DRURY, Sir William (by 1499-1558), of Hawstead, Suff.

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



Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1499, 1st s. of Sir Robert Drury I by 1st w., and bro. of Sir Robert II. educ. ?Eton; ?King’s, Camb. 1511; L. Inn, adm. 12 Feb. 1517 m. (1) by 7 Feb. 1516, Joan, da. of William St. Maur; (2) Aug. 1518/Feb. 1521, Elizabeth, da. of Henry Sothill of Stockerston Leics., 4s. inc. Robert II 9da. Kntd. 30 May suc. fa. 2 Mar. 1535.2

Offices Held

J.p. Suff. 1529-d., q. 1554; ?esquire extraordinary of the body by 1533; sheriff, Norf. and Suff. 1536-7, 1544-5; commr. benevolence, Suff. 1544/45, relief 1550; other commissions 1534-d.; PC by 1 Nov. 1553.3


Until the accession of Mary Sir William Drury shared in the normal duties of a local magnate while appearing at court on important state occasions. In the autumn of 1536 he assisted the 3rd Duke of Norfolk in quelling the northern rebellion, and he was called upon for similar action in 1539 when appointed a commissioner to search and defend the Suffolk coast, and again in 1542 when named by the King as one of those whom Norfolk should take on his expedition to protect the Scottish borders. During his second term as sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk he returned his nephew Sir William Waldegrave to the Parliament of 1545. Drury’s post in the Household, even if he held it until the death of Henry VIII, was not renewed under Edward VI, but he was sufficiently in favour with the Council of the time to be recommended as knight of the shire for Suffolk in the spring of 1553.4

Drury and his fellow-Member Sir Henry Bedingfield, likewise a Council nominee, were included in Cecil’s list of gentlemen who were expected to transact ‘affairs for Queen Jane’, but in the event both rallied to Mary. Drury swore allegiance on 17 July and with four others was immediately appointed to muster forces on her behalf. He became a Privy Councillor some time in the autumn and was one of those charged to survey the ordnance and stores. He was not given office, but under new administrative arrangements in February 1554 he was appointed with Sir Robert Rochester and Sir Thomas Cornwallis to order victuals for Calais and Berwick. His position gave him a lien on one of the Suffolk seats and in each of his remaining four Parliaments his partner, who took the junior place in all save the last of them, was his kinsman Sir Henry Jerningham. There are only two references to Drury in the Journal, one to a privilege case in October 1553 concerning one of his servants, and the other to the unsuccessful bill for distresses and replevins committed on its second reading in April 1554 to him and John Mawdley II.5

Drury augmented his inheritance of seven Suffolk manors by grant, marriage and purchase. Two of his acquisitions, Lawshall and Whepstead, Suffolk, were confirmed to him by Mary to hold in chief on his surrender of an annuity of 100 marks awarded him in November 1553 for his services during the succession crisis. By his will of 6 Dec. 1557 his wife and executrix was to have specified lands and rents for ten to 13 years towards the performance of the will and testament. Provision for other members of his family included £200 towards the marriage of his daughter Dorothy. His eldest son Robert had died two days before the making of the will and the heir was Robert’s son William, aged seven. Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, the young William Drury’s maternal grandfather, was appointed supervisor of the will. Drury died on 11 Jan. 1558. The inscription on his monument in Hawstead church says of him:

Whilst he lived here was loved of every wight.
Such temperance he did retain, such courtesy,
Such noble mind with justice joined, such liberality,
As fame itself shall sound for me the glory of his name.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/57/24. Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), ii. 219; A. Campling, Fam. Drury, 43-49, 100; PCC 32 Hogen; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 290; LP Hen. VIII, ii, iii, vi; Add. 19127, ff. 179, 231.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, ii, iv-viii, xi, xiii, xvi-xviii, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 89; 1553, p. 358; 1553-4, pp. 24, 27, 29, 243; E371/300 m. 48.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, vi, ix, xi, xii, xiv, xvii, xix-xxi; Chron. Calais (Cam. Soc. xxxv), 98; APC, ii. 375, 390, 404; iii. 394; CPR, 1550-3, p. 141; J. Gage, Thingoe Hundred, 434-5; Campling, 47; Lansd. 3, f. 36.
  • 5. Lansd. 103, f. 2; APC, iv. 300, 398, 432; v. 105, 289 et passim; vi. 85 et passim; CPR, 1553-4, pp. 243, 302; CJ, i. 28, 34.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, xii, xv, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 202; 1553-4, pp. 52, 243; 1555-7, p. 525; 1557-8, p. 363; DKR, ix. app. ii. 102; PCC 16 Noodes; E150/652/1; C142/114/51; Campling, 48; Pevsner, Suff. 233.