DALMYNGTON, William, of Hythe, Kent.

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



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

m., at least 1s. 1da.

Offices Held

Chamberlain, Hythe 1542-3, jurat 1547 to at least 1592, mayor 1581; brodhull and guestling rep. at least 30 times between 1542 and 1587, speaker of the brodhull 1573, bailiff to Yarmouth 1552, 1573.


Though the surname appears in the Hythe records as early as Edward III’s reign, Dalmyngton’s immediate family has not been traced.

The length of his career at Hythe is remarkable. Though a gap of 33 years between his two Parliaments suggests that two men, perhaps father and son, were involved, this does not appear to have been the case. Scanty as the records are, Dalmyngton’s career can be traced almost year by year from the early 1540s until after the Armada, with no significant gaps. He did indeed have a son called William, but the younger man died about 1576 and, in his nuncupative will, proved in March of that year, left the bulk of his goods to his father. Thus, unless he had another son or relative called William—and there is nothing to suggest this—the father went to Parliament on both occasions. If this is so, his attendances at the brodhull or brotherhood meetings of the Cinque Ports extended over 45 years, throughout all the political and religious changes of four reigns, a record of attendances probably unique in the period.

In Hythe itself Dalmyngton’s active career covered an equally long period. Only one term as mayor has been traced, but the records before 1580 are very meagre. As a representative of Hythe, he met the lord warden on a number of occasions to discuss matters of common interest to the Ports. In the autumn of 1583, for example, he attended a meeting at Dover and a similar one in London, and in Armada year was busy helping to meet the demand for ships.

When he was chosen as one of Hythe’s Members of Parliament in 1586, he must have been well into his sixties. He was granted wages of 2s. a day, with travelling expenses of 9s. each way. While Parliament was still in being, however, the Hythe assembly agreed ‘by whole consent’ that Dalmyngton ‘shall have for his allowance ... of burgess-ship 3s. the day as well for his service late past as also for to come hereafter’. In 1587, as Member for Hythe, he was eligible to attend a committee on the import of fish (6 Mar.).

Dalmyngton was mentioned in Archbishop Parker’s visitation of Hythe in 1573. The supervisors of St. Bartholomew’s hospital and the almshouses of St. John at Hythe were not administering them according to their foundation requirements. As a ‘feoffer’ of St. John’s, Dalmyngton was accused of misappropriating funds and conveying land for his own uses. Furthermore, there were only two ‘feoffers’ instead of the statutory ‘six or eight’. Later, Dalmyngton attended a meeting at Ashford to investigate a dispute over some of the hospital’s lands. He was also involved in a quarrel with another townsman of Hythe; the case came before the Admiralty court of the Cinque Ports, but the details are now lost. One document at Hythe, dated 1583, records that he was given powers of attorney by the town for an unspecified purpose.

The date of Dalmyngton’s death has not been found. In June 1589 his name appears in the Privy Council register in an entry dealing with charges against the captain of Sandgate castle.

Canterbury prob. reg. C32, f. 237; Cinque Ports white and black bks. passim; Hythe assembly bks. passim; Arch. Cant. xxix. 293; D’Ewes, 412; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 489; APC, xvii. 247.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.E.M.