DAUNTESEY (DAUNCE), William (by 1501-48), of London.

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 1501, 1st s. of Sir John Dauntesey of Thame, Oxon. and London by 1st w. Alice, da. of Thomas Latton of Upton, Berks. educ. ?Lincoln, Oxf. 1514. m. lic. 29 Sept. 1525, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Thomas More of London and Chelsea, Mdx., 5s. 2da. suc. fa. 7 Dec. 1545.1

Offices Held


William Dauntesey is to be distinguished from his contemporary namesake the mercer and alderman of London. It was doubtless through his father’s influence that as early as 1522 he obtained a 60-year lease of the manor of Whitchurch, Oxfordshire; five years later he received a lease of the lordship of Kennington, Surrey, and in 1528 he was given the next vacancy in the office of teller of the Exchequer, the post which had been his father’s point of entry into the royal service. In 1545 he was to succeed his father, briefly and in name only, in the court of general surveyors.2

Dauntesey’s parental advantage was strengthened by his marriage to Elizabeth More. It was his father-in-law who persuaded Wolsey to give Dauntesey the use of the cardinal’s house at Battersea in case of need: Wolsey’s complaint in June 1530 that Dauntesey was trying to put out of this house a servant who had been given express permission to remain there doubtless reflected the minister’s fall from power. Dauntesey is said to have jested to More that the chancellorship did not bring to More’s family and friends as much benefit as they had hoped. It was on the eve of this elevation that More had used his patronage as chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster to find Dauntesey and another of his sons-in-law, Giles Heron, seats in Parliament for Thetford, a duchy borough which is not known to have returned Members before 1529. The 3rd Duke of Norfolk, who provided a seat at Bramber for William Roper, yet another of More’s sons-in-law, may also have lent support, but it was More’s lead, not Norfolk’s or even his own father’s, that Dauntesey was to follow in the years ahead. Cromwell included him, with three others of the More circle, bracketed as ‘of Chelsea’, in a list drawn up in the spring of 1533 and thought to be of Members opposed to the bill in restraint of appeals. The ‘Mr. Dawnse’ who appears on a further list, which Cromwell wrote on the back of a letter of December 1534, was probably Dauntesey’s father, a knight of the shire for Oxfordshire.3

When More was executed in July 1535 Dauntesey was imprisoned, but like other members of the family he escaped with his life. It is not known whether he attended the final session of Parliament in the following spring or whether he was re-elected to its successor of June 1536 in accordance with the King’s general request for the return of the previous Members. He was not implicated in the trouble which cost Giles Heron his life in 1540, but three years later he was involved, with his brother-in-law John More and John Heywood, in the prebendaries’ plot against Cranmer. It was perhaps his father’s influence which secured him the pardon in which he was described as of Cassiobury, Hertfordshire, late of Canons Park, Middlesex, and London. Although he seems to have escaped further danger his deviant faith and conduct seem to have alienated his father, who omitted mention of him in the will of 24 Sept. 1545 by which he left his devisable lands and goods to an illegitimate son. Dauntesey’s inheritance was thereby limited to the house and lands of Mursley priory in Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, and he held them for only a short time, dying on 28 May 1548. His son and heir John was then 23 years of age.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m. C142/74/3. Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 161; Mar. Lic. London (Harl. Soc. xxv), 4; Ro. Ba., Life of More (EETS ccxxii), 130.
  • 2. Beaven, Aldermen of London, i. 156, 168; E. Kite, Mon. Brasses, Wilts, 56 and n; LP Hen. VIII, iv; W. C. Richardson, Tudor Chamber Admin. 366, 489; F. Carpinelli, ‘Thomas More and the Daunce Fam.’ Albion, x. Supp. 1978, pp. 1-10.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv; vii. 1522(ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v; ix. 1077; SP1/87, f. 106, 99, f. 234; Roper, Life of More (EETS cxcvii), 40.
  • 4. R. W. Chambers, More, 189; Roper, 116; LP Hen. VIII, xix; PCC 10 Alen; C142/74/3, 86/6.