LYTILPROWE, Reginald (by 1491-1536/37), of Norwich, Norf.

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



Family and Education

b. by 1491, 1st or 1st surv. s. of Thomas Lytilprowe of Norf. m. Elizabeth, wid. of John Blount of Herefordshire and Edward Ward.1

Offices Held

Common councilman, Norwich 1514-22, common speaker 1521, 1522, sheriff 1523-4, alderman 1523-d., chamberlain’s council 1525-7, 1529, 1533, 1535, mayor 1532-3; commr. tenths of spiritualities, Norf. 1535.2


Reginald Lytilprowe, mercer, admitted a freeman of Norwich on 20 Jan. 1512, was elected to the common council soon after and made speaker of that assembly in 1521 and 1522. In May 1519, and again in 1524, he went to London with two others about a dispute with the cathedral authorities. Unlike his fellow-Member Edward Rede, he did not serve in a range of civic offices and in September 1534 he was exempted from being again elected mayor. He engaged in trade, paying duty on the import of herrings into Boston as early as 1515, and some 13 years later addressing a complaint, with Augustine Steward and others, to the King about their ship which had been laden at Danzig by their factor and had sailed for Yarmouth. He also had lands in Norfolk inherited from his father and in Herefordshire by right of his wife, although these cost him a struggle and he may not have finally secured them.3

Lytilprowe’s election to the Parliament of 1529 is not surprising, although a number of senior and more important aldermen seem never to have sat in Parliament, but it gains in interest from his friendship and correspondence with Cromwell. The first two of more than a score of his surviving letters to Cromwell date from October and November 1528: one is a report by a commission sent by Wolsey to settle a dispute in Norwich, with a request to Cromwell to advise Wolsey on the subject as he thought fit, the other a letter of introduction for a bearer whom he had advised to seek Cromwell’s counsel. The bulk of the remaining letters belong to the years of the Parliament, but they imply a friendship of longer standing with their references to ‘your friends’, ‘an old acquaintance of yours’ and ‘your old friend ... John Paryche’ (a Norwich citizen), and they suggest that Cromwell was well known in Norwich, perhaps from the days when he is said to have been a merchant’s clerk at Antwerp. The earlier of them are chiefly letters of recommendation or budgets of local news. As Cromwell’s standing rose, they grew more respectful, ‘mymosthearty’ changing to ‘my most humble and loving manner’ and ‘his special friend Mr. Cromwell’ becoming ‘the right worshipful Mr. Cromwell esq.’. They also increasingly conveyed requests for grants and favours. In 1535 Lytilprowe was asking to be put on a commission, probably that for tenths of spiritualities to which he was appointed, and later to be given the receivership of first fruits in Norwich; he also sought help in acquiring the comptrollership of Yarmouth from Mr. Rous (perhaps Anthony Rous or his brother George), whose demand for £60 the minister seems to have thought too high. The last letter was probably written in 1536 and dealt with the progress of the commission for tenths.4

As a Member of Parliament Lytilprowe did not record unbroken attendance. In an undated letter he begged Cromwell ‘to be friendly to me in my absence in the parliament house’ and declared his intention of being there on the first day of term or shortly after; it is, however, only the misattribution of another letter, dated 6 Feb., to the year 1531 which makes it appear that he was absent during the second session, the letter in question being of the previous year. That Cromwell valued his presence in Parliament is suggested by the inclusion of his name on a list of Members which the minister wrote on the dorse of a letter of December 1534: those named are believed to have had a particular but unspecified connexion with the treasons bill then on its passage through Parliament.5

Lytilprowe died perhaps before he reaped the full reward for his support. He was alive at the dissolution of Parliament in April 1536, being on the list of Norwich aldermen in that month. He may have survived to sit in the Parliament of 1536, in accordance with the King’s general request for the return of the previous Members, but in the following April he was no longer on the list of aldermen, and on 2 Feb. 1537 Richard Southwellwrote to Cromwell acknowledging receipt of his letters concerning certain obligations given to Reginald Lytilprowe, deceased. His widow, then aged 63, married as her fourth husband George Abingdon, the 29 year-old younger brother of Richard Abingdon.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. C1/705/27, 28; 751/1.
  • 2. Norwich ass. procs. passim; LP Hen. VIII, viii.
  • 3. Norwich old free bk. f. 58; ass. procs. 2, ff. 101, 120v, 157; E122/12/1; Yarmouth customs accts.; LP Hen. VIII, add.; C1/705/27, 28.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, v, vii, viii, x, add.; SP1/68, pp. 130, 143; 69, p. 229; 75, p. 60; Merriman, Letters, Thos. Cromwell, i. 24; Elton, Policy and Police, 136.
  • 5. SP1/68, p. 143; LP Hen. VIII, v; vii. 1522 (ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v.
  • 6. Norwich ass. procs. 2, ff. 159, 160v; LP Hen. VIII, xii; C1/751/1.