TULL, John (by 1522-54/59), of London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1522, prob. yr. s. of Richard Tull of London. m. at least 1s.1

Offices Held


John Tull may have sprung from the Berkshire family which was later to produce the noted agriculturalist, but he lived and worked in London as did his father and his brother Richard, a clothworker. His father was probably the Richard Tull, draper, who in 1545 joined Nicholas Bacon in buying property at Kingswood, Wiltshire, and he himself became free of the Company by apprenticeship in 1543 and was probably the assistant present at Sir William Roche’s funeral in 1549. In 1553 he was a tenant of one John Lambert in the parish of St. Mary Bothaw, but six years earlier the court of aldermen had given him a ten-year lease of the city tenement long occupied by his father. This they had done on the recommendation of the Protector Somerset and the Earl of Warwick. What claim Tull, or his father, had to such powerful patronage has not transpired: neither is known to have held office or been connected with the court.2

Tull was a member of the ‘New Hanse’ of the Merchant Adventurers, that is, he had gained admission to the Company by paying the entrance fee of 10 marks prescribed by the Act of 1497 (12 Hen. VII, c.7). It was his championship of this group against the ‘Old Hanse’, those who had acquired membership by apprenticeship or patrimony, which landed him in trouble in the spring of 1553. Among the bills debated in the Parliament of March 1553 was one to put an end to the New Hanse by the repeal of the Act of 1497. This threat to their rights propelled Tull and others into a campaign which included petitioning Chancellor Goodrich. Whether the rejection of the bill on its third reading in the Commons owed anything to their opposition is not known, but they found further cause for complaint when two months later the government dragooned the Old Hanse into making it a loan repayable on unfavourable terms at Antwerp. On 30 May the Council reprimanded the New Hanse for its unruly behaviour and sent Tull and his associate John Dymoke to the Fleet until they should submit to the Company and earn its request for their discharge. How long they remained there is unknown, but they were probably released before or upon the accession of Mary six weeks later.3

It was doubtless with the object of continuing his campaign that Tull procured his election to the second and third of the new Queen’s Parliaments. At both Wootton Bassett and Old Sarum he must have enjoyed influential support, which may have come from a court figure like Sir William Paget or William Herbert I, Earl of Pembroke, or from someone reviving his earlier patronage by Somerset. What followed is recounted in a memorial, probably of 1566, advocating the repeal of the Act of 1497. This describes how Tull and his associates

did in the reign of Queen Mary exhibit another slanderous bill against the said defendants [the Company] in a Parliament then holden being in effect the substance of the former bill ... and the said defendants making answer thereunto in writing and presenting it to the said Parliament the same being there read and considered the said complainants’ bill was rejected and dashed.

According to the Journal the only bill on the subject introduced while Tull was a Member was the one read on 20 Nov. 1554 ‘for merchants of the Old Hanse and New Hanse to be one Company and to pay 15 marks at their admittance’. Although the Journal gives no hint of its fate, the disappearance of this bill after a single reading was tantamount to its rejection. If it was the bill introduced by Tull and his supporters, they were evidently prepared to see the entrance fee raised in the interest of securing equality between the New Hanse and the Old.4

Although Tull did not compromise himself by quitting this Parliament without leave, he was not to return to the Commons. He did not long survive to do so, for the only further reference found to him is in his brother Richard’s will of 30 June 1559, where he is described as deceased. The will also reveals that he had a son Francis. Since Tull could not have married before 1543, the Francis Tull whom he had addressed as his servant when sending a bill of exchange to Antwerp on 15 May 1553-two weeks before he was imprisoned-must have been an older member of the family.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Elizabeth McIntyre


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. London IPMs (Brit. Rec. Soc.), i. 207.
  • 2. CPR, 1569-72, p. 161; P. Boyd, Roll of Drapers’ Co., 187; A. H. Johnson, Company of Drapers, ii. 102, 187; London IPMs, i. 134; City of London RO, Guildhall, rep. 11, f. 362.
  • 3. LJ, i. 439-41; CJ, i. 25, 26, 40; G. Unwin, Studies in Econ. Hist. ed. Tawney, 147, 169-70; W. E. Lingelbach, Internal Organization of Merchant Adventurers, 16-18; APC, iv. 275; Harl. 597, f. 211.
  • 4. On the return of 20 Mar. 1554 for Wootton Bassett the name ‘John Tull of London merchant’ is inserted in a different hand, C219/22/102, 103. On the Crown Office list for the Parliament of November 1554 the name ‘John Tull’ was originally copied in error as ‘John Story’, Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs. Harl. 597, f. 213.
  • 5. London IPMs, i. 207. O. de Smedt, De Engelse Natie te Antwerpen, ii. 447 and n, 563.