LAYER, Thomas (c.1528-1614), of Norwich, Norf.

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.1528, 2nd s. of William Layer, and bro. of Christopher. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Sir Valentine Browne and sis. of Sir Valentine Browne, s.p.s.; (2) Anne, da. of Robert Suckling, s.p.s.1

Offices Held

Common councilman, Norwich 1559, sheriff 1567-8, alderman 1568, mayor 1576-7, 1585-6, 1595-6.2


Like his brother, Layer was a grocer, with tenements and other property in Norwich and the neighbouring villages. His progress through the normal civic offices was conventional, and he was particularly concerned with the settlement of the Dutch congregation in Norwich. He signed the letter to Burghley in 1585 asking for a lease of the alnage on new stuffs. He was elected to Parliament as a senior alderman, having just completed his second term as mayor. He was named to the committee of the bill for Orford harbour, 7 Nov. 1586. During his Membership he received 5s. a day wages.3

Layer outlived all his younger brothers and most of his contemporaries: he must have been about 86 years old when he drew up his will on 27 Jan. 1614. By it he bestowed mourning gowns and small bequests upon a large number of relatives and friends, and money to his servants and various charities, including the congregation of the Dutch church in Norwich. The heir to his landed property was his nephew William Layer. To his wife, the executrix, he bequeathed the residue and bulk of his estate. She proved the will 7 July 1614.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Vis. Norf. (Norf. and Norwich Arch. Soc.), i. 25.
  • 2. Norwich ass. min bk. 1551-68. ff. 113, 238v; H. Le Strange, Norf. Official Lists, 108-110.
  • 3. Reg. Norwich Freemen, ed. Millican, 71, 231; The Walloons and their church at Norwich, ed. Moens (Hug. Soc. i) pt. 2, pp. 247, 249; Lansd. 44, f. 70; D’Ewes, 395; Norwich corporation ct. bk. 1582-7, p. 704.
  • 4. PCC 90 Lawe; Blomefield, Norf. iv. 231.