TAVERNER, Roger (by 1523-78/82), of Upminster, Essex.

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 1523, yr. s. of John Taverner, and bro. of Richard and Robert. educ. ?Corpus, Camb. m. ?da. of one Hulcote, 3s.1

Offices Held

Dep. surveyor of woods, south of Trent, ct. augmentations by 1551-3, Exchequer 1553-73.2


According to a family tradition recorded by the antiquarian Anthony Wood, Roger Taverner followed his elder brother, the translator of the Bible, by going to Cambridge, but since Wood confused the careers of several members of the family in his sketch of Taverner this is untrustworthy. Taverner was certainly a lettered man: he was the author of a number of tracts which circulated privately on the problems of debasement and dearth, but his masterpiece was his ‘Arte of surveyinge’ (1565), which remained a standard text for a generation. He was concerned with land throughout his career: he assisted his brothers in the property market during the 1540s and 1550s and occasionally acted independently of them, but his predominant interest seems always to have been that of a surveyor. He deputized for Sir Francis Jobson as surveyor in the court of augmentations and later in the Exchequer, and after Jobson’s death he corresponded with Burghley on matters within his competence. Taverner may have owed his place in the second Marian Parliament to Jobson, who was concerned to defend his interest in the dismantled bishopric of Durham which the Queen wished to restore, but he also shared a disputed interest in the neighbourhood of Launceston with his brother Robert, who had sat for the town’s other constituency on an earlier occasion.3

Taverner made his will on 6 Jan. 1578 committing his soul to God and asking that his funeral should be conducted under ‘the rites according to the custom of the realm’. As he had already provided for his eldest son, for whom he had obtained the reversion of Jobson’s surveyorship, he left the residue of his estate to his two younger sons whom he appointed executors. On the following 18 Sept. he wrote to Burghley in answer to a query from the minister, but he was dead by 5 Feb. 1582, when his will was proved.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference, 1544. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiv), 499; Vis. Herts. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 95; PCC 10 Rowe.
  • 2. HMC Hatfield, ii. 203; CPR, 1569-72, p. 341; Lansd. 43(66), f. 154.
  • 3. Bodl. Wood F31, f. 38; DNB (Taverner, Richard); LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8 to 1555-7 passim; 1569-72, p. 341; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 308; Duchy Cornw. RO, 129/39, 43; 130/38; 131/38; E6.1/18v; HMC Hatfield, ii. 203; Lansd. 43(66), f. 154.
  • 4. PCC to Rowe.