Appendix I: The 1559 House of Commons

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Effective dates of session: 25 Jan.-8 May 1559.


Speaker: Sir Thomas Gargrave

Clerk: John Seymour


Privy Councillors in the Commons:

Sir Ambrose CaveSir Thomas Parry
Sir William CecilSir William Petre
Sir Robert DudleySir Edward Rogers
Sir Francis KnollysSir Richard Sackville
Sir John MasonSir Ralph Sadler


Total number of Members elected 405

for counties 91

for boroughs 314

at general election 402

for counties 90

for boroughs 312

at by-elections 3

for counties 1

for boroughs 2


Number of Members known to have left before end: 5, of whom 3 sat for counties, 2 for boroughs


Residential qualification. Borough Members

resident in borough 93

resident in county 109

resident in adjacent county etc. 13

strangers 94

no information 5


Electoral qualification. Borough Members returned through

own or family interest 66

wife’s family interest 10

corporation interest 94

‘natural’ influence 25

influence of a great man 92

duchy of Lancaster 14

no information 13


Number of Members with

central office local office
major 4lord lieutenant 3
minor 72deputy lieutenant 5
legal 9custos rotulorum 13
duchy of Lancaster 13
j.p. 178
diplomatic/agent abroad 5other county 83
military/naval 12mayor 13
ecclesiastical 10recorder 10
 other municipal 61
 no office in this Parliament 120


Experience. Members who

had sat in previous Parliament 27%

were to sit in next Parliament 35%



very active speakers 1%

very active committeemen 1%

with any recorded activity 7%

with any recorded speeches 2%

with any recorded committees 6%

served on religious committee 2%

spoke on religion 1%

served on subsidy committee 1%

spoke on the subsidy: less than 0.5%

served on a social/economic committee 3%

spoke on a social/economic matter: less than 0.5%

served on a legal committee 1%

spoke on a legal matter: less than 0.5%

served on a committee concerning the Queen’s marriage or the succession 2%

spoke on these matters 1%


No information has been obtained about the activity of 93% of members of this Parliament due to defective journals and the clerk’s practice of noting only the Member to whom the bill was committed, rather than a list of committee members.

Sources for the names of Members (unless an individual reference is given)

Return of the names of every Member 1213-1702 (HC Parliamentary Papers 69 and 69-II of 1878) cited OR, has been used for all Parliaments in this period except 1571. In two parts, the first lists the Members, the second includes additions and corrections.

Over 100 returns for 1559 are missing. In July 1963 Dr. C. E. Challis discovered in the Public Record Office a list of Members copied on to an Exchequer originalia roll E371/402 (1). Dr. Challis generously made available to the Trust a transcription of this list, so that (1978) the only constituencies not known to have had Members were Berwick-upon-Tweed and Taunton.


Sources for the proceedings of the Commons

Journals of the House of Commons , reprinted by order of the House of Commons 1803, vol. i, cited CJ , i.

A Complete Journal of the ... Lords and ... Commons collected by Sir Simonds D’Ewes (1682), cited D’Ewes. The manuscript Commons journal and the manuscript D’Ewes have numerous advantages over their printed versions, but in 1978 neither was available in a modern edition. The printed texts cited were the only versions accessible throughout the compiling and editing of the biographies, which extended over a period of 27 years. Fortunately the Trust had access to typed and edited transcripts, the work of Miss Helen Miller, of all other known sources for the proceedings of the Commons in this period. These, too, still await publication.

Extracts from British Library manuscripts Harley 5176 and Lansdowne 94, made by Miss Miller, have also been used for this Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler

End Notes