WIGHTMAN, William (bef.1517-80), of Harrow-on-the-Hill, Mdx.

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



Mar. 1553
Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. bef. 1517, 1st s. of Richard Wightman, capper, of Coventry, Warws. by Elizabeth, da. of Humphrey Purcell of Wolverhampton, Staffs. m.Audrey, da. of [?Thomas] Dering, 5da.1

Offices Held

Teller of the change of the coinage and mint in the Tower 31 Jan. 1551-d.; jt. receiver, South Wales for ct. of augmentations 1552-4; Exchequer receiver, Wales 1554-d.; high treasurer of the army July 1557; j.p.q. Mdx. from c.1569, commr. musters.2


After serving Sir Anthony Browne and Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, Wightman found a new master in the 1st Earl of Pembroke. By the accession of Elizabeth, he had held his crown offices for some years, that in the mint being marked, on an establishment list of December 1560, as ‘to cease after him’. His annual fee from the mint was £33 6s. 8d. and from the Exchequer £70, with the usual allowance for porterage. In 1566 he was one of those allowed the free import of a tun of wine. During these years Wightman, helped no doubt by his official position, took leases of various properties, chiefly in Wales; he also acquired further property at Harrow. He sat in three Elizabethan Parliaments, on each occasion for a borough within the patronage of the 1st or 2nd Earl of Pembroke. The only thing recorded of him in the House is his appointment on 10 May 1571 to a committee concerned with the preservation of woods. In 1560 Wightman made an excursion into literary patronage by publishing the eighth and ninth books of the Aeneid in the verse translation made by his friend Dr. Thomas Phaer.3

Wightman died in January 1580, and was buried in St. Mary’s, Harrow, on 1 Feb. By his will, made 20 Dec. 1578, he bequeathed to his wife a close at Coventry and freeholds at Harrow, and to his wife and eldest daughter his leaseholds at Harrow: this daughter, Frances, was newly married to Robert Streynsham, a former secretary of the 1st Earl of Pembroke, and clerk of the peace for Wiltshire in 1580-1. He also made bequests to two sons-in-law, John Pryce and Humphrey Wynces, and to his ‘daughter Vaughan’ and ‘little niece Ann Vaughan’. The list of debts appended to it yields a total of £614, of which £199 was owing to the Queen, to be paid at a rate of £50 a year, and £20 to ‘Mr. Moulton the auditor’; on the other side, Robert Streynsham owed Wightman £800, and Thomas and David Williams over £200. Wightman’s widow survived him 16 years.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. T. Bindoff


  • 1. Mdx. Peds. 34; Coventry Leet Bk. ii. 728, 735-812; Lysons, Environs, ii. 571.
  • 2. CPR, 1550-3, p. 108; APC, iv. 193; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 152; HMC Foljambe, 4-5.
  • 3. Craig, The Mint, 121; Lansd. 4, f. 218; 9, f. 30; 47, f. 176 seq.; CPR, 1558-60, p. 433; 1566-9, p. 188; Augmentations, ed. Lewis and Davies (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiii), 257, 259, 267, 502; Exchequer, ed. E. G. Jones (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. iv), 84, 87, 99, 115, 309; HMC Hatfield, ii. 134-5; PCC 9 Arundel; CJ, i. 24.
  • 4. Reg. St. Mary’s, Harrow, i. 101; PCC 9 Arundel, 59 Lewyn; Mins. Proc. Sess. (Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. iv), pp. xix-xx.