CLERKSON, James (c.1515-85), of Hull, Yorks.

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



Family and Education

b. c.1515. m. Dorothy Hartcastle.

Offices Held

Alderman, Hull, sheriff 1555, mayor 1559, 1568, 1578.1


Clerkson was a merchant adventurer and member of the Eastland Company. During the reign of Henry VIII he was engaged in the export of iron and lead to Flanders and the North Dutch ports. He owned some property in Hull and, in partnership with John Thornton, leased the cloth hall in the high street. About 1579, when in London for an expected session of Parliament, Clerkson discussed with some York representatives means of preventing interlopers injuring their trade. On 13 Mar. 1576 he was appointed to a committee concerning wharves and quays. He was apparently too ill to attend the 1581 session of Parliament, and the corporation replaced him by John Fawether, who sat instead until, at the end of the session, the House had second thoughts and disallowed the substitution. Clerkson died 17 Nov. 1585. In his will, made 20 Jan. 1583 and proved 4 Mar. 1586, he expressed his ‘full assurance to be a partaker with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of the celestial joys of heaven, through Christ’s merits, passion and no other means whatsoever’. He bequeathed the remainder of the lease of his house to Michael Wharton, his cousin, and an old ryal to Sir Henry Gates. Bequests were made to the poor and towards repair of the highways. He was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Hull.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.


  • 1. Rylands Eng. ms 311; Tickell, Hist. Hull, 271; T. Gent, Hist. Hull (1735), pp. 120, 122.
  • 2. J. M. Lambert, Two Thousand Years of Gild Life, 393; M. Sellers, York Merchant Adventurers (Surtees Soc. cxxix), 135-6, 212-13; Bronnen tot de Geschiedenis van den Handel met Engeland, Schotland en Ierland, ed. Smit, 683-700; Hull Deeds, ed. Stanewell, 87, 91, 101-2; CJ, i. 114, 135; D’Ewes, 308; York wills, 23, f. 239.