FOWLER, John (by 1520-?75), of London.

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



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1520, s. of Sir Richard Fowler (d.1528) of Hambleden, Bucks. and Rycote, Oxon by his 2nd w. Julian, da. of Sir John Shaw, alderman of London. educ. ?M. Temple bef. 1550. m. by Aug. 1551, Anne, at least 1s.1

Offices Held

Groom of privy chamber by 1547-59 or later; keeper, Petworth park, Suss. 1550.2


Fowler’s grandfather, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster to Edward IV, left estates in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, but his father, who married as his first wife Elizabeth, sister of Lord Windsor, lost money through unsuccessful commercial enterprises, partially restoring his fortunes by a wealthy second marriage. John Fowler was the eldest of the six children born of this union. No details have been found of his birth or early life, but he must have been over 21 by February 1541, when he was granted the wardship of Gabriel Fowler, son and heir of his stepbrother Edward. He had a remarkable career at court, through three reigns of political and religious change. He survived a short period of disgrace in Edward VI’s reign when, as an attendant on the King, he acted as intermediary for Thomas Seymour, in the Lord Admiral’s attempt to gain control of the boy Edward, and retained his post then and under Mary, who in 1555 granted him a £20 annuity, ‘in consideration of his service to Edward VI in his privy chamber, and to the King and Queen’. He may have had protestant sympathies—he voted against a government bill in the 1555 Parliament—but little information about him, apart from official records, has been found. All his parliamentary seats were secured for him by friends at court: Weymouth probably by the 1st Earl of Pembroke, under whom he had served at St. Quentin in 1557. Another St. Quentin commander, the 2nd Earl of Bedford, seems his most likely patron at West Looe, possibly acting through the locally influential family of Trelawny.3

Elizabeth, who no doubt knew of the Seymour episode, confirmed his court office and renewed his annuity. The household subsidy list of 1558-9 assessed him on £40 in fees as one of the Queen’s chamber. She also leased him valuable property in Dorset, including the site of the monastery of Cerne with its demesnes, and allowed him the rents from lands in Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Staffordshire. The patent for his annuity was surrendered on 21 Feb. 1567, but he was still living in March 1574. He was possibly the John Fowler of Westminster who died in or before April 1575; on the 18th of that month a servant, John Eyre, received administration of his property.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. CPR, 1557-8, p. 93; Genealogist, vii. 4-6; APC, iii. 328.
  • 2. Lit. Rems. Edw. VI, p. cccxii; LC2/4/1; CPR, 1550-3, p. 327; E315/221/111.
  • 3. Genealogist, vii. 4-6; HMC Hatfield, i. 54, 66; APC, ii. 239, 258-60; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 13; Royal mss 18 C. xxiv. ff. 73, 306, 367; E315/221/111, 222/268; CPR, 1550-3, p. 327; 1554-5, p. 295; 1555-7, p. 285; 1557-8, p. 93; Guildford Mus. Loseley 1331/2; HMC Foljambe, 7.
  • 4. Lansd. 3, f. 194; LC2/4/3, p. 131; CPR, 1558-60, p. 390; 1563-6, p. 224; 1566-9, pp. 138, 262, 319; 1572-5, p. 313; PCC admons. 1575, f. 71.