WHITE, Richard (by 1509-58), of York.

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 1509. m. Elizabeth, d.s.p.1

Offices Held

Keeper, guild of SS. Christopher and George, York c.1533; junior chamberlain 1537-8, sheriff 1544-5, member of the Twenty-Four 1545, alderman 1549-d., mayor 1552-3; royal receiver and chantry commr. 1548.2


Richard White was born at Edlingham in Northumberland but his parentage has not been traced. It was as a tailor that he became a freeman of York in 1529-30, and by 1551 he was master of the tailors’ and drapers’ guild. He lived in the wealthy parish of St. Michael-le-Belfrey, where in 1546 he was assessed for subsidy on £40 in goods (raised in the following year to £50), being by this criterion one of the richest laymen in York; for at least the last dozen years of his life he dwelt in a timbered house adjoining the minster gate leased from the dean and chapter. His election on 8 Mar. 1554 to Mary’s second Parliament came in the 17th year of his civic career. While attending it he and John Beane secured a renewal of the city’s charter, caused action to be taken against infringers of its citizens’ exemption from tolls, and were approached by the Vintners’ Company for help in the unsuccessful attempt to repeal the Edwardian Licensing Act (7 Edw. VI, c.5).3

White made his will on 8 Aug. 1558. Asking to be buried ‘honestly’ according to his degree, he made provision for a perpetual obit in Belfrey church, twice-weekly prayers for his soul and the perpetual maintenance of a lamp before the sacrament in the church. The residue of his estate was to go to charity and to his kinsfolk at the discretion of his executrix, his wife Elizabeth, and supervisors, Alderman Richard Goldthorpe and John Shelito, notary. By two codicils of 12 Sept. 1558 he made additional arrangements, including the replacement of Shelito, who had died, by Thomas Standeven, one of the Twenty-Four. The will shows him as owner or lessor of lands and tithes at various places, and the inquisition on his York property lists ten houses and several closes in his ownership and the leases of his dwelling-house and of half the Tailors’ Hall. White died on 1 Nov. 1558, perhaps of the epidemic then severe in the city, and was buried in the minster. His heir was a nine year-old niece Elizabeth White. The will was not proved until 3 Dec. 1563.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. M. Palliser


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from admission to freedom. York wills, dean and chapter’s ct. 5, f. 14; C142/122/51.
  • 2. Reg. Freemen, York, i (Surtees Soc. xcvi), 249; York archs. B12-22 passim; York Civic Recs. iv (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. cviii), 181; v (ibid. cx), 4.
  • 3. York wills, dean and chapter’s ct. 5, f. 14; York pub. lib. R. H. Skaife ms civic officials, iii. 830; Reg. Freemen, York , i. 249; York Civic Recs. iv. 20, 181-2; v. 4, 57-58, 71-86, 102-6; York archs. B19, f. 92v; C142/122/51; E179/217/110, 111; York dean and chapter archs. Wb, ff. 35, 138; Reg. Corpus Christi Guild, York (Surtees Soc. lvii), 300n; Guildhall Studies in London Hist. i. 48-49.
  • 4. York wills, dean and chapter’s ct. 5, f. 14 (the will is dated 1556 but the first codicil corrects this to 1558); C142/122/51.