HUNSTON, William (1519/20-66), of Walpole St. Peter, Norf.

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



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. 1519/20, 1st s. of Henry Hunston of Walpole St. Peter by Anne. m. by 1541, Dorothy, da. of Thomas Holland of Swinstead, Lincs., 3s. 2da. suc. fa. 12 Mar. 1535.1

Offices Held

Escheator, Norf. and Suff. 1546-7; commr. relief, Norf. 1550; j.p. Lincs. (Holland, Lindsey) 1564.2


Little has come to light about William Hunston. His family had lands in both Lincolnshire and Norfolk but never rose to importance. Hunston, who was under age when his father made his will in 1535 and later had to sue his mother over its non-execution, made only modest progress as a local administrator during the next 20 years, and his election for Thetford to the first Marian Parliament is not easy to account for, especially as he took precedence on the return over Robert Drury, son of the Queen’s trusted Councillor Sir William Drury. A duchy of Lancaster borough, Thetford was none the less largely controlled by Richard Fulmerston, presumably acting on behalf of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, and it may have been under this patronage that Hunston was elected: his wife perhaps belonged to the family which had furnished the duke with a secretary and a mistress and which would continue to serve his successor. If Hunston entered the House under such auspices his conduct in it must have been unwelcome: he was one of those who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, against the initial measures to restore Catholicism, thereby probably forfeiting any chance of re-election.3

Hunston obtained a grant of arms on 6 Feb. 1557. It was as of Walpole St. Peter, Norfolk, alias of Boston and late of Spalding, Lincolnshire, that he sued out a pardon in 1559, and at his death he was possessed of the manors of Denver and Walpole in Norfolk, a house and lands in Boston, Lincolnshire, and other property in the two counties. From 1564 he sat on the commissions of the peace for Lindsey and Holland, Lincolnshire, and he was probably the ‘Hunston, esquire’ whom towards the close of that year Bishop Bentham of Lincoln called ‘earnest in religion’. He died on 19 or 20 Nov. 1566, leaving as his heir his son William, aged 25 years and more.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., E150/569/41. 635/6. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 167; PCC 25 Hogen, 39 Tirwhite,
  • 2. CPR, 1553, p. 357; 1563-6, p. 24.
  • 3. PCC 25 Hogen; LP Hen. VIII, xx; N. Williams, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, 3, 15-17, 32. Recs. Commrs. Sewers (Lincoln Rec. Soc. liv), lxv; Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 4. Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 132; CPR, 1558-60, p. 205; Blomefield, Norf. ix. 111; Cam.Misc. ix(3), 27; C142/145/48, 146/109.