RUST, John (by 1516-69), of Cambridge.

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



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1516. m. Elizabeth, at least 2s.3

Offices Held

Mayor, Cambridge 1548-9, alderman 1556; commr. goods of churches and fraternities heresy 1555, gaol delivery in 1561; j.p. 1555.4


A chandler by trade, John Rust lived in Great St. Mary’s parish, where he was a churchwarden from 1537 to 1539 and again in the 1550s. His first return to Parliament preceded his mayoralty by three years and followed the death of Thomas Brakyn during the postponement of the Parliament of 1545. Brakyn’s death was presumably announced at the assembly of the Parliament late in November 1545 as Rust was chosen his replacement at an election held at Cambridge on 2 Dec. following. Rust’s second Membership resulted from the death of John Fanne in 1551 while the next Parliament stood prorogued. His re-election in 1554 was thus as a man with experience of sitting in the Commons for three sessions. Although nothing is known about Rust’s part in the work of the House, his involvement in the long drawn-out feud between town and gown is well documented from 1546, when he was thrice singled out for mention by the vice-chancellor of the university in a complaint against the borough, until his death 23 years later.5

Rust was mayor at the time of the anti-enclosure riots on 10 July 1549, and he went to Barnwell with the town’s force to keep order; he apparently improved the occasion by picking a quarrel with the vice-chancellor. He also sometimes quarrelled with townsmen: thus, in the reign of Mary, he was the principal ‘bearer’ and abettor of Robert Ray’s hostilities with Edward Slegge and his sons. Rust admitted to having said ‘that he [Roger Slegge] and such other as will sue forth process for such matters as be determinable within the town of Cambridge is not worthy to enjoy the liberty of the same’, a view in accordance with the terms of the freemen’s oath, although the Slegges clearly had grounds for complaining of bias against them in the mayor’s court and for appealing to a higher tribunal.6

In October 1558 Rust purchased Cotton Hall manor for £200; the manor house was already long derelict by 1549, when it was stated to have 80 acres of land attached to it, presumably in demesne, which were let for £5 a year. In November 1564 Rust performed his last known municipal service as one of the Cambridge aldermen commissioned jointly with representatives of the university to settle differences between the two bodies. He made his will on 19 June 1569, leaving Cotton Hall manor to his wife for life, with remainder to his two sons. The will, although lengthy, casts no light on his character or religious outlook, but deals entirely with his extensive house and shop property; he was living at Barnwell and left his house there to his wife, who may have been a sister of the town clerk Edward Ball, ‘my brother Ball’, as Rust calls him. He died within a day or two of making the will and was buried on 23 June in St. Benet’s church, Cambridge.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. C. H. Cooper, Cambridge Annals, i. 440 and n.
  • 2. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; Hatfield 207; Cooper, ii. 65.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Cooper, ii. 39 n. A namesake succeeded before 1526 to part of the manor of Garnons, Essex, as kinsman and heir of John Fermor, LP Hen. VIII, iv, xx; C142/40/117, 62/69.
  • 4. Cooper, ii. 108, 110; CPR, 1548-9, p. 240; 1553, p. 417; 1560-3, p. 406.
  • 5. Churchwardens’ Accts. of St. Mary the Great, Cambridge, ed. Foster, 84, 90, 118, 120-1; J. Lamb, Letters from ms Lib. of C.C.C. Cambridge, 75-76; Downing Coll. Camb. Bowtell mss Liber Rationalis 1510-60, 1515 acct.
  • 6. Cooper, ii, 36, 43; St.Ch.4/2/56; C1/1382/25, 27.
  • 7. APC, vii. 161; Cooper, ii. 39-40; J. M. Gray, Notes on Camb. Mayors, 25; Cambridge Guildhall reg. bk. 1539-82, ff. 235-8v.