ALDRICH, John (by 1520-82), of Norwich, Norf.

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



Family and Education

b. by 1520, 3rd surv. s. of Thomas Aldrich of Norwich by Elizabeth, da. of one Wood of Fulbourne, Cambs. m. by 1540, Elizabeth, da. of Nicholas Sotherton of Norwich, 3s. 2da.1

Offices Held

Common councilman, Norwich 1541-2, 1543-5, alderman 1545-d., sheriff 1551-2, auditor 1547, 1556, 1561, 1572-5, chamberlain’s council 1548, 1550, 1564, 1566, overseer, Holme Street poorhouse 1553, mayor 1557-8. 1570-1, commr. sewers 1564, 1566, subsidy 1581.2


John Aldrich was admitted to the freedom of Norwich on 21 Sept. 1541. The son of a leading citizen who at his death in 1529 had distributed his considerable wealth among his three sons, Aldrich received £500 and property in Norwich and, although not the eldest son, was to succeed to the father’s position in the city. He also followed the same trade, becoming a mercer (although occasionally called a grocer) and dealing chiefly in wool. Some of his goods were seized by subjects of the Emperor in September 1544, and in the following year he was one of several merchants who petitioned the King for redress.3

At the same time as Aldrich obtained his freedom he was sworn to the common council and to the guild of St. George, but something prevented him from serving as a common councilman and at the following Easter he was replaced by Thomas Bere: he was re-elected a year later and remained on the council until 1545, when he agreed to pay £20 to be exempted from the city’s shrievalty for the next six years. During these years he rose to prominence although it was not he but his brother Thomas who after the capture of Norwich by the rebels in 1549 negotiated with Robert Ket.4

On the expiry of his exemption Aldrich was made sheriff with a fellow-mercer, Thomas Grey, and it was these two who were to represent Norwich in the fourth Parliament of Mary’s reign. Both were doubtless interested in a bill for buying of Norfolk wools which failed after its first reading, but neither seems to have made any mark in the House or to have joined the opposition headed by Sir Anthony Kingston, whose Protestantism Aldrich was nevertheless to give later signs of sharing. As mayor at the time of the next parliamentary election he may have promoted the return of his brother-in-law Thomas Sotherton. He himself was to sit again in Elizabeth’s fourth Parliament, after having served again as mayor. He died in 1582.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 2-4. PCC 9 Jankyn, 21 Alenger, 27 Tirwhite.
  • 2. Norwich ass. procs. 2, 3 passim; CPR, 1563-6, p. 40; 1569-72, pp. 218, 219.
  • 3. Norwich ass. procs. 2, f. 176; PCC 9 Jankyn; Norwich Census of Poor 1570 (Norf. Rec. Soc. xl), app. viii; Merchants’ Marks (Harl. Soc. cviii), 15; LP Hen. VIII, xx; Bronnen tot de Geschiedenis van den Handel met Engeland, Schotland en Ierland, ed. Smit, i. 538, 605; CPR, 1558-60, p. 162; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 550.
  • 4. Norwich ass. procs. 2, 3 passim; Recs. Norwich, ed. Hudson and Tingay, i. 313, 415; W. K. Jordan, Edw. VI, i. 483; F. W. Russell, Kett’s Rebellion, 40; Blomefield, Norf. iii. 234-8.
  • 5. Strype, Annals, ii(1), 433; PCC 27 Tirwhite.