HARYDANCE, Robert (by 1464-1514), of Norwich, Norf.

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 1464, s. of William Harydance by Agnes. educ. Camb. BA 1478, MA 1482, MB 1486-7, MD 1499-1500. m. Margaret, s.p.2

Offices Held

Common councilman, Norwich Mar. 1502-d., common speaker 1505-?d., auditor 1502, 1505, 1509, 1512; commr. subsidy 1512.3


Robert Harydance probably came from Fakenham in Norfolk where a family of his name was settled at the end of the 15th century: he was to remember the church there in his will and to endow a scholarship at Cambridge for a boy from the town. By 1496 he had settled in Norwich where he practiced medicine, but he did not become a freeman of the city until after he had taken his doctorate. In addition to his entry fine of 20s. in 1502 he paid £5 to avoid being made mayor, sheriff or constable, but he agreed to discharge other civic duties and was chosen a common councilman. A year later he seems to have been elected an alderman, yet his name appears on none of the subsequent lists of aldermen and from 1505 he acted as a spokesman for the common council in its dealings with the mayor and aldermen, a role rarely assigned to aldermen.4

The fact that Harydance made his will on the eve of the Parliament of 1510 suggests that he was one of its Members whose names are lost. Before his election to its successor in 1512 he appeared before the Council to answer allegations made against the city by the prior of Norwich and during the first session he and his fellow-Member John Clerke I informed the mayor of efforts by a monk to enlist aid for the prior in the matter. He presumably took an interest in the Act passed during this session (3 Hen. VIII, c.3), regulating the practice of medicine and surgery. In October 1513, during the second prorogation, he and Clerke were granted £10 between them, to be collected from debts due to the city. As a member of the Norwich mercers he may have been expected to promote the measure introduced in the third session to protect the city’s worsted industry, but it is doubtful whether he reappeared in the House as he died on 2 Feb. 1514, probably at Norwich where he was buried in St. William’s chapel in the church of St. Michael in Coslany. By his will, proved on 2 May following, he ordered the proceeds of the sale of his property at Fakenham and in the vicinity of Norwich to be used towards legacies to churches, relatives and servants, and for masses and charities. No trace of a by-election has been found.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; Norwich ass. procs. 2, f. 82; Recs. Norwich, ed. Hudson and Tingey, i. 316.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from education. C. H. Talbot and E. A. Hammond, Medical Practitioners in Med. Eng. 70, 423-4; Norwich consist. ct. 112 Coppinger.
  • 3. Norwich ass. procs. 2, passim; Statutes, iii. 81.
  • 4. Norwich consist. ct. 112 Coppinger; ass. procs. 2, ff. 40, 43, 52; CPR, 1494-1509, p. 69.
  • 5. Norwich consist. ct. 112 Coppinger; G. Clark, R. Coll. of Physicians, 54-56; Recs. Norwich, i. 316; Norwich ass. procs. 2, f. 82; Blomefield, Norf. iv. 497; Talbot and Hammond, 423-4.