The House of Commons, 1793-94 by Karl Anton Hickel.
National Portrait Gallery, London.

Members, 1509-1558

Published in 1982

These volumes cover the reigns of three Tudor monarchs - Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I.  As the official returns for many of the early parliaments of Henry VIII are lost the identity of many members is unknown.  It has been possible, though, to discover many previously unknown members from civil, municipal and parish records. In some cases, the evidence for a particular Member sitting in a particular parliament is conjectural, or it may be known that a Member sat in parliament, but unclear which constituency he represented. This is indicated clearly in the biographies concerned.

During the period, the number of Members elected to the House of Commons grew from 296 in the 1510 parliament to 398 in the 1558 parliament. From the 1542 parliament representatives from the counties and boroughs of Wales were included.

Among the 2,263 biographies that are included in this section are those of a saint (Sir Thomas More) and Henry VIII’s principal minister, the architect of the break with Rome, Thomas Cromwell; intellectuals such as Sir Thomas Smith, Sir Thomas Elyot and John Cheke; and a fair collection of members who espoused the Protestant cause, such as Sir George Throckmorton and George Blagge (who narrowly avoided being burnt in 1546), and of those more conservative in religion.