WARD, Henry (by 1519-56), of Gray's Inn, London and Kirby Bedon and Postwick, Norf.

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 1519, 1st s. of Robert Ward of Kirby Bedon by Alice, da. of Sir Giles Capell of London. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1539. m. by 1540, Margaret, da. of William Uggs of Pockthorpe by Norwich, Norf., 5s. 2da.1

Offices Held

Autumn reader, G. Inn 1549.2

Common clerk, Norwich May 1542-May 1553; j.p. Norf. 1542-d., q. 1554; commr. relief 1550.3


Henry Ward came of a family of lesser Norfolk gentry. He had probably begun his legal training before his admission to Gray’s Inn in 1539, for in that year Cromwell recommended him for the office of town clerk of Norwich as a man well learned in the law. Among Cromwell’s accounts for 1537-8 are various payments to and from Richard Cromwell aliasWilliams ‘at Mr. Warde’s house’, including one for a horse taken to ‘Harry Warde’ by Richard. Despite the minister’s support Ward did not immediately obtain the post at Norwich, the city answering that it preferred a local man to a stranger. As Ward’s home was close to Norwich, this may mean that he had spent his early life elsewhere, probably in London. This shortcoming he remedied on 15 Jan. 1540, when as ‘Henry Ward gentleman, legis peritus, mercer’ he was admitted to the freedom of Norwich, being excused all offices. His election as common clerk followed on 3 May 1542.4

During the next ten years Ward combined his professional career at Gray’s Inn with his service at Norwich and his share in the administration of Norfolk. A connexion between him and the 9th Lord Clinton is reflected in the pardon granted to them jointly in June 1548 for offences ranging from heresies and lollardies to the conversion of arable land to pasture. It was doubtless the last of these for which they sought immunity, under the threat of the enclosure commission about to be issued, and the inclusion of heresy may be dismissed as a piece of common form; Ward had probably been involved in Clinton’s amassing of lands as well as acquiring some for himself. Since 1543 he had bought three Norfolk manors, valued in his inquisition at £42, as well as several smaller properties, but his largest purchase was to follow in the autumn of 1555, when he paid Sir Thomas Holles nearly £3,000 for former possessions of Flitcham abbey and others in the neighbourhood—a bad bargain this, as unknown to Ward the lands had been seized by Holles’s creditors and all he obtained was the reversion.5

Ward had ceased to be common clerk of Norwich when he was elected to Mary’s second Parliament, but there is no reason to doubt that he was the city’s own choice, perhaps to compensate him for having been passed over before. It was in this Parliament that a bill for the manufacture of russells in Norwich was given three readings in the Commons. Ward had then only two years to live, for he died on 8 May 1556. In the will which he had made at Gray’s Inn as a sick man on the previous 25 Feb., after pleading indebtedness as his reason for not giving legacies, he supplemented what he had already done for his wife and children by dividing his property among them. He made his wife sole executrix and asked her to have a mass and dirge said for him at each of her four manors; as supervisors he named John Stubbes (perhaps the father of John Stubbe the Puritan), and two of his colleagues at Gray’s Inn, John Birch and his ‘gentle gossip’ Robert Flint. (If Flint was the Member for Thirsk in the Parliament of 1547, he could have been a link in Ward’s connexion with Clinton.) The will was proved on 6 May 1557 and in the following November the widow was granted the wardship of the 15 year-old heir Edward and an annuity from the Flitcham property for his maintenance.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from marriage. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 305-6; C142/108/73.
  • 2. Dugdale, Origines Juridiciales, 293.
  • 3. Norwich ass. procs. 2, f. 169 et passim; LP Hen. VIII, xvii, xx; CPR, 1547-8, p. 87; 1553, p. 357; 1553-4, p. 22.
  • 4. Blomefield, Norf. v. 451; LP Hen. VIII, xiv; Norwich old free bk. ff. 134v, 137v.
  • 5. CPR , 1547-8, pp. 18, 359; 1553-4, p. 362; 1555-7, p. 212; LP Hen. VIII , xviii; C142/108/73; Blomefield, viii. 413.
  • 6. CJ, i. 33-34; C142/108/73; PCC 12 Wrastley; CPR, 1557-8, pp. 3-4.