MAWDLEY (MAUDELYN), John I (by 1467-1540), of Wells, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
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Family and Education

b. by 1467. m. by 1488, Joan (?Attwater) at least 2s. inc. John II 1da.3

Offices Held

Keeper, banners, Wells 1494-9, 1500-1, 1517-19, guild of the Holy Trinity 1498-1501, 1505-6, auditor 1497-d., constable 1501-2, rent collector 1507-8, master 1508-9, 1519-21, 1527-8, 1531-2; commr. subsidy, Som. 1512, Som., Wells 1523; 1524.4


John Mawdley, who was described by Leland shortly after his death as ‘late great clothier of Wells’, was doubtless related to the Mawdleys of Nunney, Somerset. He was the first of his line to reside in Wells where he became a freeman in 1492 on paying a fine of 10s.; thereafter he discharged a number of civic duties, and in 1497 he began a lifelong term as one of the city’s auditors. He increased his holdings of city property in 1501, 1510, and 1524. When assessed for the subsidy of 1523 he had goods worth £200 in his dwelling in Chamberlain Street, by far the highest figure in Wells, yet for both of his appearances in Parliament he appears to have accepted the city’s customary payment of 12d. a day.5

At Mawdley’s final election as master in 1531 it was resolved by the Twenty-Four that, since he had done much for the city, he should not be compelled to serve that year, but that if he did so he would be freed from all offices in future: this exemption notwithstanding, he kept his auditorship until his death on 9 Aug. 1540. He had made his will on the previous 20 July. He asked to be buried in the church of St. Cuthbert with his dead children. Among his religious bequests was one of £20, with a house inhabited by his cousin Richard Mawdley, to the mayor and commonalty for an obit for the souls of himself, his wife and one William Attwater. His many charitable bequests were proper to a man of his position: 30 yards of cloth to the poor, £10 for the marriages of poor maidens, £10 for the exhibition of poor scholars at Oxford, 40s. for the repair of local roads, and payment of the first part of the next fifteenth for each householder of Wells having less than £5 in goods. He left £40 each to the five children of his deceased daughter Joan Baker, and £40 for the marriage of a granddaughter Elizabeth. All his lands in Somerset passed to his son John, who was appointed executor with his mother, to whom Mawdley left £200 and a house in Wells. He named John Cutte an overseer. The will was proved on 24 Nov. 1540.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Wells act bk. 2, p. 258.
  • 2. Ibid. 2, p. 312.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from marriage. Wells act bk. 2, p. 254; C142/83/160; PCC 17 Alenger.
  • 4. Wells act bk. 2, p. 189 et passim; Statutes, iii. 86; LP Hen. VIII, iii, iv.
  • 5. Leland, Itin. ed. Smith, i. 145; Cat. Anct. Deeds, i. 494; CCR, 1485-1500, nos. 510, 542, 762, 799; PCC 17 Alenger; Wells act bk. 2, p. 343; Wells City Chs. (Som. Rec. Soc. xlvi), 161; E179/169/156.
  • 6. Wells act bk. 2, p. 364 et passim; C142/83/160; PCC 17 Alenger.