LEWIS, David (by 1520-84), of London and Abergavenny, Mon.

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



Oct. 1553
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1520, 1st s. of Lewis Wallis, vicar of Abergavenny by Lucy, da. of Llewelyn Thomas Lloyd of Bedwellty, Mon. educ. Oxf. BCL 12 July 1540, fellow All Souls 1541, DCL 1548; adv. Doctors’ Commons 8 Aug. 1548. unm.1

Offices Held

Principal, New Inn Hall, Oxf. 27 Jan. 1546-27 Aug. 1548, Jesus Coll. 27 June 1571-2; master in Chancery by 1553, of requests temp. Eliz.; judge, ct. Admiralty by Dec. 1558, jt. (with John Herbert) from 1575-d.; keeper of spiritualities, Llandaff diocese sede vacante Nov. 1563; master of St. Katharine’s hospital by the Tower 1581- d.; j.p. Mon. 1555, q. 1558/59-d., j.p. Glam. 1561, q. 1564-79; commr. loan, Mon. 1557, visit Oxf. univ. 1577; eccles. commr. by 1566; other commissions from 1564.2


A notary public by 1541 and scribe of the university of Oxford in May 1546, David Lewis served a term as principal of New Inn Hall before being admitted to Doctors’ Commons, a route also followed by his immediate successors in the office, John Gibbon and William Aubrey II. Within five years more he had achieved a mastership in Chancery, and it was probably as a servant of the crown that he was returned to the first and third of Mary’s Parliaments. At Steyning his fellow John Southcote II was a nephew of the Oxford civilian Sir John Tregonwell, and in his native shire he was shortly to purchase lands in Abergavenny from one of his immediate precursors, James Gunter, whose cousin Richard Gunter of Oxford was an associate of Tregonwell and a friend, if not a kinsman, of William Aubrey II. Lewis was presumably the ‘Mr. Lewes’ who on 27 Oct. 1553 was appointed with two other civilians, Sir John Price and Tregonwell, to examine the validity of John Foster II’s return and who two years later, with another master in Chancery Thomas Martin, brought a message from the Lords for a conference on the case of Gabriel Pleydell.3

Lewis was appointed judge of the admiralty court on the death of William Cooke and he held the office until his own death at Doctors’ Commons on 27 Apr. 1584. He had made his will exactly a month earlier, asking to be buried in the parish church at Abergavenny, ‘where I was wont to kneel’, in a tomb he had prepared: the north aisle of the church became known as the Lewis chapel and the tomb inspired verses by Lewis’s friend Thomas Churchyard. He left property there to his sister Maud, whose husband William Baker was then recorder of Abergavenny and whose son David (Lewis’s godson) was to become one of the most distinguished of English Benedictine monks. His nephew William Pritchard, on the other hand, to whom he bequeathed all his books of divinity, philosophy, history and art, became a canon of St. Paul’s. Two civilians, his friend Henry Jones II and his protégé Julius Caesar, received rings. The executors included his brother William Lewis and his brother-in-law Baker and the overseers were William Aubrey II and John Herbert, to whom he bequeathed his lawbooks and who was both his colleague in the admiralty court and his nephew by marriage.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from appearance as notary public. Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 354; G. D. Squibb, Doctor’s Commons, 150; DNB.
  • 2. Select Pleas in Ct. Admiralty, ii (Selden Soc. xi), pp. xi. seq.; Select Cases in Ct. Requests (ibid. xii), pp. cvii, cxx; APC, vii. 23; SP11/5, f. 32v, 11, f. 120v; 12/2, f. 49; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 246, 343, 543; CPR, 1563-6, pp. 28, 29, 126; 1569-72, pp. 353-4, 440-2; Strype, Parker, i. 443.
  • 3. CPR, 1554-5, p. 134; 1563-6, p. 518; 1566-9, p. 55; CJ, i. 29, 46.
  • 4. W. J. Jones, Eliz. Ct. Chancery, 379n, 381; PCC 10 Watson; DNB (Baker, David); Cath. Rec. Soc. xxxiii. 14; Al. Ox. 1211; B. P. Levack, Civil Lawyers in Eng. 1603-41, pp. 20n, 28.