COPLEDIKE, Sir John (1495-1557), of North Willingham and Harrington, Lincs.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. 3 May 1495, 1st s. of William Copledike of Harrington by Margaret, da. of Hamon Sutton of Burton by Lincoln. m. by 1527, Elizabeth, da. of Richard Littlebury of Stainsby, 5s. 6da. suc. fa. 4 July 1506. Kntd. Feb. 1534/Jan. 1535.1

Offices Held

J.p. Lincs. (Holland, Lindsey) 1531-d.; commr. musters (Lindsey) 1539, 1546, loan (Holland) 1546, relief (Holland, Lindsey) 1550; other commissions 1535-54; sheriff, Lincs. 1548-9.2


The John Copledike elected to the Parliament of November 1554 is more likely to have been the son of William Copledike, of the Harrington branch of this long-established Lincolnshire family, than William’s nephew of the same name who was settled at Horham in Suffolk. There is nothing which would identify him with the John Copledike who in 1514 was lieutenant to the lord warden of the Cinque Ports, Sir Edward Guildford.3

Under his father’s will John Copledike was to receive 6 marks a year until he reached 15 and then £10 a year until he came of age. No evidence has been found of his entry upon his lands, which included five manors besides Harrington, but they would have qualified him to be the subsidy commissioner of his name appointed after the Parliament of 1523. Eight years later he began the career on the bench which was to last until his death. His attendance at a sessions in September 1534 was to lead to a Star Chamber case. William Tyrwhitt was said to have brought an armed retinue into the chamber, where he accused Copledike of occupying his seat, and a fight was only prevented by Sir William Askew, who first offered Tyrwhitt his own place and then persuaded Copledike to give up his. At the time of the Lincolnshire rising in 1536 Copledike was one of the gentlemen sworn to the King’s service, and reports by men subsequently imprisoned in the Tower bear witness to his vigour in its suppression. In 1539, when a commissioner for musters, he was responsible for harness for himself and 12 servants, but he is not known to have served in the wars of the following years.4

So far as is known Copledike sat in only one Parliament, the third of Mary’s reign: he was then elected a knight of the shire, and as a man of nearly 60 and a knight of 20 years’ standing he took precedence over Philip Tyrwhitt. Copledike was related by marriage to the families of Tyrwhitt and St. Poll but is not known to have been closely attached to any notable in the shire. Unlike his fellow-Member Tyrwhitt he was not to withdraw from this Parliament before its dissolution, and his employment in September 1555 to investigate the flight overseas of the Duchess of Suffolk and her husband Richard Bertie implies that he was trusted by the government.5

Copledike died on 12 Dec. 1557 and was suceeded by his 30 year-old son John. By his will, made on 11 Dec. 1556 and proved on 31 Dec. 1557, he left to his sons Francis, Thomas and Humphrey certain annuities and 100 marks each, and like sums to three daughters. For some of these bequests revenues from his lands were assigned to his brothers-in-law Thomas Littlebury and Hamon Upton and his friend John Dyan.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Date of birth given at fa.’s i.p.m., CIPM Hen. VII, iii. 828. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. 1), 267-8 followed in preference to The Gen. iii. 369; Lincoln Rec. Soc. liv. p. lvii; CPR, 1548-9, p. 149; C142/112/96; LP Hen. VIII, vii, viii.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, iii, v, viii, xii-xvii, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 78, 85-86; 1553, pp. 355-6; 1553-4, pp. 21, 36; 1554-5, p. 106.
  • 3. Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 20; Copinger, Suff. Manors, iv. 47; Cinque Ports white bk. f. 135v.
  • 4. Lincoln Wills, i (Lincoln Rec. Soc. v), 20-21; St.Ch.2/2/103; 3/9/29; LP Hen. VIII, xi, xii, xiv.
  • 5. NRA 5789, p. 483.
  • 6. C142/112/96; Lincs. Wills 1500-1600, ed. Maddison, 49.