TUDOLL (TUDBOLD), John (by 1485-1548), of Lyme Regis, Dorset.

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 1485, ?s. of John Tudoll of Lyme Regis. m. Alice, 1da.2

Offices Held

Among ‘the twelve for the King’, Lyme Regis 1506, 1508, affeeror 1506, 1508, mayor 1531-2, 1539-40, 1543-4.3


The John Tudoll who was granted a burgage tenement and admitted a freeman of Lyme in October 1506 is to be distinguished from a namesake who was bailiff in 1499 and one of ‘the twelve for the King’ in 1504, and who is likely to have been his father. The admission of the younger John Tudoll’s brother William to the freedom in May 1508 strengthens the view that these years saw the advent of a new generation of the family in the affairs of the town. A partial gap in the municipal records between 1508 and 1560 makes it difficult to trace the career of either brother but both were to prosper in trade and to serve the town as mayor. Although we need not take too literally his fellow-townsman Thomas Batyn’s description of John Tudoll in a chancery bill as ‘a man of great might and power’, he was clearly a man of local importance and one who was involved in recurrent litigation.4

It is probable, but not certain, that John Tudoll sat in the Parliament of 1529 as one of the Members for Lyme Regis. If he did so, it was presumably as a replacement for John Pyne, one of the two men returned for the town in 1529. Pyne was dead by the summer of 1532 and the vacancy was probably filled, as seems to have been the general practice, in time for the opening of the fifth session on 4 Feb. 1533. It is included in the list of vacant seats drawn up by or for Cromwell in this connexion, with the name of William Symonds as that of the suggested new Member. Symonds is probably to be identified with a minor household official and customs administrator whose father was John Simon of Exeter, but there is no evidence that he was by-elected for Lyme. On the other hand, certain facts point towards Tudoll as Pyne’s successor. In a letter to Cromwell which, although undated, may be ascribed to 1533, he wrote that he had been in London ‘since the beginning of the Parliament’ (by which he probably meant the opening of the fifth session) without having received any payment from the town: he also made flattering reference, in terms which suggest that he had himself heard them, to Cromwell’s ‘many good words in the parliament house for the commonwealth of all the whole realm’. Lastly, the debt of £59 8s.3d. to Tudoll (of which £11 18s.3d. was outstanding) which the town acknowledged in October 1536 may well have included a payment towards his parliamentary expenses since 1533.5

Suggestive as these items are, they fall short of proof, especially when certain others are brought into the reckoning. Chief among these is the document recording that, on 15 Apr. 1532, Tudoll was ‘elected and chosen’ by the inhabitants of Lyme to plead on their behalf to the King and Council for the town’s necessities, and that they undertook to repay whatever sums he should disburse in ‘promises or gifts of payment’ in his mission even if it were to prove unsuccessful. Why the town should have taken this step is not clear: its timing implies that it was connected with the new parliamentary session which had begun on 10 Apr.: with Pyne already dead and Thomas Burgh as its sole Member, Lyme perhaps judged it necessary to appoint Tudoll, then mayor, as a special attorney. The only glimpse of his discharge of his mission is contained in the letter to Cromwell already cited, the purpose of which was to secure the minister’s support, although he may also have been instrumental in winning the goodwill of Thomas Arundell, an ex-sheriff of Somerset and Dorset, who also addressed Cromwell on the town’s behalf. The campaign was to be a long drawn-out one, but it was so far successful that on 15 Jan. 1535 a patent granted Lyme Regis an annual payment of £20 for ten years. The town’s indebtedness to Tudoll for his services was acknowledged in October 1536 by its gift to him of 13s.4d. a year during the term of the royal grant and of a further 6s.8d. a year for life.6

It thus appears that when, between the fourth and fifth sessions, the vacancy came to be filled, Tudoll was already prosecuting the town’s suit. In the circumstances, he would have been the obvious person to elect, and the tone of his letter to Cromwell is consistent with his having sat as Lyme’s second Member from February 1533. In that event he is likely to have been returned again to the Parliament of 1536. There remains, however, the possibility that it was in a non-parliamentary capacity that Tudoll conducted his mission, and that the second seat was filled by another, perhaps Cromwell’s protégé; William Symonds.

With two further terms as mayor ahead of him, Tudoll was to remain a leading local figure until his death in 1548. On 9 Oct. of that year he both made his will and died. He left two houses, one leased from Lord Cobham, as almshouses, and the rest of his property in Lyme to John Hassard and Agnes his wife, with remainder to Tudoll’s daughter Thomasin, except for some which was to pass to Tudoll’s brother William. Thomasin was also to have another house, then in the holding of John Mallock. She was at that time married to William Beaumont and was already the widow of John Strowbridge and mother of another John Strowbridge. She later married William Pole, whose second wife was Catherine, sister of John Popham; both Pole and Popham were to serve the borough in later Parliaments. Tudoll’s brother William made his will three years later, and asked to be buried in the parish church ‘as nigh unto my brother John Tudbold as convenient’.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. T. Bindoff


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; LP Hen. VIII, add. i. 911 citing SP1/238, pt. 3, f. 233.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. C1/696/9; Lyme Regis recs. N23/2, no. 6.
  • 3. Lyme Regis recs. B1/2 passim; D3/1, ff. 11-11v; G1/2, no. 1; N23/2, no. 13; C1/696/9, 858/19.
  • 4. Lyme Regis recs. B1/2 passim; D3/1, f. 12; C1/696/9, 711/53-54; St.Ch.2/30/125.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, vii. 56 citing SP1/82, ff. 59-62; add. i. 911; Lyme Regis recs. D3/1, f. 2v.
  • 6. Lyme Regis recs. D3/1, ff. 3, 5; LP Hen. VIII, vi, viii; add. i. 911.
  • 7. Lyme Regis recs. N23/2, no. 16; PCC 6 Tashe.