EYRE, Robert I (by 1523-58/59), of Great Yarmouth, Norf.

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



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1523. m. Catherine, at least 1s. 8da.1

Offices Held

Customer, Great Yarmouth by 1544-d., member of the Twenty-Four by 1549, subsidy collector 1550, senior bailiff 1554-5, j.p. 1555-6, 1557-8, auditor 1557-8; commr. goods of churches and fraternities 1553.2


Robert Eyre’s parentage has not been established, but the brother John whom he appointed supervisor of his will was probably the servant of (Sir) Nicholas Bacon who was receiver of suppressed and surrendered lands in Norfolk and Suffolk and amassed considerable monastic property. The relationship might help to explain Robert Eyre’s acquisition of the farm of Caldecote mentioned in his will, and of rents at Upton, some ten miles from Yarmouth, formerly in the hands of (Sir) Richard Southwell.3

Eyre was already customer of Yarmouth when Henry VIII led his last French campaign: in August 1544 both he and John Eyre were exempted from it by virtue of their duties. Five years later he began a municipal career which took him through most of the important offices at Yarmouth. The assembly book records a number of lawsuits which he conducted on behalf of the town and at least six journeys to London which he made in its service between 1550 and 1558. On one occasion he was promised, in addition to 6s.8d. a day for travelling expenses, £20 if he was successful in an admiralty suit, and £10 if he failed. In September 1551 he was excused attendance at all assembly meetings while he remained customer.4

Eyre’s return to the Parliaments of 1545 and 1547 is presumably to be explained by his customership, but by the autumn of 1553 he could add to it the qualification of his standing in the town. In Mary’s first Parliament, however, he may have compromised himself by being among those who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, for Protestantism, and despite his ascent of the municipal ladder he was not to be returned again while she was on the throne. It was while her last Parliament stood prorogued that in April 1558 he undertook a visit to London with instructions from the corporation to raise several matters with the Privy Council. As this is the last reference found to him he may have predeceased the Queen. He had made his will a year earlier and it was to be proved on 24 Apr. 1559. After asking to be buried in the chapel of the Twenty-Four in the church of St. Nicholas, Yarmouth, and leaving £5 for distribution at his funeral to the ‘very poor’, he provided for his children and his wife, whom he made residuary legatee and sole executrix.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. PCC 8 Chaynay.
  • 2. Gt. Yarmouth ass. bk. A, ff. 4, 121; Norf. Arch. xxvi. 252; CPR, 1550-3, p. 396; 1553, pp. 346, 416; 1555-7, pp. 215, 219-20; H. Swinden, Gt. Yarmouth, 940; information from P. Rutledge.
  • 3. PCC 8 Chaynay; A. H. Smith, County and Ct. 33, 66; LP Hen. VIII, xix, xxi; VCH Norf. ii. 426; Blomefield, Norf. vii. 397-8, 463; viii. 527, 529-30.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xix; Gt. Yarmouth ass. bk. A, ff. 4, 6, 24v, 100v, 104v, 128, 144, 164, 165v, 194v.
  • 5. Norf. Arch. xxix. 145-6; Bodl. e Museo 17; Gt. Yarmouth ass. bk. A, f. 194v; PCC 8 Chaynay.