PINCHON, John (aft.1510-73), of Writtle, Essex.

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. aft. 1510,1 4th s. of Nicholas Pinchon of Writtle and London, by his 2nd w. Agnes. educ. New Coll. Oxf. m. Jane, da. of Sir Richard Empson, 4s. 2da.2

Offices Held

J.p.q. Essex from c.1569.


The John Pinchon resident in Writtle in 1571 is the only man identified who is likely to have been MP for Dover in 1571, but no connexion between him and the constituency has been traced. There is no corroboration for the statement3 that a John Pinchnee (sic) was an official of Dover castle, but the inference must be that it was the warden of the Cinque Ports who nominated Pinchon at the request of someone at court. Who this might have been is another problem. Sir William Petre owned the manor of Writtle but was surely too old and sick to concern himself with the matter. Either Sir Thomas Smith or Lord Burghley might have been behind it, Burghley being the better guess because of his connexion with the Exchequer, on the staff of which were at least three members of the Essex family of Osborne, to whom Pinchon was related by marriage.

Though the Pinchon family had been settled at Writtle since 1328, Pinchon’s father was a London butcher, sheriff of the city shortly before his death in 1533. He bequeathed his property in London and Writtle to his wife, and left 50 marks for each of his four sons, who were still all under age when the will was made in February 1529. How John, the youngest of them (judging from the order in the will), came to own the entire Essex property by the time of his death in 1573 is unknown. As early as 1553 ‘John Pinchon, gentleman’ is to be found, on the pardon roll, in possession of the family mansion at Writtle. Perhaps Nicholas’s other sons, if they were still alive, continued to live in London, though no trace of them has been found.4

Pinchon was not put on the commission of the peace until shortly before his death. His name is on the lists of justices for the assizes held on 8 Mar. and 12 July 1571, but there is no indication that he attended or was excused. He certainly attended quarter sessions on 10 Jan. 1572. Some of his land purchases were made very late in life, as he reveals in his will, and these may have increased his social standing sufficiently to ensure his appointment. There are almost no references to him in the State Papers or Acts of the Privy Council, apart from his signature on a certificate of August 1571 recording the punishment of rogues and vagabonds in the hundred of Chelmsford. He married the youngest daughter of Sir Richard Empson, formerly chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, who was executed in 1510.5

Pinchon’s will, made 10 Nov., proved 11 Dec. 1573, is that of a comparatively wealthy man. He left 500 marks for his daughter Elizabeth at her marriage, and settled land and annuities on his three surviving sons. His estates, which included land in Writtle, Roxwell and Bradwell, were left to his wife. Among the legatees was ‘my singular good master, Master Doctor White, warden of the new college of Winchester in Oxford’. The widow, who later married Thomas Wilson, the secretary of state, and died in 1577, was appointed sole executrix, with Pinchon’s ‘special good brother-in-law Mr. Peter Osborne’ as supervisor. He left 20s. for the repair of Writtle church and £3 6s. 8d. for the poor of the parish. A brass in the church records his marriage and the date of his death—29 Nov. 1573. On another mutilated tablet effigies of his four sons can still be seen. One of his grandsons, William, founded the town of Springfield, Massachusetts.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.R.P.


  • 1. His e. bro. was not yet 21 in Feb. 1529.
  • 2. Essex Rev. xvi. 175; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 266, 470; LP Hen. VIII, xxi(2), p. 420.
  • 3. Dover Annals , 378.
  • 4. Essex RO, D/DP M540, ex inf. Dr. F. G. Emmison; PCC 2 Hogen; C142/173/41; CPR , 1553-4, p. 457; LP Hen. VIII , xii(2), p. 355.
  • 5. Essex RO, Q/SR 38/34; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 418.
  • 6. PCC 38 Peter; Essex Arch. Soc. Trans. n.s. ix. 58-9; S. E. Morrison, Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc. (1931), pp. 67-107.