YATES, William (by 1505-58/59), of Lincoln.

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 1505, ?s. of John Yates of Lincoln. m. Elizabeth, 2s.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Lincoln 1526-7, alderman by 1539, mayor 1539-40, 1549-50, graceman, St. Mary’s guild by Nov. 1545.2


William Yates’s parentage has not been established, but he was probably a kinsman of the John Yates whose name occurs in assessments made at Lincoln early in the reign of Henry VIII. It was presumably at the beginning of his civic career that Yates was elected sheriff of Lincoln in 1526.

In December 1541 Yates served on the grand jury which presented Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham for misconduct with the Queen at Lincoln, and in the following year he was one of the aldermen who supplicated to the King against the heavy charges to the city of the fee-farm and of fifteenths and tenths. His prominence in the negotiations over the fee-farm may have contributed to Yates’s election to the Parliament of 1545; the city had certainly expected its Members in the previous Parliament to set forward this business. Another reason could have been the threat to the guilds. At the time of his election Yates may already have been serving as grace-man of St. Mary’s guild, and when the common council voted to use the guild plate to meet the expenses of the negotiations over the fee-farm Yates (although he was one of the persons to be paid) refused to yield up the plate until a brief detention in the guildhall and the threat of a fine led him to change his mind. When the plate was finally sold, he received £24 13s.4d. from the proceeds, one of several payments made to him in the 1540s for negotiations over the fee-farm. On 14 Nov. 1545, a week before the delayed opening of Parliament, he signed the final deed of surrender when the city took over all of the guild’s lands and properties in an attempt to avoid losses through its expected dissolution by statute. Yates was nominated for Parliament again in 1547, but in the face of three influential candidates he polled only four votes out of 84. That this was no measure of his standing in the city, however, was shown by his election as mayor for the second time in 1549.3

In 1545 Yates was listed as a tenant of John Bellow and John Broxholme at Austin Friars, just outside Newport Arch, but in his will, made on 20 Oct. 1558 and proved on 4 Mar. 1559, he asked to be buried in the parish of St. Swithin. At the time of his death both his children were still minors. One of his bequests was to cause trouble in the city in 1561 when the corporation had to sue his nephew and executor, Martin Mason, for £100 left as a fund to be loaned to Lincoln craftsmen.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. M. Hofmann


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Lincoln min. bk. 1511-42, ff. 13v-14; PCC 48 Welles.
  • 2. Associated Architectural Societies’ Reps. and Pprs. xxxix. 243, 245; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 39-40.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xvi; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 37, 39-41; J. W. F. Hill, Tudor and Stuart Lincoln, 53-56.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xx; PCC 48 Welles; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 52.