LEE (A LEE), John III (by 1493-1557/58), of Sandwich, 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 1493. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Richard Botelar of Heronden, Kent; (2) Catherine, da. of one Wanton, wid. of Francis Iden of Sandwich; 3s.2

Offices Held

Auditor, Sandwich 1524-6, 1531-4, 1537, 1538, 1541, 1545, 1546, 1549, 1551, treasurer 1527-8, common councilman (St. Peter’s parish) 1527-39, jurat 1539-57, keeper of the common chest 1535-6, 1537-8, 1541-3, keeper of the orphans 1541-3, mayor 1542-3; bailiff to Yarmouth 1543-4, 1547-50.3


First mentioned in the Sandwich borough records in December 1514, when he leased the town’s crane for three years, John Lee appears in later entries as a tailor and a tallow-chandler. His early years were marred by misbehaviour. In 1518 he was banished for a year for assaulting two jurats, one of them John Westcliff, and in 1521 was taken into custody for striking a constable; in this year, too, he was in trouble for consorting with two loose women, one of whom, Margery Buckhurst, was to be banished in 1525 for rejoining him. Chosen—perhaps as a lesson—to serve in the French campaign of 1523, in the following year he began a municipal career which was to last until his death and to bring him every office in turn. First a candidate for the mayoralty in 1541 and elected the next year, he was eight times a candidate thereafter although not chosen again: after the election of 1541 he was granted and held for one year a lease of the bailiwick. Besides sitting in the Parliament of 1542, he was seven times a delegate to the Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports and once attended a Guestling; he was also chosen as one of Sandwich’s three barons at the coronation of Edward VI. Elected bailiff to Yarmouth for the last time in 1550 as the fittest person ‘by reason of his ancientness’, he then obtained his discharge for all time, remitting to the town £7 of the £17 long due to him ‘for parliament wages and other ways’.4

Lee made his will on 13 Oct. 1557. He left his ‘homestall’ to his wife Catherine for life, with remainder to his son John, who was also to have all his lands in St. Peter’s parish. His goods, including ‘all the whole stuff in the shop’ and 100 pieces of old gold, were to be divided equally between his wife and three sons, all of whom he named executors, overseers and administrators of his will. It was proved on 9 Feb. 1558.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Sandwich old red bk. f. 141v.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 83, 105; Canterbury prob. reg. A31, f. 4.
  • 3. Sandwich white bk., old red bk., little black bk. passim; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 237.
  • 4. Sandwich white bk. ff. 229, 259, 273-4, 282v, 288, 289, 320, 350; old red bk. ff. 112v, 140v, 185v, 192, 193, 203v-4, 238; little black bk. f. 51v; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. 220-40 passim.
  • 5. Canterbury prob. reg. A31, f. 4.