WAAD, Armagil (by 1518-68), of London and Hampstead, Mdx.

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 1518. educ. (?Magdalen), Oxf. BA 23 Jan. 1532. m. (1) Alice, da. of Richard Patten alias Wainfleet of London, wid. of Thomas Searle (d.1540/41) of London, 17ch. inc. Thomas and Sir William; (2) Anne, da of Thomas Marbury of London, wid. of Edward Bradley (d. Aug./Oct. 1558) of London, 3ch.1

Offices Held

Servant of Henry, Lord Mautravers, by 1540; clerk of the council, Calais 26 Nov. 1540-24 Sept. 1546; collector and receiver of customs and tolls, Newnham bridge, Calais 17 Apr. 1545; clerk of the Privy Council June 1547-?July 1553; j.p. Mdx. 1561-d.; commr. benevolence for St. Paul’s cathedral 1564, sewers, Kent and Suss. 1564.2


According to the inscription on his tombstone in Hampstead church composed by his son William, Armagil Waad came of a Yorkshire family; the fact that he was to be granted arms shows that his forbears were of humbler stock. It is said that his mother’s maiden name was Comyn and his birthplace Kilnsey in the East Riding. The records of Magdalen College do not bear out Anthony Wood’s version of his period at Oxford, and if he attended an inn of court its identity is unknown: it could have been the Middle Temple during the period for which the records are missing, or Gray’s Inn where he was later to build a chamber to which his descendants were admitted from 1565 onwards. A childhood on the Holderness peninsula may have given Waad a taste for the sea which led him to join Hore’s voyage to North America from April to October 1536. From his connexion with this expedition, but without other foundation, Waad was later to be called ‘the English Columbus’. Although he was to pursue a public career, he remained closely connected through both his marriages with the merchant community of London; the merchant brothers John and Otwell Johnson called him their ‘old and assured friend’ and his brother-in-law William Patten published Waad’s ‘epigram made upon the citizens’ receiving of his grace’ the Protector Somerset in his Expedicion into Scotland.3

Waad’s introduction to court perhaps came through Sir Richard Gresham, who acquired land in Kilnsey at the Dissolution, and his progress may have been influenced by his knowledge of languages, including Spanish. He was in the service of Lord Mautravers, deputy governor of Calais, when in November 1540 Mautravers sought leave for him to compound for the vacant clerkship of the council there, and it was again Mautravers who in September 1543 recommended him for the French secretaryship at Calais after his two years’ experience as assistant in that office. Waad’s clerkship was granted to another from 25 Sept. 1546 and a month later he returned to London, where he at once reported his arrival to Sir William Paget.4

By the following summer Waad had become third clerk of the Privy Council, although during his first year of office he did not receive a regular fee. His election to the ensuing Parliament was a by-product of his appointment, his three fellows in the clerkship, Thomas Chaloner, William Honing and Thomas Smith I, all finding seats in it. The choice of Chipping Wycombe may have been determined by either Sir John Russell, Baron Russell or Sir Edmund Peckham, both of them influential in Buckinghamshire. Waad’s fellow-Member Thomas Fisher was secretary to the Protector Somerset.5

In April 1548, when the clerks, now reduced to three, had their fees reviewed. Waad was granted 50 marks a year from the previous 24 June. Under Edward VI he was twice confirmed in office, rising in the process to the first clerkship, and in 1550 he was given an annuity of 200 marks for services to the present and former King. On four occasions during 1550 and 1551, as deputy to the clerk of the Parliaments Sir John Mason, Waad read out the commission for the prorogation. He appears to have remained clerk of the Privy Council until the death of Edward VI, the last reference to him in its minutes being dated 13 June 1553. If he sat in the Parliament of March 1553, as did his fellow-clerk William Thomas, it must have been for a constituency for which the names are lost.6

It was probably on religious grounds that Waad, who was later to be considered a favourer of the Elizabethan settlement, lost his office and was given no other employment under Mary. He sued out a general pardon on 3 Nov. 1553 as of London and Soulbury, Buckinghamshire, and he continued to receive an annuity of £100. Granted Milton Grange, Bedfordshire, in October 1554, by 1559 he had leased property in Belsize, near Hampstead, Middlesex, which then became his home. Soon after Elizabeth’s accession Waad addressed to Cecil a long discourse on ‘the distresses of the Commonwealth and the means to remedy them’. His activities from that time reflected his varied interests. In April 1559 he was sent on a mission to the Duke of Holstein to treat for increased facilities for English merchants and to offer Elizabeth’s aid against the free cities of the duchy. Three years later he was in Rye, Sussex, mustering 600 men for service at Dieppe and looking into the possibilities of support for the Huguenots. His commission to survey watercourses near Rye harbour resulted in his request, with others, for a grant of neighbouring salt marshes. In 1565 he obtained with William Herle a 30 years’ monopoly for making sulphur and growing plants for oil for use in the cloth industry, and in the following year he was appointed to interrogate Cornelius de Lannoy, an alchemist, in connexion with the manufacture of gold.7

Waad died on 20 June 1568, and was buried in Hampstead church, in the chancel near the tomb of his first wife. By a will made some seven years earlier he left to a younger son Thomas his chamber in Gray’s Inn and tenements in Golding Lane. He named his eldest son William executor and among the overseers were John Southcote II and Thomas Wilbraham. The will was proved on 5 Feb. 1569.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 598. DNB; PCC 6 Lyon, 20 Alenger, 34 Pynnyng, 59 Noodes; C1/1085/4.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xx, xxi; P. T. J. Morgan, ‘The gov. of Calais 1485-1558’ (Oxf. Univ. D.Phil. thesis, 1966), 304; Rep. R. Comm. of 1552 (Archs. of Brit. Hist. and Culture iii), 19; APC, ii-iv; CPR, 1563-6, pp. 24, 38, 126.
  • 3. PCC 6 Lyon; G.I. Adm. 34, 42, 117; Fuller, Worthies, iii. 418; D. E. Hoak, The King’s Council in the Reign of Edw. VI, 163; Tudor Tracts ed. Pollard, 63.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xxi.
  • 5. APC, ii-iv passim.
  • 6. CPR, 1547-8, p. 381; 1548-9, p. 3; 1549-51, pp. 188, 306; 1550-3, p. 285; E405/117, ff. 13v, 38, 40; Add. 30198, f. 10; Stowe 571, f. 21; LJ, i. 390-3; Hoak, 271-2.
  • 7. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 60; Fac. Off. Reg. 1534-49 ed. Chambers, 309; PCC 6 Lyon; Lansd. 156(28), f. 96; CPR, 1553-4, p. 452; 1554-5, p. 311; 1558-60, p. 158; 1560-3, pp. 410, 505, 581; 1563-6, pp. 110, 235-6; E405/121, ff. 12v, 73; SP12/1/66; CSP Dom. 1547-70 passim; 1601-3, Add. 1547-65, p. 529; CSP For. 1558-9, nos. 531, 541, 1099; 1561-2, no. 346; 1562 passim.
  • 8. PCC 6 Lyon.