CARDINALL, William I (c.1510-68), of Great Bromley, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1510, 1st s. of William Cardinall of Wenham, Suff. educ. G. Inn 1533. m. (1) settlement 1535, Joan, da. of John Gurdon of Dedham, Essex and Assington, Suff., wid. of John Cole of Dedham, 1s. William Cardinall II 3da.; (2) by June 1556, Lettice, da. of William Knightley of Norwich, Norf., wid. of John Clipsby of Clippesby, Norf., 4 or 5s. 1da. suc. fa. 1551.

Offices Held

J.p. Essex 1547, rem. temp. Mary, rest. 1559, rem.

Nov. 1564; receiver-gen. to 16th Earl of Oxford by 1558; recorder, Colchester 1560-3.


Either this Member or his father bought the manor of Great Bromley, Essex, in 1542, and the younger William seems to have lived almost entirely in that county, where he owned land also in Coldhall, Elmstead, Ardleigh and Bradfield. Some of this property was only a few miles from Colchester. His connexion with the Earl of Oxford, his previous service in Parliament, and his office in the borough, made him an obvious choice as Member in the new reign.

Little is known of Cardinall’s private or domestic life. In 1536 or the following year, a lease of mills and pastureland at Dedham described him and his father-in-law John Gurdon as clothiers. It is clear that he was a protestant. He sat in only one Marian Parliament, and appeared before the Privy Council several times during Mary’s reign, once for non-payment of a £100 loan demanded from him by the Crown. On the accession of Elizabeth his name was restored to the commission of the peace, and in December 1558 and January 1559 he was employed in the examination of prisoners earlier committed to Colchester castle for religious reasons. The bishops’ letters of 1564 described him as a suitable justice, being a favourer of sound religion, but before the end of the year he was in disgrace following a quarrel with Thomas Seckford, master of requests. Details of the dispute are lacking, but it may have been over a conflict of interests in Dedham, where, in 1562, Seckford had received a crown grant of two manors. In November 1564 the Council asked the lord chief justice to allow Cardinall ‘to depart about his business into the country’ while an inquiry proceeded into the ‘slanderous words’ he was alleged to have used about Seckford. The investigators decided that he was at fault, and early in December the Council sent for him to explain his ‘unfitting words’, at the same time ordering that he should be struck off the commission of the peace.

He died intestate on 7 or 8 Aug. 1568, and was buried at South Benfleet, Essex. Letters of administration to his eldest son William were not issued until the following June.

Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 109; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 33, 172; Morant, Essex, i. 433, 441-2, 465; ii. 247; NRA 8606 (Gurdon pprs. 458, 3/1); Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 77; PCC 34 Bucke; CPR, 1547-8, p. 83; 1557-8, p. 1; Essex RO, D/DPr. 141-2; APC, v. 58; vi. 5; vii. 26, 44, 163, 172, 174-5; HMC Hatfield, i. 314; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 62; PCC admon. act bk. 1559-71, f. 148; Wards 7/11/112.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: N. M. Fuidge / Alan Davidson