BALL, John (by 1518-56), of Norwich and Scottow, Norf.

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



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1518, s. of Ralph Ball of Parham Suff. by one Leegh. m. by 1539, Mary, da. of John Marsham of Norwich, 1s. 4da.1

Offices Held

Alderman, Norwich Mar. 1553-d.2


John Ball’s father was a servant of Sir Christopher Willoughby, being keeper of the park at Parham; he may also have been the Ralph Ball, yeoman of the crown, mentioned in 1533-4. John Ball himself was styled gentleman when on 20 Mar. 1553 the Norwich assembly admitted him to the freedom as a grocer without apprenticeship and excused him election as sheriff for five years; a few days later he was elected alderman. Evidence of his earlier connexion with the city is provided by his marriage to an alderman’s daughter and by the fact that in October 1551 his own daughter Elizabeth, a girl of 12, testified in the mayor’s court to words she had heard spoken. In the visitation of Norfolk he is described as of Scottow, and he certainly held considerable lands there and elsewhere around Norwich and at Parham: in 1539 Sir Walter Hobart had conveyed to him two manors in Northwold, Norfolk. There is no indication that he engaged in trade although he was a founder-member of the russel-makers’ (woollen fabric) company in Norwich and had presumably taken a personal interest in the bill for its establishment introduced into the Commons on 9 Apr. 1554 but re-delivered after its third reading.3

Ball made his will on 24 Nov. 1554, exhorting his wife and children to avoid strife over his lands and goods. To his wife he left a life interest in the manor of ‘Stubbes’ and all his lands in Hautbois, Scottow, Westwick and elsewhere in Norfolk, on condition that she made no claim to any of his Suffolk lands, which she was to have only during the minority of the son and heir Robert, ‘finding him and the residue of my children to learning and to be brought up in good education’: the title deeds of these lands were to be kept by the mayor and aldermen of Norwich. If his wife did interfere with the Suffolk lands, all his lands were to be taken over by his brothers-in-law Ralph and Thomas Marsham and his brother Robert. His wife was also to have his house in St. Edmund’s parish, Norwich, while a mere in Blythburgh, Suffolk, was to be sold for the marriage or advancement of his four daughters, each of whom was to receive £100 either at the same time or on marriage. After small bequests to other relatives, the residue passed to his wife, who was made sole executrix; the supervisor was John Corbet II.4

Ball must have died in or shortly after March 1556, when he last appears on the list of aldermen, as his will was proved on the following 15 June. His wife then married John Stanley of Scottow.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 14; PCC 8 Ketchyn.
  • 2. Norwich ass. procs. passim.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv, vi, vii; Norwich ass. procs. 2, f. 239; Norwich Depositions, ed. Rye, 28; Blomefield, Norf. ii. 213; Norwich Recs. ed. Hudson and Tingey, ii. 411; CJ, i. 33-34.
  • 4. PCC 8 Ketchyn.
  • 5. Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), ii. 407.