ABYN, John (by 1523-58/59), of Salisbury, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1523, ?s. of John Abyn of Salisbury. m. Alice, ?da. of John Eyre of Wedhampton, Wilts.1

Offices Held

Member of the Forty-Eight, Salisbury 1544, of the Twenty-Four 1545, constable 1544, auditor 1547, 1550, mayor 1551, commr. subsidy 1552, clerk of the recognizance of the statute merchant 1558.2


John Abyn may have been the son of a namesake who was admitted to the council of Forty-Eight in 1517 and who last appears, as an alderman, in 1553; but whereas this elder John Abyn was assessed for subsidy on goods worth £133 6s.8d. in New Street ward in 1523-4 and on goods worth £240 in 1525, the younger one answered for more modest sums in the same ward— in 1545 he paid 40s., between 1547 and 1551 his goods were valued at £30, and in 1552 he was assessed on £20.3

The return of John Abyn to Mary’s first two Parliaments for Salisbury, a conservative city, might be taken to mean that he was a Catholic, as could the traditional invocation in his will; and to these slight indications may be added the further one that his name was not marked as that of a Member who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, Protestantism, in the Parliament of October 1553. On 4 Mar. 1555 he joined his partners John Hooper and Robert Griffith in claiming £36 in wages; as the maximum number of days the three could have spent in the Commons was 322, they appear to have expected payment at the statutory rate of 2s. a day with an addition for travel and perhaps other expenses. The city chamber being in debt, this sum was divided between the four wards, each of which was required to contribute to a special levy. Abyn’s municipal career seems to have been uneventful, with nothing more dramatic to show than a fine of 12d. imposed on him on 12 Mar. 1557 after arriving late at the council house.4

Abyn was a sick man when he made his will on 8 Dec. 1558, asking to be buried in the church of St. Thomas the Martyr. His widow Alice received all his property in Salisbury for life, and after her death the houses in St. Thomas’s parish were to go to Thomas Malet and his wife, another Alice, and those in the parishes of St. Edmund’s and St. Martin’s to William Dyer and his wife Eleanor. The widow was also left ten acres of meadow at Alderbury and 20 acres at Stratford-sub-Castle, which she could dispose of as she wished, and on her death the testator’s ‘cousin’ Thomas Eyre was to have a tenement in the High Street and an inn called the Angel. Abyn appears to have been a clothier, since he left £40 to the city chamber, half for charitable distribution by the mayor and half ‘as a stock to help young beginners that be kersey makers’. Although the wives of Thomas Malet and William Dyer may have been Abyn’s daughters, the only relatives specified are members of his wife’s family, including his ‘brother’ Robert Eyre, one of the overseers. James Malet was the second overseer and Alice Abyn the sole executrix; the will was proved on 7 Mar. 1559.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Salisbury corp. ledger B, f. 298v; E179/259/16; PCC 48 Welles.
  • 2. Ledger B, ff. 298v, 300, 301v, 306, 307v, 319; E179/198/262; Wilts. Arch. Mag. viii. 324.
  • 3. Ledger B, ff. 238v, 276v; E179/259/16, 197/154, 197/240, 198/256, 198/260, 198/262; Two Taxation Lists (Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. br. x), 39.
  • 4. Ledger B, ff. 313, 317.
  • 5. PCC 48 Welles.