BROMLEY, William (fl.1604-1608), of London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

?Woodward and kpr., woods in Som. 1595;1 ?bailiff and rent-collector, Kingland manor, Heref. 1598;2 ?surveyor of Crown lands, Derbys. 1598-at least 1603;3 ?bailiff and rent-collector, lands of St. John, Cheshire 1600;4 ?surveyor of Exch. lands, Cumb. 1603.5

Offices Held

V-chan. palatinate of Lancaster (jt.) 1604-c.1608;6 escheator, Lancs. c.1608.7


This quasi-Member was probably distantly related to Sir Henry Bromley* and carried a banner at the funeral of the latter’s father, lord chancellor Sir Thomas Bromley† in 1587.8 However, his identity has not been firmly established, and is obscured by several namesakes within the family, including a William Bromley born in around 1550 at Baddington, near Nantwich, in Cheshire, and his nephew William Bromley (d.1623) of Bagington, Warwickshire.9 Another, apparently unrelated, William Bromley resided at Belton in Lincolnshire.10 One ‘William Bromley, gent.’ was appointed in a variety of capacities to manage land across the country between 1595 and 1603, including that of surveyor of Crown lands in Derbyshire. This man may also have been the ‘William Bromley, of London, gent.’ who entered into litigation in Chancery concerning the purchase of messuages in Stockport in 1602-3.11

At the 1604 general election, Sir Henry Bromley’s uncle Sir John Fortescue*, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, nominated ‘William Bromley, gent.’ for the junior seat at Wigan, a duchy borough. Perhaps coincidentally, Sir Thomas Bromley had represented the same constituency in Elizabeth’s first Parliament. Bromley was duly elected on 2 Mar., and his name remains on the portion of the election indenture retained by Wigan’s corporation.12 However, Fortescue soon afterwards decided to transfer the seat to Sir John Pulteney*, his son-in-law, who had been rejected at Leicester. Bromley’s name was therefore deleted from the copy of the indenture sent into Chancery, which now has a hole where the name of his replacement should be, before the return was entered in the Crown office list.13 Such manipulations were highly illegal, but the offence went unnoticed by the Commons, which was deeply preoccupied with its investigation into Fortescue’s own controversial election for Buckinghamshire. As a result, Bromley was never formally returned, nor does he appear to have stood again.

Perhaps in compensation, Bromley was appointed, on or before 26 Mar. 1604, to share the duchy office of vice-chancellor of the palatinate of Lancaster with Sir Thomas Hesketh*. His duties included sitting as a judge in the Chancery Court of the Palatinate, held at Lancaster, although there is no evidence that he had received any formal legal training.14 Bromley was described as ‘gent., of London’ in a grant dated November 1605 of a reversion to the post of escheator in Lancashire, which had probably fallen in by the time he surrendered it on 2 June 1608.15 A half-share in a grant of £2,317 17s. of the debt of Nicholas Smith, receiver, was issued to one William Bromley in January 1607.16 Bromley had ceased to act as vice-chancellor of the Palatinate by 1 Aug. 1608, when his successor was appointed. He thereafter disappears from the records.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. E315/309, f. 96.
  • 2. Ibid. f. 113v.
  • 3. Ibid. f. 117v; 315/310, f. 3v.
  • 4. E315/309, f. 131v.
  • 5. Ibid. f. 147.
  • 6. Duchy of Lancaster Office-Holders ed. R. Somerville, 94.
  • 7. Ibid. 123.
  • 8. Stowe 586, f. 76v; Nash, Worcs. i. 594-5; Vis Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 78.
  • 9. Vis Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 50; IGI; Stowe 763, ff. 28v-9; PROB 11/141, ff. 36-7v; C142/402/149; Ormerod, Cheshire, iii. 369-72.
  • 10. C2/Jas.I/B28/36.
  • 11. C3/259/43.
  • 12. Wigan AS, D/DX Ap.G.3.
  • 13. C219/35/1/58.
  • 14. R. Somerville, ‘Palatinate Courts in Lancaster’, in Law-Making and Law-Makers in Brit. Hist. ed. A. Harding (RHS Studs. in Hist. Ser. xxii), 54-63.
  • 15. Duchy of Lancaster Office-Holders, 123.
  • 16. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 345.