HATCLIFFE, William (by 1474-1518/19), of London and Lewisham, Kent.

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 1474, ?s. of John Hatcliffe by Anne, da. of Richard Hansard. m. (1) at least 1s.; (2) Isabel, da. of John Harvey of Thurleigh, Beds., wid. of John Leigh (d.1503) of Addington, Surr. and of Roger Fitz (d.1504) of Southwark, Surr.2

Offices Held

Under treasurer [I] 26 Apr. 1495; clerk of the green cloth by 1498-d.; bailiff, manor of Lee, Kent 28 Apr. 1512, jt. (with Nicholas Leigh) receiver 22 Feb. 1516.3


Grimsby did not comply with the King’s request in 1515 by re-electing its two previous Members, the lawyer George Barnardiston and the townsman Robert Vicars, although both were still alive, but chose instead its mayor Philip Hamby and William Hatcliffe. Of these two Hatcliffe remitted his wages.4

The Hatcliffe family had long been settled at the village of that name near Grimsby and the Christian name William was much favoured in it after William Hatcliffe served as physician to Henry VI and Edward IV. Of the several William Hatcliffes traceable half-a-century later one lived at Grimsby and at Hatcliffe and another was clerk of the green cloth. Either could have been the Member for Grimsby but the circumstances point to the second. By 1515 William Hatcliffe of Grimsby was a member of the town council and before his death during 1530-1 he was to be twice mayor. If elected to Parliament in 1515 he would have yielded precedence to Hamby, but his remission of his wages would remain unexplained. On the other hand, the election of the royal official would not only be consonant with such an arrangement but would also account for Grimsby’s non-compliance with the general request for the return of both previous Members. It may thus be concluded that the second Grimsby seat went to the clerk of the green cloth in response to royal intervention similar to that practised there five years earlier.5

According to his statement made to Wolsey in 1513 this William Hatcliffe had followed his father and grandfather into the royal service, and his career can be traced from the closing years of the 15th century when he was made under treasurer of Ireland. As one of the chief financial officers in the Household and a leading organizer of the invasion of France in 1513 he enjoyed the close association with Wolsey which would have reinforced his local standing to ensure his acceptance by Grimsby two years later. His continuing favour with Wolsey is attested by his entertainment of Campeggio at Lewisham before the legate reached London in 1518. By his will made on 10 Nov. 1518 he asked for burial in the church of St. Mary at Hill in London and provided for his wife, brothers and other relatives, including his clerk Thomas Hatcliffe who succeeded him as clerk of the green cloth. The will was proved on 18 Mar. 1519 by his widow and Thomas Hatcliffe and two months later Isabel Hatcliffe was released of all the moneys, amounting to more than £25,000, that he had handled for the King at the time of the war. Isabel Hatcliffe married as her fourth husband the father of Sir Francis Fleming.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. M. Hofmann


  • 1. Great Grimsby AO, oldest ct. bk. f. 200v.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first references. The extant pedigrees are erroneous and contradictory, Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 472; Vis. Lincs. ed. Metcalfe, 39. L. L. Duncan, Lewisham Par. Church, 7; PCC 16 Ayloffe, 11 Pynnyng.
  • 3. LP Rich. III and Hen. VII, ii. 297-318, 375; CPR, 1494-1509, pp. 26, 159; LP Hen. VIII, i. ii.
  • 4. Great Grimsby AO, oldest ct. bk. f. 200v.
  • 5. J. L. Hotson, Mr. W.H. 115-16; C. H. Talbot and E. A. Hammond, Medical Practitioners in Med. Eng. 398-9; C. Ross, Edw. IV, 224 321; Great Grimsby AO, oldest ct. bk. ff. 1, 163v; Lincs. RO, Lincoln consist. ct. wills 1531; Gent. Mag. xcix(2), 409-10.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, i-iii, xxi; LP Rich. III and Hen. VII, ii. 297-318, 335-7, 375; CPR, 1494-1509, pp. 26, 27, 138, 159, 202, 598; W. C. Richardson, Tudor Chamber Admin. 147, 192n, 412; A. F. Pollard, Hen. VII, ii. 111-16; S. B. Chrimes, Hen. VII, 118, 264; C. G. Cruickshank, Army Royal, 16, 64; PCC 16 Ayloffe; R. C. Braddock, ‘R. household c.1540-60’ (Northwestern Univ. Illinois Ph.D. thesis, 1971), 135; Hotson, 115-16, 288.