HILLS, Richard (c.1514-c.88), of London and Southwark.

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. c.1514, s. of Richard Hills of Milton, Kent by his w. Elizabeth Berde. m. Agnes, da. of Christopher Lacy of Yorks., 4s. inc. Daniel.

Offices Held

Common councilman, London; warden, Merchant Taylors’ Co. by 1555, senior warden c.1556, master 1561-2, auditor 1569-70.


The possibility that the 1559 MP was Richard Hill, auditor of London 1565-7, has been rejected on the fine distinction of the spelling of the surname on the only known list of Members. However, it is odd that when Hills the Merchant Taylor wrote to his friend, the protestant pastor Bullinger, a long letter about the religious changes of the new reign and the work of the 1559 Parliament he did not refer to his own membership, speaking instead of the contribution to the protestant cause made by ‘our faithful citizens, and other godly men’. His correspondence with Bullinger, his ‘father and spiritual and godly physician’, grew less frequent as Hills grew older and more absorbed ‘with wordly business’. He was a generous benefactor to the Merchant Taylors, giving £500 towards the foundation of the school, and for some years supplementing the salary of its famous master, Richard Mulcaster, by £10 a year. It was probably on the company’s business that he went to Antwerp in the autumn of 1566. Other references show him in September 1568 helping the lord mayor elect with arrangements for banquets and other functions, and in 1578 riding with other past masters of his company to meet Count Casimir, the brother of the Elector Palatine, on his visit to London. In his later years he expended large sums on charity and on supporting an insane son. He died late in 1587 or early 1588, his will being read to the company in February of the latter year. He left large bequests to the Merchant Taylors, who used some of the money to found almshouses on Tower Hill, later moved to Lee in Kent. Christ’s and St. Thomas’s hospitals also benefited. The will asked Robert Crowley, vicar of St. Cites, Cripplegate, or ‘Mr. John Bateman of the Vintry’, to preach the funeral sermon, and appointed George Sotherton executor.

C. M. Clode, Early Hist. Merchant Taylors, passim; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. cix, cx), 81; Machyn Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 91; Orig. Reformation Letters, ed. Robinson (Parker Soc.), 196, 253, 345; Chron. Q. Jane (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 100; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, iii(1), p. 224; C. H. Garrett, Marian Exiles, 8 n; Zurich Letters (ser. 2) (Parker Soc.), 17, pp. 165-6, 171, 195; W. K. Jordan, Charities of London, 214-15; H. B. Wilson, Hist Merchant Taylors’ Sch. 89 n et seq.; C. M. Clode, Mems. Guild of Merchant Taylors, 115, 365; PCC 21 Babington, 36 Drury; S. Low, Charities of London, 226.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge