MEDE, William (by 1495-1543/48), of Rye, Suss.

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 1495, prob. s. of Robert Mede of Rye. m. Amy, wid. of one Petyt, 2s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Chamberlain, Rye 1516-17, jurat 1538, 1541-?d.3


The presumption that William Mede was the son of Robert Mede is strengthened by the resemblance between their careers: each became a jurat of Rye in middle life after having early served as the borough’s chamberlain and its representative at the Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports, and each sat in the next Parliament to be summoned, with, as his fellow-Member, the mayor who had chosen him as a jurat. In William Mede’s case the friendship with Thomas Birchet which this sequence implied seems to have had its religious side, for when in 1537 Mede had been accused of holding heretical views it was in company with Birchet and two other friends, Robert Wymond and Alexander Wells, whom he was afterwards to trust with the execution and supervision of his will.4

Mede was paid for all but six days of the first and second sessions of the Parliament of 1539, for the third he received only £7 4s. in money and 2s.8d. in planks instead of the £10 which was due; he thus appears to have been present for only 73 days or so out of the total of 104, against Birchett’s figure of 91 days. Mede’s acceptance of timber in part-payment, and the reference in his will to the ‘new housing the which I have now betaken out to be builded’, may imply that, like Birchet, he was in the building trade; the will also reveals that he owned four shops at the Strand and that he lived in Watchbell Street. In the will, made on 1 Oct. 1543, he asked to be buried in the churchyard at Rye, left to his wife Amy his movables, her dower of 40s. and the use of one of the new houses, and divided his other possessions between his sons John and Humphrey when they reached 21, his daughter Martha, his brother Robert and his apprentice John Gillam, with remainder in the property to his stepchildren John and Ellen Petyt and to John Gillam. The movables were valued at £87. The will bears no date of probate, and Mede’s death cannot be dated more precisely than within five years of its making, when the next surviving list of jurats, that of August 1548, omits his name.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Rye chamberlains’ accts. 4, ff. 356, 360v.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. E. Suss. RO, Lewes archdeaconry wills A., f. 44.
  • 3. Rye chamberlains’ accts. 4, 5 passim.
  • 4. Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 164, 166, 223; LP Hen. VIII, xi; Elton, Policy and Police, 20, 86-90.
  • 5. Rye chamberlains’ accts. 4, ff. 344v, 356, 360v, 376v; E. Suss. RO, Lewes archdeaconry wills A1, f. 44.