WYTHE, Robert (?1523-86), of Droitwich, Worcs. and the Inner Temple, London.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. ?1523, 2nd s. of John Wythe of Droitwich by Isabel, da. of John More. educ. I. Temple, adm. 5 Feb. 1551. Prob. unm.2

Offices Held

Autumn reader, I. Temple 1565, Lent 1572, treasurer 1576-7, bencher by 1580.

J.p.q. Worcs. 1573/74-d.


It is not certain whether the same Robert Wythe was returned for Droitwich at three successive elections under Mary: on the second occasion he is styled on the indenture ‘junior, gentleman’ and on the third ‘de interiori Templ[o]’. Whether or not these descriptions are mutually exclusive, each implies the existence of at least one namesake and this is confirmed by the presence among the voters at the third election of a Robert Wythe who cannot also have been the man elected. To the uncertainty thus created the first of the three indentures adds its quota by surviving in so damaged a state that only the christian name Robert and the initial ‘W’ of a surname are legible, and all trace of a style, if there was one, has been lost: fortunately, the name appears intact on the Crown Office list, where it has ‘generosus’ appended. It is thus possible, if unlikely, that three namesakes were elected in turn, each distinguished by the appropriate suffix; less improbable that the man returned on the first two occasions was the voter on the third, when his namesake was elected; and not impossible that the same man was elected three times running, although differently styled on the second and third occasions.3

Of only one Robert Wythe, the Inner Templar returned to the Parliament of 1558, has it proved possible to sketch a life-story. A second son in an established family of Droitwich (from whose second syllable, formerly in itself the designation of the town, its name may have been derived), he was given a special admission to the inn in 1551 and can be traced there as office-holder, reader and bencher, with a chamber in Fig Tree court, until his death; himself childless, he secured the special admission of his nephews Robert and Thomas Wythe. His election in the autumn of 1554 as the junior of the borough’s first two Members since 1311 would have satisfied Queen Mary’s preference for residents, without burdening him with the problem of accommodation during the Parliament. Unlike his fellow-Member George Newport he was not among those found absent without leave when the House was called early in 1555. In Mary’s fourth Parliament, which met later that year, neither Newport nor Wythe followed the lead of Sir Anthony Kingston in opposing a government bill.4

Wythe died on 24 Dec. 1586 and was buried at Droitwich. His property in London, Middlesex, the marches and Wales passed to his brother John on condition that John looked after their sister and her children.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Little of Wythe’s name, which is listed in Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs., remains on the indenture, C219/23/138.
  • 2. Aged 63 at death according to MI. Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 150; VCH Worcs. iii. 86.
  • 3. C193/32/2; 219/23/138, 24/173, 25/125; Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 4. Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 309, 311, 340, 344.
  • 5. PCC 3 Spencer; Habington’s Worcs. (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1895), i. 482.