PURVEY, John (by 1525-83), of Wormley, Herts., Rushden, Northants., Louth and Mablethorpe, Lincs.

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



Oct. 1553
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1525. m. (1) lic. 1547, Anne, da. and coh. of William Woodliff, mercer, of London, 1s.; (2) in or aft. 1562, Magdalen, da. of Peter Cheke of Cambridge, wid. of Lawrence Eresby or Earsby, s.p.1

Offices Held

Auditor of south parts, duchy of Lancaster from 1546; j.p. Herts. from 1550, q. and feodary from c.1562; j.p.q. Lincs. (Lindsey) from 1569; warden of Louth 1568, 1573, 1582.2


By 1558 Purvey was a minor royal official and member of the household of his brother-in-law Sir William Cecil, being probably principally concerned with financial affairs. He remained friendly with Cecil all his life, and became related to him by his second marriage. It was doubtless Cecil who obtained his appointment as feodary of Hertfordshire, where Purvey had resided since he obtained the manor of Wormley with his first wife.

Purvey probably owed his return for Higham Ferrers to his position in the duchy, of which the borough formed part. He may have lived at times on the manor of Rushden, adjoining Higham Ferrers, a property which he leased in the 1550s. Despite his friendship with Cecil the bishops’ letters of 1564 described Purvey as a ‘hinderer of religion’, and a John Purvey was actually imprisoned in 1578 as a recusant, but this last must have been a namesake, as there is no evidence that Purvey was put off the commission of the peace before his death, which occurred on 21 Apr. 1583. Since most of his property in Hertfordshire and Norfolk had come to him with his first wife and was entailed upon their only son, William (in his turn auditor of the south parts of the duchy of Lancaster and steward of Higham Ferrers), he had been obliged to settle all his own lands as a jointure upon his second wife. To these he added in his will further property purchased since his marriage, and the greater part of his goods and chattels, provided that she left them to his son at her death. He bequeathed ‘to my very good lord, the Lord Burghley’, his best gelding.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. VCH Herts. iii. 488; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 177; CPR, 1553 and App. Edw. VI, p. 370; PCC 19 Butts; C142/201/71.
  • 2. Somerville, Duchy, i. 443; CPR, 1560-3, p. 400; 1563-6, p. 490; 1566-9, p. 130; 1569-72, p. 225; Louth Old Corp. Recs. ed. Goulding, 19.
  • 3. Somerville, 404, 408; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 371, 458, 474; J. E. Cussans, Herts. v, vi. 188; ix, x. 259; APC, xii. 301; CPR, 1553 and App. Edw. VI, p. 370; 1563-6, p. 123; 1566-9, p. 130; Lansd. 31, f. 76; VCH Northants. iv. 45; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 30; Cath. Rec. Soc. i. 64; C142/201/71; PCC 19 Butts, 73 Drury.