SWANTON, Andrew (1362-1434), of Bishop's Lynn, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1414

Family and Education

b.1362, prob. s. of William Swanton (d.1361) of Lynn by his w. Alice.1 m. 1s.

Offices Held

Chamberlain, Lynn Mich. 1386-7; councillor 1390-1; coroner 1400-1, July 1417, Apr. 1421; bailiff Mich. 1401-2, 1408-9.2

Keeper of the harbour passage, Lynn by Apr. 1407.3


There seems little doubt that Andrew was the posthumously born son of William Swanton, the merchant who was mayor of Lynn in 1355-6, for when William made his will on 10 Aug. 1361, his wife was pregnant, and Andrew entered the freedom of the borough by patrimony on 19 Aug. 1383, having recently attained his majority. William had stipulated that his properties, a messuage and quay near ‘Websterflet’ and premises near Purfleet, were to go to the child if a boy, otherwise they were to be divided among his daughters. He also held a house in High Street, four shops in ‘Pillory Lane’ and, in Foulsham, ‘Swanton’s manor’, and all save the last passed to our MP. In addition, from 1404 to 1421, the latter leased from the commonalty 21 cottages in ‘Ratten Row’.4

By August 1393 Swanton was already well placed enough to obtain a royal licence enabling him and others to grant property in Lynn to the Holy Trinity priory at Norwich, to pay for works of piety. Being a jurat and one of the potentiores, he was chosen as an elector of the parliamentary burgesses in 1388, 1390, 1391, 1393, 1394, 1425, 1426, 1430 and 1433. Furthermore, in the meantime, his name had appeared on the actual indentures returned to Chancery in 1413 and 1421. He had also taken part in the selection of the town officers in 1389, 1392, 1393 and 1413.5

Although he never attained the mayoralty, Swanton was evidently a man of some standing and not only in Lynn. From 1420 to 1424, for example, he acted as a feoffee of a messuage in St. George’s parish, Southwark, and of property in London, on behalf of John Lawney, a citizen and grocer. However, either Lawney or his wife was a native of Lynn, so this does not imply that he had regular dealings in the capital. Ten years later (1434) Swanton was named among the Norfolk gentry and notables required to take the general oath not to maintain malefactors who broke the peace. He died before Michaelmas that same year, at the age of 72.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Red Reg. King’s Lynn ed. Ingleby, f. 108d.
  • 2. Ibid. ff. 126, 133; CPR, 1401-5, p. 242; C219/11/1; E368/174 m. 181; Norf. RO, KL C/10/2 f. 75d.
  • 3. E122/181/39.
  • 4. Norf. Official Lists ed. Le Strange, 190; Red Reg. ff. 108d, 168d; CCR, 1392-6, p. 426; King’s Lynn Town Hall, Bc 3, Ea 42.
  • 5. C143/418/22; CPR, 1391-6, p. 146; Red Reg. ff. 116-17, 129d, 131, 133, 135, C219/11/1, 12/5; Lynn Town Hall, Ca 3; assembly bks. 1, ff. 40, 141, 266, 2, f. 36d.
  • 6. CCR, 1422-9, pp. 149, 185, 191; CPR, 1429-36, p. 405; Lynn Town Hall, assembly bk. 2, f. 47d.