OXENDEN, William (c.1510-76), of Wingham, Kent.

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



Oct. 1553
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1510, s. of Edward Oxenden of Wingham by Alice Barton. m. Elizabeth, da. of one Hill, ?wid. of one Wildgoose, s.p. suc. fa. 1521 or soon after.2

Offices Held

Capt. of the Clay bulwark, near Deal by 1553; commr. sewers, Kent 1553; escheator Feb.-Nov. 1557.3


William Oxenden was named with his mother executor of his father’s will of 1521, although then probably still a child. He should have succeeded on his mother’s death to lands in Wingham and elsewhere in Kent, but his father had died in financial trouble, having been released from prison only on a promise to discharge his debts, and some land seems to have been sold to meet them; however, the Wingham estate remained intact for Oxenden to inherit.4

Oxenden was a servant of Sir Thomas Cheyne from at least 1540. In February 1553 he was sent by Cheyne, who was lord warden of the Cinque Ports, to rebuke the men of Sandwich for ignoring his wishes at the election of their Members. His own election for Hythe in the following autumn Oxenden probably owed to Cheyne, and he was certainly Cheyne’s nominee at Romney for the Parliament of November 1554, his name being inserted in the schedule in a different hand from that of the document. Unlike his fellow-Member Thomas Jekyn he was not among those who opposed the first steps towards the reunion with Rome in Mary’s first Parliament, but he was one of over 100 Members who were informed against in the King’s bench in 1555 for leaving her third Parliament before its dissolution without having been given leave to do so. No further action was taken against him until 1558, when he was three times distrained—of 2s., 5s.and 3s.4d.—for failing to appear to answer the charge; before the next law term began the Queen was dead and the process lapsed. The episode may help to explain why he did not reappear in Parliament under Mary, but it did not put an end to his employment by the crown. In April 1556 he was named to a commission on heretical books in the diocese of Canterbury, and in August the Privy Council instructed him and William Rastell to investigate an escape of prisoners from Canterbury gaol. He also retained his captaincy of the Clay bulwark near Deal.5

Cheyne died in 1558, leaving Oxenden £10 in his will. Oxenden seems to have continued in the service of the new warden for he had a room in Dover castle at the time of his death. By his will, made on 26 Mar. 1576 and proved three months later, he asked to be buried near his accustomed place in Wingham church and made bequests to the poor of Staple and Wingham. Having had no children of his own but only two ‘sons-in-law’, that is, presumably, stepsons, he left his house and all his lands to his nephew Edward Oxenden for ten years. He made small bequests to his friends William Lovelace, serjeant-at-law and the overseer of the will, William Crispe, lieutenant of Dover castle, Cyriak Petyt and Vincent Engeham, and his brother Henry Oxenden, whom he named executor with his nephew Richard Hardres. Oxenden was buried at Wingham on 10 Apr. 1576.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from fa.’s will, Canterbury prob. reg. OC83; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 140.
  • 3. Stowe 571, f. 42; CPR, 1553-4, p. 36.
  • 4. C1/551/77.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xvi; Sandwich little black bk. f. 31v; C219/23/184; KB27/1186-8, 29/188 rot. 48; CPR, 1555-7, p. 24; APC, v. 327; SP11/11/72, ff. 154v, 155v.
  • 6. PCC 1 Chaynay; Canterbury prob. reg. C32, f. 218; Arch. Cant. vi. 279.