PORTER, William (by 1526-?93), of Grantham and Belton, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1526, 2nd s. of Augustine Porter of Belton by Ellen, da. of one Smith of Withcote, Leics. educ. G. Inn 1540. m. by 1569, Jane, da. of John Butler of Aston-le-Walls, Northants. by Margaret, da. of John Dudley of Aston-le-Walls, 8s. 2da. suc. bro. John 23 Oct. 1575.

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Cambs., Isle of Ely, Hunts., Lincs., Northants., Notts. 1555; alderman, Grantham 1559.1


Porter, who entered Gray’s Inn in the same year as William Cecil, was apparently a practicing lawyer. In 1555, when he voted against a government bill, he was described as ‘of Gray’s Inn’, and it was presumably in London that he met Sir Thomas Cawarden, owner of Bletchingley, who returned him for the borough in 1559. Both Porter and Cawarden were protestants, Porter being described as ‘earnest in religion and to be trusted’ in the bishops’ reports of 1564. In 1563 his fellow-Member for Helston was his relative by marriage John Dudley, who was himself a distant relative and servant of Sir Robert Dudley, created Earl of Leicester 1564. It may be noted that Sir Thomas Cawarden was associated with the Dudleys, being nominated by Jane Dudley, Duchess of Northumberland, as one of the overseers of her will in 1554. It looks as though Porter and Dudley had the same patron in 1563, Sir Robert Dudley.2

In Lincolnshire Porter was closely connected with the Thorold family. Porter’s mother made William Thorold and his son Anthony supervisors of her will, while Porter himself was allied with Anthony Thorold against the troublesome Lincolnshire landowner, Arthur Hall. Porter and Hall had originally been on good terms, and their hostility dates from 1574, when the Privy Council instructed Hall not to execute a statute staple against Porter until the Council had discussed the matter with him. Subsequently, affairs in Grantham were the cause of dispute.3

Porter is said to have been buried at Grantham on 7 Dec. 1592 but his inquisition post mortem gives the date of his death as January 1593. Letters of administration were granted by the consistory court of Lincoln in that year.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 791-2; Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 8; Bridges, Northants. 101; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 27; CPR, 1554-5, p. 109; Royal Charters of Grantham, ed. Martin, 90-1.
  • 2. Guildford Mus., Loseley mss 1331/2; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. ix(2), pp. 79, 80.
  • 3. H. G. Wright, Life and Works of Arthur Hall of Grantham, 94-6, 202.
  • 4. Lincs. Peds. 791-2; C142/236/106; Lincs. Admons. (Brit. Rec. Soc. Index Lib. lii), 110.