DOYLEY, Henry (aft.1550-c.1627), of Wallingford, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. aft. 1550, 4th s. of John Doyley of Greenlands, Bucks. and Chislehampton, Oxon. by Frances, da. of Andrew Edmonds of Cressing Temple, Essex, sis. and coh. of Christopher Edmonds of Lewknor, Oxon. Bro. of Robert. educ. L. Inn 1575, called 1584. m. (1) c.1574, Dorothy (d.c.1579), da. of Thomas Townshend of Testerton, Norf., 1s. 1da.; (2) May 1602, Alice (d.1630), wid. of Richard Mascall, grocer.

Offices Held

Pensioner, L. Inn 1601-2.


Doyley was a lawyer practising in the court of wards. He was involved in a good deal of personal litigation, first in the court of requests, 1575, with his friend (and possibly relative by marriage) Henry Townshend, and later (1580 in requests, and 1604 in Chancery) with his elder brother John, who had in 1577 succeeded to the family estates. The disputes were over the family lands and Doyley’s matrimonial affairs. According to the family historian he met his second wife while in London for the Parliament, and his elder brother refused to implement a promise concerning her jointure. Another case, this time in Star Chamber in 1601, mentions land held by Doyley in Wallingford and styles him ‘of Wallingford, gent.’. His local position accounts for his election in 1601.

Doyley was an active Member of Parliament despite the fact that one of his early speeches gave rise to a ludicrous incident and made him an object of ridicule. On 16 Nov. he informed the House of

an infamous libel that is printed and spread abroad since the beginning of this Parliament: saving your presence, Mr. Speaker, it is called the ‘Assembly of Fools’.

The House sent for the printer and for copies of the book which, on closer examination by the Privy Council,

was found to be a mere toy, and an old book entitled ‘The second part of Jack of Dover’, a thing both stale and foolish. For which Mr. Doyley was well laughed at, and thereby his credit much impeached in the opinion of the House.

Unabashed, Doyley continued to participate in the proceedings of the House. He had already quoted precedent in a procedural debate concerning the issuing of new writs on 14 Nov. and he now continued to speak on questions of privilege (21 Nov.) and private matters (24 Nov.), and he introduced a motion on 2 Dec. against the slandering of j.p.s in the House. His committee work concerned the abuses of the clerk of the market (2 Dec.), Sunday markets (4 Dec., reported by him 7 Dec.), and the Belgrave privilege case (17 Dec.). But his parliamentary career ended on a pathetic note. On 11 Dec. when the bill for weights and measures was called for,

Mr. Doyley showed that he had the bill, and had attended two days and none of the committees would meet; he prayed the House would either command the committees to meet or discharge him of the bill.

He is stated to have died c.1627.

This biography is based upon W. D’Oyley Bayley, House of Doyley, 23-7, 51, 52; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 291 (fa.-in-law here given as Roger Townshend); J. K. Hedges, Hist. Wallingford, ii. 104; Req. 2/109/38; 2/80/13; St. Ch. D22/16; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 216, 217, 236, 245, 246, 277, 288, 311; D’Ewes, 639, 647, 663, 668, 669, 688.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: Roger Virgoe / M.A.P.