BEVERLEY, Joseph (by 1520-61), of Faversham and Dover, Kent.

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 1520, s. of John Beverley by his w. Bennett. m. (3) Helen; 1da.3

Offices Held

Member of the Twenty-Four, Faversham 1542-4, 1549, 1551-6, jurat 1557-d., mayor 1559-60; town clerk, Dover by 1548, jurat 1556-8; clerk, Dover castle by 1550.4


Joseph Beverley was a gentleman who lived at Faversham, where he had lands in Courtstrete West, and was auditor of Faversham abbey at an annual fee of £3 6s.8d. He was made a freeman of Faversham on 20 July 1541, and was a member of the Twenty-Four of the town in 1542-4, 1549 and every year from 1551 onwards until he became a jurat: he may have been away from Faversham in the other years.5

From 1549 until his death Beverley was deeply involved in the affairs of the Cinque Ports, both as clerk of Dover castle and as counsel and Member of Parliament for the port. From 1548-9 he received an annual fee of 40s.‘to be counsel with the said town’, and on 21 June 1549 was appointed an arbitrator in a dispute there between Thomas Portway and John Bodending. He was clerk of the castle as early as 12 Sept. 1550 when he and John Monninges, the lieutenant, wrote to the officers of the Cinque Ports conveying the wishes of ‘their master’ the lord warden on the methods of electing head officers in the ports. Thereafter he wrote, signed and passed on to the ports various letters from the warden: when at the Brotherhood of July 1552 Sandwich complained about royal writs sent to the port contrary to the charters, it was agreed to ask Monninges, Beverley and Thomas Portway to consult the warden in the matter. Beverley himself represented Dover at the Brotherhoods on various occasions between 1552 and 1558, acting as solicitor for the ports in a quo warranto inquiry in 1556-7.6

That Beverley and his fellow-officers needed the warden’s protection is shown by an incident of 1556. On 8 May of that year Sir Thomas Cheyne wrote to him and to William Crispe, the lieutenant of the castle, about their arrest at dinner by the lord chancellor’s serjeant after they had taken musters. Having heard of this in a letter which they sent by John Isted, Cheyne told them not to fear because the serjeant’s warrant should have gone first to himself as warden: he would both write to the lord chancellor and speak to ‘his grace’ about it. Later he wrote to them again, shortly before their appearance for the hearing of the dispute, and told them to write to the ports to search for precedents for their liberties: he promised to ‘stand by you and them for the maintenance of their said liberties as far as their charters will bear, to the uttermost of my power’. The support had to be mutual: in March 1558 Beverley wrote to the ports, asking them to be careful to make lawful returns of certain exchequer writs, so that ‘my master your lord warden and his said office be not thereupon amerced as of late time he hath been and much ado to escape the danger thereof’, and adding that they should seek learned advice about their writs, ‘for the officers of the exchequer never looked so near unto the queen’s majesty’s advantage as they do now’.7

Of Beverley’s three elections for Dover the second was almost certainly due to the intervention of the warden. After Thomas Portway and Thomas Colly had been elected on 17 Sept. 1553 this result was set aside and Beverley and John Webbe were returned instead. Although the mayor and jurats, including the two men passed over, indemnified the town against the legal consequences of its action, the affair doubtless caused resentment and perhaps helps to explain why in the next Parliament Beverley sat for Winchelsea, not Dover: it was also probably part of the background to the binding over of Colly in May 1558 to keep the peace against Beverley. Thanks to the fullness of the Dover accounts, Beverley’s record of attendance as a Member can be established with near-completeness. For his first session he and Thomas Warren gave the town an account of their expenses from 2 Nov. to 25 Dec. 1547, a total of 54 days, three more than the session lasted. They claimed wages of 2s. a day each and a further 10s. for ‘penning of a book concerning the passage’; they had also paid 4s. to the clerk of the crown for the return, 4s. to the serjeant for placing them and 5s. to the keeper of the door. Beverley does not seem to have attended the session from November 1548 to March 1549, for which only Warren received wages, but both of them went to the third session which opened on 4 Nov. 1549. They came away on 17 Dec. and Beverley is recorded as having gone up again ‘about’ 5 Jan.; although the date of his return is not given, the session ended on 1 Feb. 1550. A town meeting held on 10 Mar. 1551 agreed ‘to pay the debt of Mr. Beverley’ and appointed assessors for the jurats and commoners. The sum of £11 which he was given on 27 July in full payment of his parliamentary wages must have represented either the balance of a total indebtedness of some £13 or an agreed reduction of it. On 7 May 1552 he was paid the full £6 due for his attendance at the final session of this Parliament from 23 Jan. to 15 Apr. 1552, having left Dover on the day that the session opened, and he and Webbe between them received £13 for the 64 days they had spent at the Parliament which sat from 5 Oct. to 6 Dec. 1553. Neither Beverley nor Webbe was among the Members who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, Protestantism, in this Parliament. Beverley’s attendance at the Parliament of April 1554, when he sat for Winchelsea, cannot be checked, and the 40s. which Dover paid him in 1559 represented only part of what was due to him for the last Parliament of Mary’s reign. When Sir Thomas Cheyne made his will on 6 Dec. 1558 he referred to account books of Beverley’s in his own house at Shurland as well as to land that Beverley had lately held.8

In his own will, made on 28 Jan. 1561 and proved on the following 29 Oct., Beverley asked to be buried in Faversham churchyard near his two wives. He left his principal house, money from the sale of a tenement in Dover and the residue of his goods to his wife, who was to be his executrix, and a sum of £20 and household stuff to his daughter Elizabeth. He did not refer to the 21-year lease that he, John Marbyll and Thomas Foxley had taken on 20 Aug. 1557 of lands late of the archpriest of Dover.9

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. Canterbury prob. reg. A36, ff. 1-2.
  • 4. Faversham wardmote bk. ff. 34v, 36, 38, 39, 53v, 61, 62, 64v, 66, 68, 70, 72, 74v, 79, 82v; J. Bavington Jones, Dover Annals, 337-8; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 254, 256; Sandwich old red bk. f. 238v.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xx; Arch. Cant. ii. 59.
  • 6. Dover accts. 1547-58, 1558-81 passim; Egerton 2093, f. 136; Sandwich old red bk. f. 238v; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. 247-56 passim; Sandwich mss Sa/2B 3, ff. 96-99.
  • 7. Add. 34150, f. 55; Sandwich mss Sa/2B 3, ff. 102v, 103, 124v.
  • 8. Egerton 2094, ff. 30, 89, 177v; Dover accts. 1547-58 passim, 1558-81, f. 18v; PCC 1 Chaynay.
  • 9. Canterbury prob. reg. A36, ff. 1-2; CPR, 1557-8, p. 32.