MANLEY, Lawrence (by 1500-57), of Northampton.

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. by 1500. m. (2) Joan; 1s. Edward 3da.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Northampton 1521-2, mayor 1525-6, 1536-7, 1547-8, 1557, j.p. 1556.2


Lawrence Manley was a linen draper (sometimes called mercer) who although he became the leading figure of his time in Northampton continued until his death to live over his shop there. His election to the Parliament of 1529 was a natural extension of his municipal career and, perhaps because he had already been mayor once, he took precedence over his partner and fellow-draper, Nicholas Rand. His Membership of this Parliament was not troubled in the way that Rand’s was, and it is probable that he sat in its successor of 1536, when the King asked for the re-election of the previous Members, and possible that he did so in 1539, 1542 or 1545, Parliaments for which the town’s returns are lost.3

From about 1540 Manley made regular purchases of property, notably in the vicinity of Sprotton where he built up a small estate: the title to several of his purchases proved insecure and involved him in litigation. In 1551 he was appointed as the principal trustee for the new grammar school founded in Northampton. Two years later, after the accession of Mary, he was returned by the town to the Queen’s first Parliament, sitting on this occasion with Francis Morgan, the town’s recorder, with whom he had already co-operated on several projects. In 1557 he was chosen mayor for a fourth time, almost certainly agains this wishes, for the town’s assembly shortly afterwards agreed ‘that no man that have been thrice mayor shall be chosen any more during his life natural’. It may have been as a gesture to him that the assembly chose his son and heir Edward to be one of the town’s Members in the Parliament called in December 1557. Manley had made his will on the previous 23 Sept., providing for his family and naming Edward executor, and he died on the last day of the year. In accordance with his wishes he was buried in All Saints’ church, Northampton.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. PCC 18 Noodes.
  • 2. Recs. Northampton, ed. Cox and Markham, i. 334; ii. 30, 551-2, 1557. The list of mayors suggests that Manley died during his third term of office, but this is evidently a printing error.
  • 3. PCC 18 Noodes; Recs. Northampton, i. 157, 426; ii. 350; E315/345, f. 10; C1/331/62, 797/34-36; Northampton ass. bk. 14, 30.
  • 4. Recs. Northampton, ii. 30, 350; LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xx; C1/1235/15; Bridges, Northants. i. 464, 466; PCC 18 Noodes, 39 Arundell.