ALDRICH, John (by 1520-82), of Norwich, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

b. by 1520, 3rd surv. s. of Thomas Aldrich, alderman and mercer of Norwich by Elizabeth, da. of one Wood of Fulbourne, Cambs. m. by 1540, Elizabeth, da. of Nicholas Sotherton, alderman of Norwich, 3s. 2da.

Offices Held

Common councilman, Norwich 1541-2, 1543-5, alderman from 1545, auditor 1547, 1556, 1561, 1572-5, sheriff 1551-2, overseer, Holme Street poorhouse 1553, mayor 1557-8, 1570-1; commr. subsidy 1581.


Aldrich was a mercer or grocer who traded in wool and yarn. His committees in his second Parliament included one on a poor law bill (11 Feb. 1576), modelled in part on the Norwich scheme of 1571-2 which, as mayor, he had supervised. On 18 Mar. 1581 he spoke on the replacement of Thomas Beaumont as burgess of Norwich. His other committees included the status of aliens (24 Feb. 1576, 25 Jan. 1581), the selling of wool and yarn (13 Feb. 1581) and the folding and winding of wools (23 Feb. 1581). He and his colleague were paid 3s. a day wages, at least for the first session, an additional £35 for promoting a suit in Parliament, and after the last session, £6 13s.4d. in respect of disbursements ‘for certain writings in the Parliament time’. The corporation also lent them £17 0s.10d., not known to have been repaid. Aldrich may have had puritan leanings: in 1573 he was among those who supported the mayor’s request to the bishop for the appointment of the radical Robert Harrison as schoolmaster at Aylsham. In his will dated 8 June 1582 and proved before the end of the month, he rejected prayers for his soul, asked to be buried in St. Clement’s, Norwich, and left his lands, including the Essex manor of Frodwick, to his wife and three sons. The will also included bequests to his daughters, to the prisoners, poor and sick of Norwich, and to four preachers—‘faithful workmen in the Lord’s business’—one of whom, John More, was certainly a puritan. Aldrich’s son-in-law Francis Rugge, was made overseer. He was succeeded by his son John, who died in 1583.

Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 2-4; Norwich ass. min. bks. passim; Norwich court bk. 1569-76, p. 271; claviour’s bk. 1555-1646; P. Millican, Norwich Freemen, 71-2; PRO Customs Accounts 92/24, 483-4; CPR, 1569-72, p. 21; Bronnen tot de Geschiedenis van den Handel met Engeland, Schotland en Ierland, ed. Smit, i. 538, 605; CSP Dom.1547-80, p. 550; Norwich Recs. ed. Hudson and Tingay, ii. 145, 339, 344, 347, 358; The Walloons and their church at Norwich (Hug. Soc. i), pt.i, p. 161; CJ, i. 96, 105, 108, 119, 125, 129, 135; E. M. Leonard, Early Hist. Eng. Poor Relief, 304, 308, 311 seq.; PCC 9 Jankyn, 21 Alenger, 27 Tirwhite, 2 Butts.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.