DIX, William (d.1596), of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London; later of Wickmere, Norf.

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

1st s. of John Dix of Wickmere by Margaret, da. of John Notts (or Nolte) of Norf. m. (1) Lucy, da. of John Smith of Blackmore, Essex, s.p.; (2) Denice or Dionise (d.1603), da. of John Nele of London, 1s. d.v.p.1

Offices Held

Auditor of lands formerly Wolsey’s and Queen Jane Seymour’s 1544, of ct. of gen. surveyors by 1545, of the prests by Sept. 1548, of government accounts in Ireland 1564-5, at various times auditor in the hanaper of Chancery, the hanaper of augmentations, of the butlerage of England, of the great wardrobe, of the admiralty; servant of Thomas, 4th Duke of Norfolk and Philip, Earl of Arundel from c.1565.2


Dix’s father, who may himself have been in the service of the Duke of Norfolk, lived at Wickmere, possibly as a tenant of Norfolk property there, but the manor did not come into the possession of the family until November 1551, when Dix bought it, together with the advowson of a Norfolk rectory, from Lord Clinton. Later he leased further land in Norfolk, including a manor house called Boyland Hall. His inquisition post mortem lists property also in Barningham, Calthorpe, Itteringham and other Norfolk parishes.3

It was probably on returning from Ireland in the autumn of 1565 that Dix left government service and entered that of the Duke of Norfolk, who nominated him for New Shoreham in 1571. After the Duke’s execution he did his best to keep the finances of the new head of the family, Philip, Earl of Surrey and (from 1580) Earl of Arundel, in some kind of order. He acted as feoffee for a large part of the Howard lands, the Duke having recommended him to his son as ‘one I wish you to repose mostly upon. He is best acquainted with the state of my reckoning’. Before his execution the Duke sent Dix a New Testament with a letter thanking him for his faithful service. Dix’s position as auditor and trustee involved him in several Star Chamber suits and at least one Admiralty case. In 1583 when Dix was one of two servants to whom Arundel gave a power of attorney, he was described as the Earl’s ‘principal officer, a man of good estate in Norfolk’. He tried consistently and unsuccessfully to keep down expenses, writing in September 1577 that the household books showed that the weekly charges for ‘my Lord’s lying there’ [?Audley End] had risen from £7 to £20, and that the late Duke’s debts could not be paid in full unless there were retrenchments. After Arundel was sent to the Tower in April 1585 Dix was for a short time also in custody, afterwards continuing to visit the Earl, sometimes in the presence of the lieutenant of the Tower, Sir Owen Hopton. Arundel’s will of 1588 shows the same confidence in Dix that his father had felt, and the inventory of Howard House, drawn up in the same year, bears Dix’s signature.4

Nothing has been ascertained about him after Arundel’s death in 1595, by which time he must have been an elderly man. He died in July of the following year. His will, made in June 1591, and proved 14 Feb. 1598, lists his lands and describes furniture and plate, down to ‘one silver cup white with one ear to drink medicines’. He was buried as he asked in the chancel of Wickmere parish church, ‘there to remain in hope of the resurrection ... with the elect of God to the fullness of all joy to continue for evermore’.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Vis. Norf. 1563 (Norf. and Norwich Arch. Soc.), ii. 256.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xix(1), p. 492; xx(2), p. 554; CPR, 1548-9, p. 67; CSP Ire. 1509-73, pp. 232-77; SP10/18, f. 69b.
  • 3. CPR, 1547-8, p. 201; 1550-3, pp. 68, 212; Cath. Rec. Soc. xxi. 6; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 690; Wards 7/28/152.
  • 4. N. J. Williams, Duke of Norfolk, 120, 248; HMC Hatfield, i. 516, 527, 549; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 439, 469; Lansd. 106, f. 152; 155, f. 97; St. Ch. 5/A13/26, G3/6; APC, x. 90, 102; Cath. Rec. Soc. xxi. 38-9, 131, 368; HMC Var. ii. 233-4, 241; HMC 8th Rep. pt. 3, p. 10a.
  • 5. PCC 17 Lewyn, 92 Drake; Wards 7/28/152.