OVER, alias WAVER, Henry (by 1509-67), of Coventry, Warws.

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 1509. m. by 1530, Catherine, 1s. 2da.2

Offices Held

Warden, Coventry 1533-4, sheriff 1537-8, mayor 1544-5, alderman by 1557; subsidy collector 1545.3


The damaged election indenture of 1542 for Coventry no longer furnishes more than the christian name ‘Henricus’ of the second Member, but the entries for his wages in the mayor’s accounts serve to identify him as Henry Over alias Waver: he was paid in full for the first session and for all but five days of the second but seemingly for only 21 days of the last. Of unknown origin, but presumably sprung from the Coventry family of Over, itself perhaps connected with the Warwickshire gentle family of Waver, Over was a grocer or mercer. He does not appear in the subsidy list of 1525 but by 1530 he was married and three years later he received his first civic office. During his year as sheriff the monastic visitor John London came to Coventry and found him a ‘lively politic man’. It may have been London’s recommendation to Cromwell of some reward for Over which led to his receipt shortly afterwards of a lease of monastic property; he took another such lease in 1540.4

Over’s Membership of the Parliament of 1542 has left no trace, but three days after the close of the first session he completed a purchase of monastic lands on behalf of the corporation. The greater part of the money involved came from Sir Thomas White, the wealthy London alderman, who intended to devote the income to charity. The transaction was the first of a series between White, Over and Christopher Warren for the benefit of Coventry. During the next 18 years Over and Warren borrowed further sums from White or at his direction for various civic purposes and negotiated agreements with him for the use of the capital and income; there also survive the accounts of these operations which they submitted to the mayor’s council. Over added to these commitments a variety of official tasks, including numerous missions to the court, the Council and, down to 1553, John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland. In view of the city’s practice of re-electing Over might have been expected to sit again, unless it was that he could not be spared from his many duties.5

Over’s private affairs probably gained rather than suffered from his public concerns, especially his raising and making of loans and his dealings in property. In 1551 the subsidy commissioners gave him the second highest assessment in the city, and at his death he owned considerable property, chiefly ex-monastic, within it and in such neighbouring places as Bedworth, Corley, Coundon and Fletchamstead. By his will, made on 24 June 1567, two days before he died, and proved on 24 Nov. following, he left much of his property in the city to the mayor and council for 12 years or until it should have yielded £500; of this sum £400 was to be used for loans to individuals and the remainder to be added to the town’s poor chest. The property was afterwards to pass in specified parcels to a long list of named relatives, including his daughters’ children. The residuary legatee and executor was Over’s son Richard. His daughter Bridget had married John Nethermill.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Only the christian name survives on a damaged indenture, C219/18B/103; surname supplied from Coventry mayors’ accts. 1542-61, pp. 12, 17, 21.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from marriage. C142/145/4, 147/210; PCC 32 Stonard.
  • 3. Coventry Leet Bk. (EETS cxxxiv), ii. 714, 727, 769; E179/192/170.
  • 4. Coventry Recs. ed. Jeaffreson, B.65; LP Hen. VIII, xiii-xv; Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Gregory Hood collection 156.
  • 5. E318/321, C1a; Coventry mayors’ accts. 1542-61, pp. 3-510 passim; treasurers’ payments, p. 6; chamberlains’ accts. 1, p. 232; council bk. 1, pp. 1-17, 43; St. John’s Coll. Oxford muniments xix 3, 4; C1/1150/6-11; St.Ch.4/3/48; CPR, 1550-3, p. 423.
  • 6. E179/193/188; C1/1138/105-6, 1160/50-1; 142/145/4, 147/210; Coventry statute merchant rolls, 33-35, 38, 39, 53; NRA 5613, pp. 23, 29; LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 54; 1549-51, p. 60; 1550-3, p. 430; 1553; p. 113; 1558-60, pp. 73, 89; VCH Warws. iv. 60; vi. 36, 52, 56, 89; viii. 85; PCC 32 Stonard.