MORRIS, Henry (by 1536-72/73), of Devizes, Wilts.

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 1536. m. Alice.1

Offices Held

Mayor, Devizes 1558-9, 1570.2


It is not certain whether Henry Morris, a clothier of Devizes, was a native of that town. Although a Richard Morris had been assessed for subsidy there in 1525, Henry Morris was assessed only in 1560 and 1571 (when his goods were valued at £10 and £20 respectively), and is first mentioned in the fragmentary borough records only in 1556-7; in one of those years an action for debt was heard before Henry and Robert Morris, Edward Heynes, Thomas Hull and other members of the mayor’s court, and in 1557 Henry Morris stood surety for a fellow-freeman, Thomas Alden, in another action for debt, and also contributed to a collection for charity. In 1560 he took a 60-year lease from the town of a house and garden.3

Morris’s return to the Commons with Thomas Hull meant that Devizes was represented there by two townsmen for the third successive time: however, for an unexplained reason their names, although entered on the original list of Members, are missing from a copy made during the Parliament. Morris was still a Member when leected mayor and later he was to claim £3 6s.2d. from the borough for expenses: these are more likely to have arisen from his mayoralty than from his attendance at Parliament, for which his wages at the standard rate of 2s. a day would have amounted to £6.4

Morris made his will on 10 Sept. 1572, asking to be buried in St. John’s church. He left to his wife and executrix Alice the lease of his dwelling house so long as she remained unmarried and resident in the town, together with a mill and a rent of £6 13s.4d. from lands in the nearby parish of Bromham, which he bequeathed to his cousin John Morris. Other items included a house in St. Mary’s parish left to Maud Aunwaye, £10 to another cousin and namesake, £5 each to that cousin’s two sons John and Henry the younger, 40s. to each of his three sisters, and a gown and doublet to Mr. Heynes, perhaps Edward Heynes. The will was proved on 23 Jan. 1573.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference, B. H. Cunnington. Annals Devizes, i(1), 16. PCC 2 Peter.
  • 2. Cunnington, i. p. xviii.
  • 3. E179/197/156, 198/275, 288; Cunnington, i(1), 16, 18, 21; Wilts, Arch. Mag. l. 488.
  • 4. C193/32/2; Wm. Salt Lib. SMS 264; Cunnington, i(1), 45.
  • 5. PCC 2 Peter; G. D. Ramsay, Wilts. Woollen Industry in 16th and 17th Cents. 27.