HUMBERSTON, William (d.1574), of Dunwich, Suff.

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

s. of John Humberston of Norwich by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of John Clarke of Loddon, Norf. m. c.1549, Dorothy, da. of Robert Spring of Pakenham, 3s. 1da.

Offices Held

Surveyor of north parts, duchy of Lancaster 1558-d., of south parts 1559-d.; gen. surveyor 1559, 1561; j.p. Suff. from c.1573; surveyor of crown lands in Suff.; receiver of crown lands, Norf., Norwich, Hunts. 1571.


Humberston was a duchy official who compiled at least three surveys: of the forfeited lands of Henry, Earl of Devon; of duchy possessions in Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Warwickshire; and, together with Edmund Hall, of the lands forfeited by the northern rebels in 1570. He owned property in London, including part of the late Blackfriars monastery. In East Anglia he had a house in Norwich, land in Lincolnshire and so much influence in and around Dunwich that the place was sometimes referred to as Humberston’s Cut. His standing there brought about his return for the borough, and his duchy of Lancaster post obtained him a seat at Thetford in 1572. He was active in both Parliaments, being appointed to committees dealing with navigation (8 May 1571), woods (10 May), apparel (14 May), the navy (21 May), Exchequer reform (26 May), outlawries (12 May 1572) and weapons carried on the person (22 May). He died at Dunwich on 15 Dec. 1574, before the second session of the 1572 Parliament, and an inquisition post mortem was held at Guildhall, London, in 1582.

Rylands Eng. ms 304, f. 632; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 166-7; CPR, 1548-9, p. 239; 1558-60, p. 363; 1569-72, p. 208; Somerville, Duchy, i. 303, 319, 446; Lansd. 14, f. 9; 19, f. 208; 105, f. 104; Thetford hall bk. 2, p. 35; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 70, 72; R. H. Tawney, Agrarian Problem, 5, 349-50; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, pp. 260, 288, 307-8; Vis. Suff. ed. Howard, i. 8-9; Suckling, Suff. ii. 253; CJ, i. 88, 89, 91, 93, 94, 96; D’Ewes, 181, 182, 183, 187, 189, 206; C142/196/12.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.N.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.