KITCHEN, John (by 1507-62), of Hatfield, Herts. and Pilling, Lancs.

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 1507, s. of William Kitchen by da. of Richard Preston of Bailrigg Lancs. m. (1) Agnes, da. of William Clerke of Hatfield, 2s. 2da.; (2) Jane, illegit. da. of Sir John Towneley of Towneley, Lancs., wid. of Roger Dalton of Bispham, Lancs.1

Offices Held

Feodary, Herts. and Mdx. in 1534; receiver, abbeys of Cockersand and Whalley, Lancs. 1538, j.p. St. Alban’s liberty, Herts. 1540, Herts. 1543, Lancs. c.1545-d.; commr. chantries Cheshire and Lancs. 1546, 1548, subsidy, Lancs. 1549, relief, Herts., Lancs. 1550; other commissions, Lancs. and Westmld. 1548-51; surveyor, ct. augmentations, Lancs. by 1552-4, Exchequer 1554-d.2


John Kitchen’s family had formerly been tenants of the Premonstratensian abbey of Cockersand and were probably yeomen. His first marriage brought him an interest in Hertfordshire but, despite his offices in that county, he remained attached to Lancashire and in particular to Cockersand. In 1528 he was described as proficuus et perutilis consolator to Cockersand, and ten years later, when Cockersand, in anticipation of suppression, granted out two thirds of its estates on favourable leases, he received a 99-year lease of the manors of Cunscough and Forton. In the same year he shared with Sir William Paulet a grant of the next presentation to Cockersand’s impropriated benefice of Garstang, and when the benefice fell vacant in 1545 he presented Richard Preston, an ex-canon of Cockersand and perhaps his kinsman. In March 1538 Kitchen was appointed receiver of the lands of Whalley abbey, Lancashire, now in the King’s hands, with fees of £10 a year and 20s. on every £100 he paid in; this office he later surrendered in return for an annuity of 20 marks. When Cockersand was dissolved by officials of the court of augmentations, Kitchen assisted them and was made receiver there also, after having apparently held a similar office under the canons. Whalley passed into the custody of the court of general surveyors and some years later Kitchen’s name appeared on a list of officials of that court. In March 1543 he received a 21-year lease of former Whalley properties in Cheshire and Lancashire at a rent of £50 13s.5d., and in the following September he purchased for £798 the site and demesne lands of Cockersand, including a grange of 1,000 acres called Pilling.3

In addition to these monastic windfalls, Kitchen secured in or about 1535 a lease of the rectory of Wigan from its rector Richard Kighley at a rent of £106. When the lease expired after five years, he refused to surrender the property and eventually, on 11 Feb. 1542, he obtained a new lease for 30 years. He had also purchased the next presentation to Wigan from Sir Thomas Langton, but resold it to two Londoners, Sir Richard Gresham and Thomas White. Kitchen and Langton were among those accused of creating a disturbance at the mayoral election of 1539 in Wigan and in 1542 Kitchen granted his interest there to Langton, William Gerard II, and Thomas Gerard for 200 marks.4

Described by Richard Kighley as ‘a shrewd and wily lawyer, who made a good living out of church property’, Kitchen was named to the Lancashire bench from the mid 1540s until his death in 1562, and his return twice for the shire was consonant with his local career and advancement. Nothing is known of his part in the work of the House. No will or inquisition post mortem has been found but in May 1578 his daughter Anne Dalton lodged a bill of complaint in the duchy court in which she stated that her father had died 16 years before.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. J. B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 385. Watson identifies Jane Kitchen’s father as Sir John Towneley, but according to Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxviii), 305-6 she was the daughter of Richard Towneley and granddaughter of Sir John.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, vii, xiii, xv, xx, xxi, add.; CPR, 1548-9, p. 135; 1550-3, p. 113; 1553, pp. 354, 360, 410; 1563-6, p. 319; Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. xl. 42, 47, 108, 156; Stowe 571, f. 12.
  • 3. Chetham Soc. (ser. 3), xvii. 108-10, 121, 130; R. J. Mason, ‘The income, administration and disposal of monastic lands in Lancashire from the Dissolution to c.1558’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1962), 88-89; LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xviii-xx; CPR, 1548-9, p. 63.
  • 4. Chetham Soc. n.s. xv. 100 seq.
  • 5. Ibid. cv. 244; n.s. xv. 102; Watson, 93, 99, 116-17, 123, 386, 538; Cath. Rec. Soc. iv. 169-70; Mason, 130; Ducatus Lanc. ii. 244, 256; iii. 64, 111, 220, 228; VCH Lancs. vii. 333.