TUSSER (TYSSARD), Clement (by 1520-61 or later), of Rivenhall, Essex.

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 1520, 1st s. of William Tusser of London and Rivenhall by 1st w. Dorothy, da. of Thomas Smith of Rivenhall; bro. of Andrew. educ. Strand Inn, adm. by 1541. m. Ursula Pittes of London, 2s. 1da. suc. fa. by 26 Mar. 1550.1

Offices Held

Coroner, Essex by Dec. 1557-61 or later.2


Clement Tusser’s brother Thomas claimed in his Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandry that he was ‘of lineage good, of gentle blood’, but the family does not seem to have been of much account in Essex until the 16th century. Its fortunes took an upward turn on the marriage of William Tusser with a sister of Clement Smith through whom the Tussers made connexion with the Seymours. Clement Tusser may have been intended to follow his father as an officer of the central administration. He received a legal education at one of the inns of chancery, but evidently neither his training nor his connexions led to employment in the capital, although they were to prove their worth in a series of disputes in which he and his father became involved: in 1541 John Gates tried to impose his rights at Rivenhall and in the trouble that followed Tusser was abducted by several of Gates’s men.3

The fall of the Protector, and the death not long afterwards of Clement Smith, probably ruined Tusser’s prospect of advancement while Edward VI remained King, but with the accession of Mary his Catholic background ceased to be a handicap. He was returned successively for two Cornish boroughs: on the first occasion he sat with his younger brother Andrew and took the senior place, but on the second when both were again elected, they sat for different boroughs and Tusser had to be content with the second seat. Although Tusser was a stranger to Cornwall, he had a cousin in the duchy who lived variously at Truro (not far from Mitchell) and St. Mabyn (not far from Camelford). Yet Tusser probably owed his nomination to an Essex neighbour, Sir Edward Waldegrave, who although he had relinquished the receiver-generalship of the duchy to John Cosworth, still wielded influence in Cornwall. Tusser did not sit again but he, or one of his brothers, may have been the ‘Tussard’ who had Thomas Mynd arrested during the Parliament of 1555 and was accordingly ordered by the House to pay the serjeant’s expenses and to withdraw the action. This breach of privilege, if committed by an ex-Member, would assuredly have told against his subsequent election, as doubtless did Tusser’s faith after the death of Mary.4

During the late 1550s Tusser was active in local affairs and it was ‘in consideration of his service’ that in the spring of 1558 he obtained the reversion of a lease at Tollesbury, Essex. He sued out a pardon at the accession of Elizabeth and two years later he received a confirmation of his family’s arms. The last certain trace found of him dates from the summer of 1561, when he was still active as coroner. He was not assessed towards the subsidy at Rivenhall in 1567, but seven years later his Cornish cousin left Tusser £20 under his will, and as he did not change this bequest before his own death in 1574, Tusser may have outlived him.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 117, 174; PCC 7 Coode.
  • 2. CPR, 1557-8, p. 324.
  • 3. Last Will of Thomas Tusser, ed. Clark, 11; DNB (Tusser, Thomas); Req.2/3/53; St. Ch.2/6/8-16.
  • 4. C219/23/30; CJ, i.44; F. Rose-Troup, Western Rebellion, 420-1; PCC 19 Langley.
  • 5. CPR, 1557-8, p. 296; 1558-60, p. 198; 1560-3, p. 202; Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 259; E179/110/419, m. 2v; PCC 19 Langley.