WRIGHT, George (by 1516-57), of London.
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Family and Education
b. by 1516. m. by 1543, Dorothy, 1s.1
Clerk in ct. augmentations by 1537, surveyor and receiver of purchased lands 1544-7, receiver for Beds., Berks., Bucks. and Oxon. 1547-54; commr. chantries, Beds. and Bucks. 1546, relief, Bucks. 1550; j.p. Bucks. 1554.2
Nothing is known for certain of the origins of George Wright. He was probably a kinsman of Edmund Wright of Burnt Bradfield, Suffolk, with whom he engaged in land transactions, but in View of his election for Bedford he may also have been the George Wright described by a plaintiff in the court of requests under Mary as a relative of William Wigge, a yeoman of Milton (possibly Milton Bryant), Bedfordshire. He is first mentioned in 1537 as being paid by the court of augmentations for engrossing documents, and it was as a ‘servant’ or clerk to the chancellor of the court, Sir Richard Rich, that he afterwards received many small sums. On 15 May 1544 he was promoted to the twin offices of surveyor and receiver of exchanged and purchased lands in succession to Geoffrey Chamber. This position, which exempted Wright from attending the King in France that year, he retained until the reorganization of 1547, when he secured a local receivership which he held until the court was abolished.3
Wright’s first recorded land transactions were made in 1541, when he was licensed to acquire property at Walsham, in Norfolk, and in 1543, when he added a sheepfold at Gaywood in the same county. More significant was his purchase two years later, with Edmund Wright, of Westerdale manor, Yorkshire, and other monastic property there and in Lincolnshire, for £478. In May 1547 the same pair, now both described as ‘gentlemen’, were allowed to sell a farm in Lincolnshire: this was the first of several moves by George to concentrate his property in the area of his receivership, while himself continuing to live in London at least until 1550, when Westerdale was sold. He is not known to have held any property in the town of Bedford, which provided his first parliamentary seat, but he was granted some former monastic lands around Leighton Buzzard, at a rent of £7 16s. a year, in April 1553.4
It was thus as an ‘outsider’ that he was returned in 1547. The fact that his fellow-Member was Gerard Harvey alias Smart, brother-in-law to Sir John Williams, Wright’s superior in the augmentations, suggests that he owed the seat to this connexion, perhaps with the local assistance of Sir Francis Bryan, recorder of Bedford. The connexion with Wallingford, Wright’s second seat, seems not dissimilar. In December 1549 he and one Eustace Moon paid £412 for properties which included tithes at South Moreton, Berkshire, the rectory of East Claydon, Buckinghamshire, and the lordship and manor of Wycombe; the last of these had belonged to the college of St. Nicholas, Wallingford, but as Wright sold it later in the same year no connexion with the town can have resulted. In its absence, a patron must again be presumed. Bryan, who had died in 1550, had been constable of Wallingford castle, and he and Thomas Parry, Wright’s fellow-Member in March 1553, had married the widows of the brothers Fortescue, while Williams, the sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire at the time of Wright’s second return in September 1553, was later to marry Sir Adrian Fortescue’s granddaughter.5
Wright seems to have been flexible in religion, which is consonant with his presence in the second Parliament of Edward VI and the first of Mary. In April 1553 the Privy Council ordered him and Ralph Lee to cross-examine the churchwardens and parishioners of Radnage, Buckinghamshire, over the words of a parson who had hopefully predicted that the old ceremonies would soon be restored; by contrast, in May 1554 Sir Henry Bedingfield reported to the Council on Wright’s interrogation of a suspect servant who had fled from Princess Elizabeth’s household at Woodstock. No will survives to throw light on Wright’s beliefs. He died on 1 Aug. 1557, leaving a 13 year-old son William and a widow Dorothy, who in the following year was granted a new lease of some property which her husband had rented at Old Windsor. The boy’s wardship, and a small annuity, were given in 1561 to his mother, who had remarried.6
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: T. F.T. Baker
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. CPR, 1557-8, p. 128; C142/111/4.
- 2. HMC 8th Rep. pt. 2 (1881), 23-24; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 53-54, 281, 493; E315/218/61, 126; Stowe 571, ff. 6-7v, 10v; LP Hen. VIII, xx; CPR, 1553, p. 351; 1553-4, p. 17.
- 3. Req.2/47/46; LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xviii-xx; Richardson, 53-54.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xviii, xx; CPR, 1547-8, p. 164; 1549-51, p. 321; 1553, p. 138.
- 5. CPR, 1549-51, pp. 68, 354.
- 6. APC, iv. 252, 254; Norf. Arch. iv. 162; C142/111/4; CPR, 1557-8, p. 128; 1560-3, p. 167.