MILL, William (1569-1629), of Greatham, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



24 Mar. 1624

Family and Education

b. 22 Sept. 1569,1 o.s. of Richard Mill of Greatham and Margaret, da. of Thomas Chaloner of Lindfield, Suss., wid. of William Courthope of Hartfield, Suss.2 m. (1) 1592, Bridget, da. of Thomas Eversfield of the Grove, Hollington, Suss., s.p.; (2) lic. 10 Jan. 1597, Margaret (bur. 14 Jan. 1626), da. and h. of one Rolleston of Lichfield, Staffs., 7s. 6da.3 suc. fa. 1576. d. 18 Sept. 1629.4 sig. William Milles

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Suss. 1617-at least 1625,5 j.p. 1620-c. Jan. 1626, by 19 Oct. 1626-d.,6 commr. subsidy 1624,7 pressing of seamen 1625, 1626;8 collector, billeting money, Arundel rape, Suss. 1626;9 commr. Forced Loan, Suss. 1627.10


Mill’s ancestors held land in Greatham, on the River Arun, about five miles from Arundel, in the fourteenth century.11 He himself inherited a moiety of the manor and other nearby lands; but he probably owed his rise to county status to his mother’s third marriage to Sir William Goring of Burton, a much more substantial Sussex figure than Mill’s father.12 No previous member of his family had sat in Parliament, although his cousin Sir John* had stood unsuccessfully at Lymington in 1621.

In 1624 Mill contested Arundel against the earl of Arundel’s candidate, Sir George Chaworth*. A formal poll showed a slight advantage to Mill, but the mayor kept the meeting open until more voters could be found for Chaworth, whom he then returned. Mill’s supporters petitioned the Commons to have the election overturned and the privileges committee found in their favour. Consequently on 24 Mar. the Commons ordered the mayor to make a new return electing Mill.13 Mill left no further mark on the records of the last Jacobean Parliament.

Early in 1625 Mill was marked as ill in the records of Sussex Lent assizes, when he was fined £20 for having committed a man to gaol without taking an examination.14 He was, nonetheless, re-elected to the first Caroline Parliament, and is known to have attended at Oxford, being one of nine Members granted ‘liberty to come into the House’ on 4 Aug. 1625. He played no other recorded part in the proceedings.15

Mill’s second wife died in January 1626 and Arundel’s steward, John Peers, hoped that this fact, together with his continued ill health, would deter Mill from seeking re-election, leaving space for Nicholas Jordan. On 16 Jan. Peers reported that although Mill had ‘complimentally said he would thank them to spare him, and that he desired it not’, he had also refused to inform the borough of his lack of interest and was ‘resolved to serve if he be chosen’. Peers therefore recruited Sir Thomas Bishopp*, an important Sussex magistrate, to persuade Mill not to stand. Bishopp, however, proved unsuccessful and, despite being removed from the commission of the peace at about the same time, Mill was re-elected.16 Mill left no record of his presence in the House.

Restored to the bench by the following October, Mill also acted as collector of billeting expenses in the rape of Arundel. There is no evidence that he sought re-election in 1628; instead he probably supported John Alford*, whom he appointed a trustee and executor of his will, which he drew up when he was ‘sick in body’ on 10 Sept. 1629. In this he asked to be buried in the family chapel in Pulborough, a nearby parish church, and named as a trustee and executor the rector, Laurence Pay, an ally of Richard Montagu, the anti-Calvinist bishop of Chichester. He also bequeathed 2s. to Chichester Cathedral. He had already settled the greater part of his estate on his eldest son, and provided for two married daughters, but he left portions totalling £2,900 to his ten remaining children.17 He died eight days later, the only member of his branch of the family to sit in Parliament. His eldest son compounded for his delinquency as a royalist at £216 in 1646.18

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Notes of Post Mortem Inquisitions taken in Suss. ed. E.W.T. Attree (Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv), 161.
  • 2. W. Berry, County Gens.: Peds. of the Fams. in the County of Suss. 90; Suss. Gens.: Ardingly Cent. comp. J. Comber, 78.
  • 3. Suss. Gens.: Horsham Cent. comp. J. Comber, 93; Cal. of Suss. Mar. Lics. ed. E.H.W. Dunkin (Suss. Rec. Soc. i), 26; Arundel, letters, Peers to Spiller, 16 Jan. 1626; Berry, 90.
  • 4. Notes of Post Mortem Inquisitions taken in Suss. 161-2.
  • 5. C181/2, f. 293; 181/3, f. 167.
  • 6. Cal. Assize Recs. Suss. Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 89; Arundel, Autograph Letters 1617-32, Peers to Spiller, 16 Jan. 1626; E163/18/12, f. 81v; ASSI 35/71/10.
  • 7. C212/22/23.
  • 8. APC, 1625-6, p. 180; 1626, p. 13.
  • 9. E.S. Cunliffe, ‘"Booke Concerning The Deputy Leiuetennantshipp"’, Suss. Arch. Colls. xl. 22.
  • 10. C193/12/2, f. 60.
  • 11. E. Turner, ‘Greatham House’ Suss. Arch. Colls. xvii. 110.
  • 12. Notes of Post Mortem Inquisitions taken in Suss. 161; Suss. Gens.: Ardingly Cent. 78.
  • 13. CJ, i. 748b.
  • 14. Cal. Assize Recs. Suss. Indictments, Jas. I, 144.
  • 15. Procs. 1625, 385.
  • 16. Peers to Spiller, 16 Jan. 1626.
  • 17. PROB 11/156, f. 328; Fletcher, 78.
  • 18. CCC, 1071.