ALLEN, John (by 1510-54), of Stamford, Lincs.
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Family and Education
b. by 1510, prob. s. of John Allen, skinner, of Stamford. m. (?2) Susan, da. of Robert Walpole of Stamford and Pinchbeck, 2s. 6da.2
Chamberlain, Stamford 1534-5, one of second Twelve, 1534-41, of first Twelve, 1541-d., alderman 1542-3, 1553-4.3
John Allen of Stamford had many contemporary namesakes, some of them men of mark like the Privy Councillor and the chancellor of Ireland, others of less eminence like the yeoman of the King’s bears and the gentleman of Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire, who died in 1557. He himself appears to have passed his life in Stamford and apart from his Membership of four Parliaments to have confined himself to municipal office there. Described as a capper when admitted to scot and lot in 1530/31, he prospered sufficiently to become the owner of several properties in at least two parishes, those in St. Mary’s being rated for the subsidy of 1545 at £13, and to leave each of his children £16 in ready money. As he made his way in the world he came to be styled ‘gentleman’, and his bequest to his elder son of property in and around Tickhill, Yorkshire, reflects a wider interest than that of his own town.4
Stamford was in the habit of re-electing its Members but Allen shares with David Cecil the largest number of Parliaments attended by any of the town’s Members between 1509 and 1558: moreover, his fellows were usually men of note, in 1547 William Cecil, in October 1553 the young Thomas Heneage, and in April 1554, the only occasion on which Allen took the senior place, Roland Durrant. Of Allen’s part in the proceedings of the Commons nothing is known. In the second session of the Parliament of 1547 two Acts were passed relating to Stamford, one for the uniting of parishes and the other concerned with the grammar school there (2 and 3 Edw. VI, cc.50, 60). Although the chief responsibility for both probably lay with William Cecil, it was Allen who was commissioned, with a fellow-townsman, the draper William Campanett, to put the first into effect. Their method of doing so did not satisfy the comburgesses who on 14 Oct. 1552 asked Cecil to have a commission set up to investigate the two men’s receipts from church property. Whether the suspicions were well-founded it seems impossible to say, but they were not to prevent Allen’s election to the first two Parliaments of Queen Mary. His attitude to the restoration of Catholicism is to be judged only by the negative fact that in the earlier of these Parliaments he was not noted among the Members who ‘stood for the true religion’, namely, Protestantism.5
Allen may have died during his last Parliament and certainly did not long survive it, for the will which he had made on 11 July 1551 (perhaps in expectation of an earlier recall to Parliament than in the event happened) was proved on 12 Nov. 1554. Besides the money and property mentioned above, he distributed his furniture among his wife and children and named as executors his cousin John Butterell of Walsingham, Norfolk, and Thomas Trygge, gentleman, and as supervisors Henry ‘Dykby’, gentleman, presumably Henry Digby of Tickencote, Rutland (three miles from Stamford), and his former colleague William Campanett, who was a friend of Digby. Allen’s widow married John Houghton of Stamford.6
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard
- 1. Stamford hall bk. 1461-1657, f. 135.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Stamford hall bk. 1461-1657, f. 84; PCC 11 More; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 1040; P. Houghton, ‘Houghton fam.’, T/S unpaginated.
- 3. Stamford hall bk. 1461-1657, ff. 122v, 123, 132v; R. Butcher, Stamford (1646), 42; W. Harrod, Stamford (1785), 210.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; C142/116/113; Stamford hall bk. 1461-1657, f. 118; E179/137/431.
- 5. CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 45; Bodl. e Museo 17.
- 6. PCC 11 More; see CAMPANETT, John.