ABINGDON, Richard (by 1491-1545), of Bristol, Glos.

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 1491. m. by 1524, Isabel, at least 3s.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Bristol 1515-16, mayor 1525-6, 1536-7, constable of the staple 1526-7, 1543-4, alderman by 1538-d., auditor, chamberlain’s accts. 1540.2


A merchant whose goods were assessed at £180 for the subsidies of 1523 and 1524, Richard Abingdon was sometimes called grocer and sometimes haberdasher. In Bristol he owned a house on the High Street and leased a shop and cellar in the shambles and other properties from the corporation. He was a kinsman of the family of Abingdon in the Welsh marches, from several of whose members he must be distinguished, especially a namesake who was escheator for Herefordshire in 1526-7 and 1542-3. At the time of his death he owned property in four counties near Bristol and had a lease of the manor of Winterbourne, Gloucestershire.3

Abingdon was already in business by 1512, when he was sued for debt in the court of the Bristol staple: thereafter he played a prominent part in the town. His election to the Parliament of 1529 was an extension of his municipal career. It is likely that he was returned again to the Parliament of 1536; this would have accorded with the King’s request for the re-election of the previous Members. Fragments of an extensive official correspondence between Cromwell and Abingdon survive. In 1537 he asked Master Evans, visitor of the diocese of Worcester, to come to Bristol as soon as possible ‘for the due execution of justice to strengthen our authority’. In the pseudonymous attack on several Bristolians which followed a contentious theological lecture Abingdon was called ‘a lying knave’, but which side he had favoured is not clear.4

Abingdon made his will on 17 July 1545. He asked to be buried in the church of St. Mary Porte beside his pew door and instructed his wife, his sole executrix, to provide £6 13s.4d. for a priest to sing for his soul for one year after his death. He left 20s. for the prisoners in the Newgate of Bristol, in whom he had long shown an interest, to buy wood and straw. After providing for his wife and three sons, he ordained that his eldest son Thomas, aged 21, was to marry Mary Butler, probably a kinswoman of Robert Butler. Abingdon died two days later about four o’clock in the morning, during a great storm.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. PCC 5 Alen.
  • 2. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxvi. 108-32; LP Hen. VIII, iv, viii, xviii; Bristol AO, 04026/2/180.
  • 3. E179/113/192, 205; C142/73/76; PCC 5 Alen; Bristol AO, 04026/1/27 et passim.
  • 4. Staple Ct. Bks. (Bristol Rec. Soc. v), 142, 164, 166-7; Cal. Bristol Apprentice Bk. i (Bristol Rec. Soc. xiv), 24, 173; C1/509/37, 561/25, 751/1; St.Ch.2/19/106; Bristol AO, 04026/1/31; Elton, Policy and Police, 112-20; LP Hen. VIII, xii, xiv.
  • 5. Seyers, Mems. Bristol, 227-8; PCC 5 Alen; C142/73/76.