LINCH, Simon (by 1521-74), of Cranbrook, Sandwich and Staple, Kent.

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 1521, 1st s. of William Linch of Cranbrook. m. Joan, da. of one Courthope of Cranbrook, 4s. 5da.2

Offices Held

Customer, Sandwich 6 Dec. 1547-16 Feb. 1554, jurat 5 Dec. 1549-54, 1557-65, auditor 1549, 1552, 1558-9, mayor 1560-1, keeper of the chest 1560-1, of the orphans 1549-50, 1551-3, 1560-1; commr. sewers, Kent 1566, 1568.3


Simon Linch came of a family which had been settled in Cranbrook for over a century. He was still living there in 1542 when he was assessed to pay 5 marks towards the loan to the King, but he afterwards moved to Sandwich. It was at the request of Walter Hendley, a Cranbrook man who was attorney of the augmentations, that in November 1545 Linch was granted the reversion to the customership of Sandwich for which he had compounded with Thomas Rolfe: his appointment as collector of customs and subsidy there was made on 6 Dec. 1547 and two years later he was admitted to the liberties of Sandwich by redemption, paying 20s., and elected jurat. In July 1550 he was chosen bailiff to Yarmouth after John Lee III had been excused, but he too declined and was discharged on payment of a fine of 40s.4

In Linch’s public life the next ten years were a time of ups-and-downs. These began with the election to the Parliament of March 1553, at which he was passed over, the port managing on this occasion to sustain its choice of Members against the threats of the lord warden, Sir Thomas Cheyne. Eight months later he and Thomas Menys were the port’s choice for Mary’s first Parliament, and although Cheyne replaced Menys by Sir John Perrot his own election was allowed to stand. He was also appointed, with Menys and Nicholas Peake, to attend the coronation, where they bore a canopy over the Queen; this they afterwards sold, to the displeasure of the mayor, who expected its return. More serious in its consequence was Linch’s decision to oppose the initial legislation to restore Catholicism: in the Commons he joined Perrot, a Protestant, in standing ‘for the true religion’. The reaction was swift. Linch had already been designated mayor of Sandwich, but on 4 Dec., the day of the election, the port received a letter from a Privy Councillor— his name is not recorded—declaring that Linch’s election would be ‘contrary to good order and law’. The ostensible reason was that he could not combine the mayoralty of Sandwich with his customership there, but since this form of pluralism was permitted elsewhere there can be little doubt that the real objection to Linch was his religion. The other obstacle was in any case soon to be removed, for on 16 Feb. 1554 Linch gave up the customership. The sequel was unexpected. Having dropped Linch as mayor in December, in March Sandwich re-elected him to Parliament, and with Cheyne allowing both his and John Master’s names to go forward he returned to Westminster: how he conducted himself there is unknown.5

His omission from the list of jurats between 1554 and 1557 did not reflect any coolness between Linch and the corporation—in March 1555 the mayor acknowledged his offer to ‘travail with his friends’ in the matter of the harbour—but he had probably ceased to live in the town and when he was sworn in again in April 1558 he was exempted from holding office until December 1560. This did not prevent him from representing the port at the coronation and the installation of the new lord warden in 1559, as well as at the Brotherhood in Romney in that year and the next four; he was also appointed in April 1559 and again in 1561 one of the port’s suitors to the Council for the harbour. In December 1560 he became mayor, and his further services included responsibility for the erection and government of a free school, to which he contributed £20. He ceased to be a jurat after 1565 and in 1571 he surrendered his lease of vacant ground adjoining the town wall.6

It was as Simon Linch of Staple, gentleman, that he made his will on 26 Feb. 1574. His wife Joan was to have her ‘abiding’ in Staple, with food, heat and other necessities, or £10 a year in lieu of them. To his eldest son William he left the house called Groves in Staple, the lease of the manor of Downcourt and the residue of his goods; to his second son John houses, lands and tenements in Fordwich, Wickham, Woodnesborough and elsewhere in Kent; to his third son Thomas a messuage called Ridgeway and lands in the parish of Herne, and to the youngest son Simon houses, lands and tenements in Sandwich, and plate and other goods towards the furnishing of a home in London. Each of his daughters and daughters-in-law was to have 40s. to make them rings. Linch named his eldest son executor and his dear good friend Roger Manwood overseer. The will was proved on 20 Mar. 1574.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Sandwich little black bk. f. 35; Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 6; Berry, Kent Peds. 282.
  • 3. CPR, 1553, p. 314; 1569-72, pp. 217, 220; E122/131/7; Sandwich old red bk. passim; Sandwich little black bk. passim.
  • 4. W. Tarbutt, Dence’s School and Schoolmasters, 3; Arch. Cant. xi. 400; xxxvii. 23; LP Hen. VIII, xx; Sandwich old red bk. ff. 225v, 238.
  • 5. Sandwich little black bk. ff. 31, 35, 37v, 45v, 55v-56, 58; Bold. e Museo 17.
  • 6. Sandwich little black bk. ff. 64, 106v, 125v, 136, 140v, 144v-5, 185v, 193v, 226v-7, 232v; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 242-65 passim; Sandwich new red bk. f. 88v; CPR, 1560-3, p. 613.
  • 7. Canterbury prob. reg. C32, f. 59.