HAMMOND, William (by 1525-75), of Guildford, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1525, s. of William Hammond of Guildford by Joan. m. (1) Constance; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Henry Agmondesham of West Horsley, wid. of Richard Ive of Kentish Town, Mdx., d.s.p.1

Offices Held

?Constable, Guildford 1544, ?flesh and fish taster 1545, bailiff 1546-7, mayor 1550-1, 1558-9, 1564-5, 1571-2; ?clerk, Tower I mint Dec. 1553-72 or later.2


William Hammond’s father, a woollen draper of Guildford, had been a member of the close corporation since 1504, had served as mayor on four occasions and, according to the subsidy assessments of 1546 and 1549, was the wealthiest man in the town. It is likely that Hammond attended the free school in Guildford: his mother was to bequeath £20 to it in 1556 and he became much involved in its affairs in the course of his life.3

Hammond’s early career has to be disentangled from that of a third William Hammond, a Guildford baker. At a meeting of the guild merchant in 1532 ‘William Hammond junior’ was elected bailiff, an office which qualified the holder for entry to the ranks of the ‘brethren’ or ‘approved men’ who made up the close corporation. This William Hammond continues to be so described until at a meeting of the Three Week Court on 14 Jan. 1544 he appears as ‘junior, common baker’, whereas at a court leet held on the same day a ‘William Hammond junior’ was elected constable and at another held in the following year the same individual was elected a flesh and fish taster. Since both these offices were steppingstones to that of bailiff, which Hammond was to achieve in 1546, it seems to follow that he began his municipal career in 1544 and that the earlier references are to his namesake the baker.4

As an ‘approved man’ Hammond frequently presided over the meetings of the Three Week Court, the twice-yearly court leets and the annual guild merchant. From time to time he was himself involved in litigation, mainly in connexion with his dealings as a woollen draper. He had followed his father’s trade, and on the older man’s death about 1549 he probably inherited the family business. On 24 June 1549 he took charge of the alnage in Guildford, giving (Sir) Christopher More, who leased the alnage for Surrey, a bond of £100 ‘to keep the King’s majesty’s seal for sealing of all woollen cloths’. His election as mayor in 1550, after an unusually short interval since serving as bailiff, was a measure of his standing in the town.5

Even more so was Hammond’s election there to three of Mary’s Parliaments, for he is the only townsman known to have sat for the borough in the early 16th century. Locally he could doubtless look to the Mores of Loseley: it was with William More II that he alternated in the junior seat throughout the reign. Among greater figures who could have helped was Anthony Browne I, himself a former Member for Guildford; appointed keeper of Guildford park at the beginning of the reign and created Viscount Montagu in 1554, he was to take a considerable interest in Hammond’s educational charities. There is nothing to suggest that Hammond shared William More’s disposition to oppose the Marian regime’he was not among those who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, for Protestantism, in the first Parliament of the reign’and his disappearance from the Commons under Elizabeth suggests the contrary. He may, indeed, have been bound to Mary’s government by more than his religion: a William Hammond was a clerk of the Tower mint from December 1553 until 1572 or later, and the grant of arms which Hammond received on Aug. 1558 could have been a recognition of his services.6

Hammond owned several properties in Guildford and its neighbourhood: he was to bequeath to his wife his dwelling-house called ‘Leaden Porch’ and the churchwardens of Holy Trinity were to have his two houses in the parish. Like many of the townsmen Hammond had a small share in ‘the King’s rents’, the royal manor of Guildford. He inherited from his father the manor of Apps Court, Walton-on-Thames, and from his mother a manor at East Horsley and another at West Molesey. After 1549 he acquired the rectory of Cobham, which he was to sell in 1560, and he was to bequeath the advowson of Effingham and lands in Billingshurst, Sussex.7

From as early as 1548 Hammond was concerned with the free school. In 1571 he financed the building of lodgings for the under master and projected a gallery linking these with the upper master’s apartments which was unfinished at his death; his widow was to give 20s. towards an extension to the school. The plan which he and John Austin promoted for a college next to the school came to nothing. The will which Hammond made on 4 Mar. 1575 stipulated that the schoolmaster was to be appointed to the rectory of Stoke whenever a vacancy occurred there. The bulk of his estate Hammond left to his wife for life, with remainder to his stepdaughter, the wife of Laurence Stoughton. Other members of his family provided for included his sister who had married George Oglander of Nunwell, Isle of Wight. The poor people of Guildford and the surrounding parishes were to receive a total of £14 15s. and Balliol College, Oxford, £1,400 if John Apsley of Pulborough, Sussex, honoured an agreement of three years’ standing with Hammond. He named his wife sole executrix and John Browne of Kirdford, Surrey, and John Agmondesham overseers. Hammond died on 10 Apr. 1575 and was buried in Holy Trinity church, where a monument was erected to his memory.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. R. Johnson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first certain office. PCC 38 Welles, 19 Pyckering; Manning and Bray, Surr. iii. 29. The William Hammond admitted to Corpus Christi, Oxf. in 1532 at the age of 14 was almost certainly a namesake, Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 262.
  • 2. Guildford Recs. (Surr. Rec. Soc. xxiv), 53, 65; Guildford mus. BR/OC/1/5, f. 2; Manning and Bray, i. 38; Brit. Numismatic Jnl. xlv. 61.
  • 3. PCC 38 Welles; Add. 6167, f. 199; Surr. archdeaconry ct. 27 Tully; Guildford mus. BR/OC/1/5, ff. 150, 171.
  • 4. Guildford Recs. pp. xxii. 10, 27-34, 36-40, 43-46, 48, 49, 52, 53, 65; Guildford mus. BR/OC/1/5, 6 passim.
  • 5. Guildford Recs. 61-63, 102 et passim; Surr. Fines (Surr. Rec. Soc. xix), 603; Guildford mus. BR/OC/1/5, ff. 50, 67, 68, 85, 93, 97; 6, ff. 43, 114; Loseley 1542/1.
  • 6. HMC 7th Rep. 620, 663; Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 111.
  • 7. PCC 19 Pyckering; Guildford mus. BR/OC/1/5, ff. 61, 97; 6, ff. 27, 90; VCH Surr. iii. 326, 350, 472-3; Manning and Bray, ii. 736; iii. 31; CPR, 1554-5, p. 134.
  • 8. Guildford mus. BR/OC/1/5, ff. 64, 140, 148; Add. 6167, f. 218v; HMC 7th Rep. 619-65 passim; VCH Surr. ii. 168-9; Surr. Arch. Colls. x. 113-14; Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxiv. 82; PCC 19 Pyckering; Manning and Bray, iii. 29; Mill Stephenson, Mon Brasses, 488.