BYNG, George (-d.1632), of Dover, Kent

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

m. by 1584, Anne (bur. 13 Sept. 1631), 2s. 3da. (1 d.v.p.). bur. 25 Nov. 1632.1

Offices Held

Commoner, Dover by 1586, jurat by 1593-d., mayor 1595-7, 1604-6,2 dep. mayor 1603, 1610, 1613, 1615;3 dep. for Dover to Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports 1586, 1593-5, 1597, 1599-1607, 1610-12, 1615, 1617, 1619, 1622, 1624, 1626, 1629, dep. to Guestling of the Cinque Ports 1596, 1598, 1599, 1605, bailiff to Great Yarmouth, Norf. 1600-1, Speaker of the Guestling 1603, auditor (jt.) 1607.4


Byng, a brewer by occupation, has sometimes been confused with the west Kent esquire George Byng of Wrotham, who sat for Rochester in 1584.5 By that date this Member was settled at Dover. He subsequently became one of the town’s jurats, and had a long career as a defender of the privileges of the Cinque Ports, beginning in 1599 when he was appointed solicitor with Richard Lyffe* and James Thurbarne* to obtain a tax rebate and a patent for exemption from billeting. He was granted £1 11s. for his ‘painful travel’, served as Speaker in the first Guestling of the new reign, and helped to carry the canopy at the coronation.6

Elected to Parliament in 1604, Byng was permitted 6s. a day as wages during the session and horse-hire in both directions. He left little trace on the records of the first Stuart Parliament, but he was probably an active lobbyist on behalf of his constituency, for on 20 Apr. 1604 the corporation resolved to write to him ‘to invite certain of the burgesses of the Parliament he shall think meet to a dinner or supper’. The purpose of this dinner was to rally support for the bill to renew the Act enabling Dover to levy tolls on passing ships, which had expired on the death of Elizabeth. The bill, which was needed to finance harbour repairs, was subsequently enacted, and in July, after the Parliament had been prorogued, Byng ‘made relation of his continuance of the statute for repairing the haven for seven years’, and presented his bill for ‘extraordinary expenses’.7 He was in office as mayor of Dover throughout the second session, which he probably did not attend. His only committee was for the free trade bill in the next session (26 Nov. 1606).8 In July 1609 he was appointed by the Guestling to act as solicitor for the Cinque Ports over their grievances against the Admiralty jurisdiction of the lord warden. However, on 25 Aug. he was presented at the borough court ‘for selling and delivering certain barrels of beer into the houses or cellars of several inhabitants’.9 He was certainly in London during the fifth session, as the corporation resolved on 25 Nov. 1610 to write to him ‘to prosecute further the plea in [the] Exchequer for licence to export beer and corn’.10 In July 1614 the Guestling ordered him ‘to collect from all ports and members ... notes of grievances against charters and customs’. 11 As senior jurat he gave evidence to the committee for privileges on 23 Mar. 1624 for the narrow franchise.12 He was buried at St. Mary’s, Dover in November 1632, leaving John Pringle* as executor of his nuncupative will.13 Nothing further is known of his family.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Peter Lefevre


  • 1. Soc. Gen. Dover St. Mary par. reg.; Cent. Kent. Stud. PRC32/50/24.
  • 2. Cal. of White and Black Bks. of Cinque Ports ed. F. Hull (Kent Recs. ix), 332, 341; J.B. Jones, Annals of Dover, 301.
  • 3. Cal. of White and Black Bks. of Cinque Ports, 374, 392; Add. 29623, ff. 22, 34.
  • 4. Cal. of White and Black Bks. of Cinque Ports, 332, 341-2, 346, 351, 353-4, 360, 362, 365-6, 368, 373-4, 376, 378, 380, 382, 384, 392, 394, 397, 408, 416, 421, 428, 431, 434, 446.
  • 5. HP Commons 1558-1603, i. 524.
  • 6. Cal. of White and Black Bks. of Cinque Ports, 360, 370; Add. 29623, f. 2.
  • 7. Add. 29623, ff. 4-5.
  • 8. CJ, i. 325a.
  • 9. Cal. of White and Black Bks. of Cinque Ports, 391; Add. 28036, f. 17v.
  • 10. Add. 29623, f. 19.
  • 11. Cal. of White and Black Bks. of Cinque Ports, 404.
  • 12. Add. 29623, f. 65.
  • 13. Cent. Kent. Stud. PRC32/50/24.