SPENCER, William (by 1473-1529 or later), of Ipswich, Suff.

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 1473, poss. yr. s. of James Spencer of Naughton Hall, Rendlesham.2

Offices Held

Member of the Twenty-Four, Ipswich 1497, customer 1497-8, 1500-1 ?1503-4, ?1505-6, portman 1505, bailiff 1508-9, j.p. 1509-10; comptroller of customs, port of Ipswich 1501-6.3


William Spencer’s origins are uncertain. A mercer by trade, he was living in Bury St. Edmunds when he was admitted a freeman of Ipswich on 6 Jan. 1494, a condition of entry being that he should live in the town. He soon became a member of its governing body and in 1506 he was elected bailiff but discharged on the instructions of Henry VII ‘by reason that he is our officer and customer of the said port’. Two years later, no longer customer, he was again elected to the bailiffship and his term of office was followed by his return to the Parliament of 1510. He was paid 40s. in wages and 6s. 8d. for his expenses ‘in procuring writs to the bailiffs for the same’.4

Little else has come to light concerning Spencer. In 1524 he was assessed for subsidy on £100 in goods and four years later he supplied oaks for the building of Wolsey’s college at Ipswich. He is last glimpsed as plaintiff in a chancery suit brought against the bailiffs of Ipswich between 1529 and 1532.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: John Pound


  • 1. Ipwich ct. bk. 7, p. 196.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. N. Bacon, Annals Ipswich, 180-1; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 67.
  • 3. Bacon, 177, 180-1; CPR, 1494-1509, p. 254; PRO Lists and Indexes, Exchequer Customs Accounts, i.
  • 4. Bacon, 167, 185; Ipswich ct. bks. 3, p. 9; 4, p. 55; 5, p. 49; 7, p. 196.
  • 5. Suff. Green Bks. x. 415; LP Hen. VIII, iv; ECP, vi. 160.