MASSINGER, William (c.1515-c.94), of Gloucester.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1515, 1st s. of Thomas Massinger, mayor and sheriff of Gloucester, by his w. Alice. educ. L. Inn 1537. m. bef. Dec. 1545, Elizabeth, 3s. inc. Arthur and Richard 1da. suc. fa. 1534.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Gloucester 1562-3, 1566-7, mayor 1569-70, 1585-6.


At his father’s death, Massinger inherited small properties at Newent, Swindon and Trynley in Gloucestershire, Barton Regis, near Gloucester, and a house within the city. He had a long career as a member of Gloucester corporation. In Elizabeth’s reign his activity is seen in February 1565 as a member of a commission to survey and repair the banks of the river Leddon and in January 1584 he was acting as a justice of the peace for the city in the examination of the seminary priest Robert Alfield. By 1579 he was one of the two senior aldermen and had already followed his father in holding the highest offices in the city. By the time of his second term as mayor in 1585, his son William was also a member of the city council and Massinger himself was thenceforth styled ‘senior’.

His re-election to Parliament in 1571 after a long interval was perhaps the by-product of faction within the common council resulting in the exclusion of Richard Pate, the recorder, from the junior seat. It is difficult to see Massinger in opposition to Pate, who was a close friend and the godfather of his son Richard, but it is possible that the contesting of the junior seat exposed the senior one also to popular influences. Massinger had just completed his first term as mayor and may well have been a strong candidate with the commoners who were always an important factor in Gloucester elections. His career in the 1571 Parliament was uneventful. It was dissolved before the end of May and on 15 Sept. the common council of Gloucester empowered the mayor and aldermen to assess the burgesses for the Members’ wages. £14 13s.8d. was collected and Massinger and his colleague were paid for 68 days at 2s. per diem. Massinger’s will was made in June 1593 and proved at Gloucester in the following year. It mentions property in and near the city and contains legacies to the widow, to Massinger’s daughter Anne, and to his sons Arthur and Richard who were appointed executors.

E150/367/2; C3/105/20; C142/56/22; LP Hen. VIII, xx(2), p. 546; Rudder, Glos. 116, 117; CPR, 1548-9, p. 265; 1558-60, p. 216; Gloucester Recs. ed. Stevenson, 65-6; J. N. Langston, ‘Robert Alfield, Schoolmaster of Gloucester’, Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. lvi. 156; Gloucester Guild Hall mss 1451, f. 31; 1500, ff. 105, 136, 138, 198, 229, 236; Neale, Commons, 274-5; Gloucester consist. ct. wills 1594.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy