SELBY, William I (c.1527-1613), of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb.

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.1527, s. of George Selby of Newcastle by his w. Margaret Anderson. m. Elizabeth, da. and h. of Gerard Fenwick of Newcastle, 5s. inc. George 8da.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Newcastle 1564, alderman, mayor 1573, 1589.


Selby’s family had been established in Newcastle from the fourteenth century. Selby himself was a leading member of the hostmen’s company, one of the original lessees of the coal-bearing manors of Gateshead and Whickham, granted to him and Henry Anderson as trustees for the town. Other hostmen such as Henry Chapman were admitted, and these few ‘grand lessees’ obtained a virtual monopoly of mining and shipping coal during the last two decades of the century. The other members of the corporation led by the customer, Henry Saunderson, challenged the grand lessees in a series of lawsuits, one specific charge against Selby being that he rigged his son’s election as sheriff in 1594. In the end the grand lessees had their way.

During the last two sessions of the 1572 Parliament Selby was appointed to committees on the status of foreigners in England (24 Feb. 1576), border defences (25 Feb. 1581) and the repair of Dover harbour (4 Mar. 1581). Newcastle paid him wages at the rate of 8s. a day. He died a rich man in December 1613, and was buried in the chancel of St. Nicholas church. His funeral in January was attended by over 1,000 people, the bishop of Durham officiating.

Surtees, Hist. Durham, ii. 274; R. Welford, Hist. Newcastle and Gateshead, iii. 18-19, 78, 120, 199, 211; Men of Mark ’twixt Tyne and Tweed, iii. 376-7; Arch. Ael. (ser. 4), xxiii. 134; J. U. Nef, British Coal Industry, ii. 20, 39, 42, 120 seq.; CSP Dom. 1595-7, pp. 428-9; APC, xxviii. 317-19; CJ, i. 108, 129, 131; Newcastle chamberlains’ accts.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: B.D.