HUGHES, John (by 1500-43), of Uxbridge, Mdx.

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 1500. educ. Oxf. BCL 20 Feb. 1514, BCnL 1 Mar. 1514, DCL sup. 26 Feb. 1528; adv. Doctors’ Commons 9 Dec. 1532. m. Margaret, 3s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Registrar to Cardinal Wolsey; j.p. Mdx. 1539-d.; gov. surveyor and receiver, castle and lordship of Narberth, Pemb. and constable, Tenby castle, Pemb. Nov. 1540-d.3


John Hughes was evidently of Welsh origin but it may have been one of several namesakes who sued out a pardon in 1509 as of London, late of Southwark and Llantilio, Monmouthshire. A civilian and canon lawyer, in 1528 Hughes accounted to Wolsey for money received for dispensations and in June 1529 was appointed promoter or coadjutor for the King’s divorce proceedings, during which he produced witnesses against the dispensation exhibited by Queen Catherine. In 1533 he was one of the King’s legal counsel at the court, presided over by Cranmer, which annulled the King’s marriage.4

On 25 July 1534 Hughes, Thomas Thirlby and others, reported to Cromwell that they had met at the Blackfriars, as ordered, to debate ‘such matters as you had before delivered unto us, the which to furnish accordingly we be not able without the help of men learned both in the laws of God and the laws also of this realm, of the which as yet we had not one with us’. The matter under discussion appears to have been a possible change in the relationship of the civil, canon and common laws. The following year Thirlby and others of the court of arches conferred with Richard Pollard and other common lawyers on the extent of the criminal jurisdiction exercised by ecclesiastical judges. Pollard and his colleagues wanted to see all criminal cases transferred to the temporal courts; this was a point of view unlikely to be shared by the civilians and nothing came of the project, although on 6 Oct. 1535 the civilian Richard Gwent wrote to Cromwell offering to visit him, with Hughes and two others, ‘to declare how far forward we are in these new laws’.5

Hughes’s employment by Cromwell culminated in his being sent through Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire between November 1539 and January 1540 to dissolve monasteries and assign pensions to monks and nuns. He seems, however, to have been unaffected by the minister’s fall. In July 1540 he witnessed the judgment of convocation annulling the King’s marriage with Anne of Cleves and in the following November he was appointed to succeed his brother-in-law Maurice Parry at Narberth and Tenby. Finally, he was returned to the Parliament of 1542 as knight of the shire for Middlesex where he had been on the bench since 1539 and where he had served as juror for the trials of Sir Edward Neville (1538) and Sir Nicholas Carew (1539). He made his will on 15 Jan. 1543, seven days before the opening of the second session, leaving to his wife half his lands in Buckinghamshire and Middlesex, including his house at Uxbridge, and one third of his goods; the other half of the lands he bequeathed to his eldest son Thomas and the rest of his goods to all his children. He named his wife and eldest son executors and his ‘cousin’ Thomas Lloyd, preceptor of St. David’s, and Dr. Griffin Leyson supervisors. The will was proved on 10 May 1543 but Hughes was dead by 18 Apr. when his Welsh offices were granted to (Sir) Thomas Jones. No evidence has been found of a by-election.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from education. Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. to 1500, ii. 924-5; Coote, Civilians, 30; PCC 20 Spert.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, ix, xvi, xviii.
  • 4. Ibid. i, iv, vi, ix.
  • 5. SP1/85, f. 86; 97, f. 127; LP Hen. VIII, ix; Elton, Reform and Renewal, 26 n. 61.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, vii, xiii-xvi, xix; Merriman, Leters of Thomas Cromwell, ii. 222; PCC 23 Alenger, 20 Spert.