530-64), of Whitstable, Kent.

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. by 1530, 1st s. of (Sir) Henry Crispe by 1st w. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1544. m. (1) by 1549, Frances, da. of Sir Thomas Cheyne of the Blackfriars, London and Shurland, Isle of Sheppey, Kent, 1da.; (2) in or aft. 1561, Mary, da. of Christopher Glemham of Glemham, Suff.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Kent 1559-60, j.p. 1562-d.2


Nicholas Crispe owed his standing in Kent to his father and his Membership of Parliament to his father-in-law. It was within five years of his admission to Gray’s Inn that he married Frances Cheyne, who is described as his wife in a grant of 10 Mar. 1549 to her father for life, with reversion to her, of the manor of Wittersham, Kent, formerly belonging to the dissolved College of All Saints, Maidstone.3

Although he twice sat in Parliament for Sandwich, on neither occasion was Crispe chosen by the port, with which he appears to have had no connexion. On 23 Oct. 1554 the mayor of Sandwich, John Tysar, and William Lathebury were elected to Parliament ‘by the assent of the whole commonalty’, but the return sent up early in November by Sir Thomas Cheyne, the lord warden, named as the Members for Sandwich the mayor and Nicholas Crispe. The warden was the returning officer for all the Cinque Ports, and on this occasion the second name for each of the seven towns was inserted, all in the same hand, into spaces left when the returns were first written: for Sandwich alone the names of both Members were inserted, presumably because there was some doubt as to which of the two men elected by the port the warden would accept. Three years later the sequence was repeated. On this occasion the original return no longer survives but Crispe’s name is found on the list of Members drawn up from the returns at the beginning of the session. There it appears, transposed into Cripse, with that of Roger Manwood II, whereas on 31 Dec. 1557 Sandwich had elected Manwood and his brother John.4

Crispe had evidently not forfeited his father-in-law’s patronage by his behaviour in his first Parliament, when he was one of more than 100 Members who withdrew before the dissolution. Prosecuted for this offense in the King’s bench in Easter term 1555, Crispe failed to appear but seems to have incurred no penalty until 1558, when he was three times distrained, in Easter term 2s., in Trinity 5s. and in Michaelmas 3s.4d., before the case lapsed on the demise of the crown. When, three weeks into the new reign, Sir Thomas Cheyne came to make his will, he appointed his daughter and son-in-law as two of his executors and gave them his manor of Sturry for life and his residence at Shurland until his son came of age, enjoining them to keep household there and to retain as many of his servants as wished to continue in service; he also left Frances Crispe £500 in plate. Cheyne died on 16 Dec. 1558, and the legacy doubtless helped to launch Crispe on his local career: in the autumn of 1559 he was pricked sheriff and early in 1562 he became a justice of the peace.5

After his wife’s death on 20 Nov. 1561 Crispe married the sister of Charles Glemham, who was to be one of the witnesses of his will of 26 July 1564. In this he ordered his household goods to be sold to pay his debts. He left his wife Bowshall in the parish of Whitstable and lands in Minster, provided she paid the £12 still due for the purchase of Bowshall; she was also to have the jewels, plate and cattle which Sir Henry Crispe had given her. The custody and bringing up of his daughter Dorothy by his first wife Crispe committed to his brother-in-law Henry Cheyne, whose household he himself had formerly administered. The executors were his wife Mary and Cyriak Petyt and the overseers his father and his brother-in-law Charles Glemham. Although the will was not proved in the prerogative court until 27 Jan. 1574, probate was granted at Mar. 1565.6

Crispe died within a day of making the will. The only lands mentioned in his inquisition were those which had come to him through his first marriage: the manors of Little Pising, Whitfield and Wittersham, all in Kent, thus descended to his only child Dorothy, who was aged 11 on 14 Oct.1564, and who became the ward of (Sir) Francis Knollys.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 74; (lxxiv), 17; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 35, 140; PCC 1 Martyn.
  • 2. CPR, 1560-3, p. 438; 1563-6, p. 23.
  • 3. CPR, 1548-9, p. 292.
  • 4. Sandwich little black bk. ff. 55v, 122v; C193/32/2; 219/23/184.
  • 5. KB27/1186-88; 29/188, rot. 48; PCC 1 Chaynay.
  • 6. C142/139/84; PCC 1 Martyn; Canterbury prob. reg. C30, f. 221.
  • 7. CPR, 1563-6, p. 237.