WATSON, William (by 1513-68), of York.

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



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1513.2

Offices Held

Constable, Merchant Guild York 1536-8, gov. 1547-8, 1566-7; chamberlain 1536-7, sheriff 1541-2, alderman Mar. 1543, mayor 1547-8, 1566-7; commr. for offences against Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy, York province 1561.3


William Watson was already established as a merchant when admitted to the freedom of York during the year 1533-4. After his term as chamberlain he was fined and imprisoned for non-payment of arrears due from his recent office. He lived in the parish of St. Michael, Ousebridge End, where in 1546 and 1547 he was assessed for subsidy on goods worth £50 and 100 marks respectively. In a chancery suit over a deal in lead brought against him by a London goldsmith between 1544 and 1558 he was described as ‘a man of much wealth and substance and greatly borne and maintained, friended and allied’ in York.4

When elected to the Parliament of March 1553 Watson and William Holme were given lengthy instructions from the corporation on such matters of local concern as the conditions for the sale of wool, cloth and leather. On their return they recommended an approach to the Duke of Northumberland for a reduction in the city’s liability for tax, a subject which was to recur on both his subsequent elections. A ‘favourer’ of the Anglican settlement, he died between 18 Oct. and 19 Nov. 1568, the dates of the making and proving of his will.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Authors: D. M. Palliser / M. K. Dale


  • 1. York Civic Recs. v (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. cx), 87.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman.
  • 3. Reg. Freemen, York, i (Surtees Soc. xcvi), 252, 255, 266; York Mercers and Merchant Adventurers (Surtees Soc. cxxix), 140, 323-4; CPR, 1560-3, pp. 170-1.
  • 4. York Mercers, 135; York Civic Recs. iv (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. cviii), 22, 23; E179/217/110, 111; C1/1276/17-19.
  • 5. York Civic Recs. v. 87-88; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 72; York wills 18, f. 18.