LEWIS, William II (d.1593), of King's Lynn, 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

educ. G. Inn 1572.

Offices Held

Freeman, King’s Lynn 1589, recorder 1589-93; ?dep. steward of royal manors in Marshland 1590.

J.p. Norf. from c.1591.


The town books described Lewis as ‘counsellor at law’ when he was made recorder (and given a hogshead of wine ‘to welcome him to town’), but there is no evidence to suggest that he was called to the bar. He was known to Lord Burghley, high steward of Lynn from 1592-8, who in February 1590 had written to Nathaniel Bacon asking him to appoint Lewis as his deputy steward in Marshland: no answer survives. He may have been the William Lewis who in 1592 leased a house in St. John Maddermarket, Norwich.

Lewis was an active speaker and committeeman in his one Parliament. He was appointed to the subsidy committee on 1 Mar., and supported the government demand for increased subsidies, taking the opportunity to urge freedom of grain export and restrictions on the import of wine from Gascony and elsewhere ‘for the vent of our cloth amounteth not to the sum of our vintage’ (7 Mar.). To the Thomas Fitzherbert outlawry dispute he contributed (1 Mar.) a lawyer’s speech full of Latin tags maintaining that Fitzherbert should remain of the House as he had been arrested after election: ‘It had been a good exception against his election, to say he was outlawed, but ’tis no disability to him being elected.’ He reported the bill on salted fish, of obvious interest to King’s Lynn (12 Mar.), persuading the House to adopt first a proviso, and later a number of amendments. He was appointed to a committee on the recusancy bill on 28 Feb. and during a debate on the subject (13 Mar.) he said that, as the measure was directed only against Catholics, ‘it was not fit that the bill should include any other than popish recusants’. He was on the committee for the bill ‘touching execution of process’ (15 Mar.) and suggested that the statutes against excess in apparel should be enforced. The burgesses for King’s Lynn were appointed to a committee concerning kerseys on 23 Mar. His parliamentary wages, and payments for ‘other travails that he hath taken for the town’, amounting to £10 in all, were voted by the corporation on 13 July 1593; the money had not been paid by the time he died, and went to his widow provided she handed over certain ‘writings’ about town affairs. A new recorder was appointed 20 Sept. 1593.

Lynn Freemen, 122; King’s Lynn congregation bk. passim; A. H. Smith thesis, 41; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 171; Neale, Parlts. ii. 284; D’Ewes, 477, 480, 481, 494, 497, 500, 501, 502, 507.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge