MAWDLEY, John (by 1501-72), of the Middle Temple, London and Wells, Som.

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



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1501, s. of John Mawdley of Wells by his w. Joan. educ. M. Temple 1517. m. (1) Joyce (?Ashe), 1da.; (2) Eleanor, da. of Thomas Popwell, 2s. 1da. suc. fa. 1540.1

Offices Held

Master of the revels, M. Temple 1519, reader 1533, 1543, bencher 1533, treasurer 1551-2; freeman, Wells 1529, jurat 1534; j.p. Som. Jan. 1543-4, from c.1559; steward, sheriff’s ct. of Bristol c.1554; escheator, Dorset, Som. 1552-3.2


The outline of Mawdley’s life is clear, the details obscured by the activities of various namesakes, including his father. The son of a wealthy clothier, probably of a junior branch of the Mawdleys of Nunney, Somerset, he became a lawyer, his admission as a freeman of Wells excusing him the usual duties and offices on condition that he acted as counsel to the city. During the next 30 years he held a number of offices there and from 1543 was on the commission of the peace and other commissions in Somerset. He may also have carried on his father’s cloth-making business.3

In January 1558 Mawdley and John Aylworth were returned to Parliament on promising to serve without wages. The same condition was probably made in December of that year when Wells returned the same two men to Elizabeth’s first Parliament. Though he did not sit again, Mawdley continued to be active as a local magistrate, and in January 1570 was appointed one of the revived inner council of the city. He had inherited some lands from his father and held at his death considerable property in Wells, with the manor of Ford and other lands in Somerset. His will, made 31 Mar. 1570, and proved 27 Nov. 1573, included charitable bequests. His wife and two sons were executors, and William Bowerman an overseer. He died 6 Apr. 1572.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. C142/83/160; Harl. 1559, f. 19; PCC 17 Alenger.
  • 2. M.T. Recs. i. 60, 83; M.T. Bench Bk. 61; Wells corp. act bk. passim; APC, iv. 67.
  • 3. Wells corp. act bk.; LP Hen. VIII, xviii(1), p. 68; CPR, 1547-8, p. 89; 1553-4, p. 36; Leland, Itinerary, i. 145.
  • 4. Wells corp. act bk.; CPR, 1558-60, p. 423; C142/83/160, 172/132; PCC 36 Peter.