LANGLEY, Philip (c.1525-92), of Bristol.

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.1525, s. of William Langley of Caerleon by Joan, da. of Philip Jones. m. Marie, da. of William Pepwell of Bristol, 1s. 2da.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Bristol 1566-7, alderman c.1566-d., mayor 1581-2.2


Langley, the son of a husbandman, was apprenticed to a Bristol grocer in 1541, developing interests in trade which were threatened when, in 1566, the Bristol Merchant Venturers obtained an Act forbidding non-members to trade beyond the seas. Opposition to this restriction was reflected in the ‘great variance’ of 1571 over the choice of burgesses for Parliament. The offending statute was repealed, but the dissension continued, Langley being fined for abusive language in 1572. During his first Parliament Langley was named to one committee concerning the increase of tillage and the maintenance of the navy (21 May 1571), and in the following Parliament he was appointed to committees concerning kerseys (28 June 1572), setting the poor to work (11 Feb. 1576), ports (13 Feb. 1576), wine (21 Feb. 1576), aliens (24 Feb. 1576), cloth (1 Mar. 1576) and hats and caps (22 Feb. 1581). In 1572 he successfully opposed a bill to give Gloucester a customs house independent of Bristol. At least for the 1571 Parliament, he was paid wages at 4s. a day and travelling expenses amounting to £18 12s. Despite his opposition to the Merchant Venturers, he became a member of the society of merchants trading to Spain and Portugal, which was incorporated in 1577. The next year, his position was called in question owing to his continued activities as a ‘notorious retailer’, whereas the society was confined to wholesale merchants. In 1592, the year of his death, he was granted permanent exemption from the office of mayor in return for a fine of £50. He died a wealthy man, having acquired the manor of Berwick, Gloucestershire, and considerable property in Bristol and Chepstow. In his will, made 4 Aug. and proved 25 Aug. 1592, he left most of his property to his wife. To his son and heir Toby he left £2,000 and 200 ounces of plate; a further £700 and 400 ounces of plate were to be divided between Toby’s three children. He left £40 to his cousin William Langley of Lisbon, to be used in trade and, among various charitable bequests, left provision towards the upkeep of roads in Monmouthshire and bridges at Newport, Caerleon and Chepstow.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.


  • 1. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 103; Bristol Rec. Soc. xiv. 202.
  • 2. A. B. Beaven, Bristol Lists, 368; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xix. 134-7; PCC 66 Harrington.
  • 3. Bristol Rec. Soc. xiv. 202; Sel. Charters of Trading Cos. ed. Carr (Selden Soc. xxviii), passim; S. Seyer, Mems. of Bristol, 243; J. Latimer, Annals of Bristol, 44, 46, 56, 102; J. Latimer, Soc. Merchant Venturers of Bristol, 52-5; D’Ewes, 187, 224, 247, 251; CJ, i. 107, 108, 109, 129; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 408; Add. 1566-79, pp. 343-4; APC, x. 408-9; Augmentations, ed. Lewis and Davies (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiii), 451; PCC 66 Harrington.