TYRWHITT, Sir William (by 1458-1522), of Kettleby, Lincs.

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 1458, 1st s. of Sir Robert Tyrwhitt of Kettleby by Jane, da. of Richard Waterton of Great Corringham. m. by 1476, Anne, da. of Sir Robert Constable of Somerby, Lincs. and Flamborough, Yorks., 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1457/58. Kntd. 16 June 1487, banneret 17 June 1497.2

Offices Held

Sheriff, Lincs. 1481-2, 1494-5, 1500-1, 1517-18; esquire of the body by 1482, knight by 1491; j.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) 1483-d.; commr. array, Lincs. 1484, musters 1488, subsidy 1504, 1512, 1514, 1515, enclosures 1517; other commissions 1482-d.; keeper, manor of Swallowfield, Berks. 1 Mar. 1485; steward, lordship of Caistor, Lincs. 1484, bailiff 1491, steward, duchy of Lancaster, Lincs. 4 Mar. 1499-d., Castle Donington, Leics. 27 June 1504-d., steward, manor of Barton upon Humber, Lincs. 1509-d.3


A descendant of the judge Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, Sir William Tyrwhitt combined shire administration with duties at court in a career which spanned five reigns. After a spell in London in 1509 to attend the funeral of Henry VII and the coronation he returned to Lincolnshire, where he received orders to investigate the disturbances which had caused the postponement of the shire election to the first Parliament of the reign. He seems to have used the opportunity afforded by the inquiry to promote his own candidature. Eight days before the assembly of Parliament the corporation of Grimsby complied with his request to set aside their own election and to send a blank indenture to him at Lincoln, to the intent

that it shall be lawful to Sir William Tyrwhitt, knight [? to admit] Sir Robert Wingfield, knight, for to be burgess of the Parliament for the town with himself or else to admit ... the said Sir Robert Wingfield ... with John Heneage.

The two bearers of the indenture were instructed to obtain from Tyrwhitt a bond indemnifying the town from charges arising from this interference with the election and releasing it from payment of wages to the Members returned. At the same time the townsmen decided to share the expenses of those burgesses riding at the call of Tyrwhitt to Lincoln for the election of the knights of the shire ‘or for any other cause that the mayor do for pleasure of the said Sir William Tyrwhitt’. The most acceptable interpretation of these manoeuvres is that Tyrwhitt hoped to be elected for the shire but wished to keep open a line of retreat in the form of a seat for Grimsby. Since the result of the shire election is not known, and the records at Grimsby afford no further clue, it cannot be said whether Tyrwhitt sat for Lincolnshire or Grimsby, and therefore whether Heneage did so for the town. The possibility that Tyrwhitt was a knight of the shire in the next two Parliaments, for which the names are lost, is strengthened by the inclusion of his name among the commissioners to supervise the collection of the subsidies which they granted.4

In 1512 Tyrwhitt served as a captain under Sir William Sandys in the French campaign. He stayed in England when a year later the King went to Tournai and the maintenance of law and order in Lincolnshire was entrusted to him on the eve of Flodden. His closing years saw no diminution of activity and in 1520 he accompanied the King to the Field of Cloth of Gold. He died apparently intestate on 10 Apr. 1522, leaving as heir his son Sir Robert aged 46 years and more, and was buried in Lincoln cathedral.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. M. Hofmann


  • 1. Great Grimsby AO, oldest ct. bk. f. 224.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from fa.’s death. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 1019; Vis. Lincs. ed. Metcalfe, 69; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 65; R. P. Tyrwhitt, Fam. Tyrwhitt, 17; E150/556/23.
  • 3. CPR, 1476-85 to 1494-1509 passim; CFR, 1471-85, pp. 274-5; LP Rich. III and Hen. VII, i. 410; ii. 291; LP Hen. VIII, i-iii; Rot. Parl. vi. 539-40; Statutes, iii. 89, 119, 172; Domesday of Inclosures, ed. Leadam, i. 84, 248, 255; Somerville, Duchy, i. 573, 577.
  • 4. DNB (Tyrwhitt, Sir Robert); LP Hen. VIII, i; Great Grimsby AO, oldest ct. bk. ff. 223v-4; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 274.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, i-iii; E150/556/23; Tyrwhitt, 17.