WILSON, William (d.1582), of Southwark, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

m. (2) Blith, s.p.

Offices Held

Warden, Clothworkers’ Co. 1560; gov. St. Olave’s g.s. 1571.


Wilson, of Southwark, was one of the four wardens of the London Clothworkers’ Company for the year in which the Queen confirmed its charter. He may have lived at one time in Wandsworth, where a William Wilson, perhaps his father, leased two mills in 1526. The receipts for rents of church lands in Wandsworth, which survive for the years 1546 to 1549, show small amounts paid by a man of this name. In 1569 a William Wilson was assessed there for armour, but was exempted as ‘gone out of the parish’.

Wilson’s property in Southwark included 12 houses and shops which he had built in Fowl Lane in St. Saviour’s parish, and a dwelling-house in ‘Long Southwark’. He also had leases of another house, with a wharf; of the Maze, formerly part of the abbot’s gardens; and of some meadow-land in ‘Peckham marsh’. As a churchwarden at St. Saviour’s, he helped to draw up inventories of the church goods in Southwark during Edward VI’s reign, returning himself as having bought £27 worth of vestments and altar hangings, some in red damask and others of blue velvet embroidered with flowers. He was one of the six men whom the vestry at St. Olave’s appointed in May 1579 to supervise the conveyance of land to the use of the foundation. He died during the first half of 1582: his will, made in March, was proved two months later. His widow was to receive £500 on his death, with a £30 annuity in lieu of her dower. There were £10 legacies to a number of young relatives, with a special grant of £4 a year to ‘Richard Wilson, scholar of St. John’s, Cambridge’. St. Olave’s school received an annuity of 40s. and St. Thomas’s hospital the sum of £4. There were also bequests of ‘northern dozens’ to make gowns for 68 poor people attending the funeral, with gifts of money to the poor in St. Olave’s parish, and £5 to the Clothworkers for a funeral feast. A codicil asked the executor, Richard Ward, a London vintner and Wilson’s nephew, to pay £190 towards the ‘orphanage money’ of the two children of ‘Thomas Duffilde, draper, deceased, my predecessor’.

There were no surviving children: the house property was to descend to Wilson’s nephew Garrett Ward, a fellow clothworker. Among minor legacies were ‘six angels to make him a ring’ to Thomas King, parson of Clapham, and rings and handkerchiefs of ‘blackwork edged with gold lace’ to other relatives and friends. Wilson asked to be buried in St. Olave’s parish church near his ‘late wife’.

PCC 20 Tirwhite; Charters and Letters Patent granted to the Clothworkers’ Co. 32; W. Rendle, Old Southwark and its People, 253; CPR, 1569-72, p. 298; LP Hen. VIII, iv(1), p. 1026; Surr. Rec. Soc. iii(2), p. 12; iii(10), pp. 12, 147; Surr. Arch. Colls. i. 168; iv. 81, 85-6.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge