DOUGHTY (DOWGHTY), William (c.1578-1650), of Tuesday Market, King's Lynn and East Dereham, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1640 (Apr.)

Family and Education

b. c.1578, 3rd s. of William Doughty (d.1634) of Hanworth, Norf., merchant and brewer and Margaret, da. of John Houghton of Gunthorpe, Norf. educ. household of Thomas Oxborough*, recorder of King’s Lynn, to 1604. m. (1) c.1605-9, Prisca, da. of William Remington of Gt. Yarmouth and Norwich, Norf., wid. of Michael Owner (d.1605) of Gt. Yarmouth, wool draper, 2s. 4da.; (2) aft. 1621 (with £1,200), Dorothy, da. of Seth Hawley of King’s Lynn, merchant, wid. of John Beane (d.1621) of King’s Lynn, merchant, s.p.1 bur. 29 Sept. 1650.2

Offices Held

Freeman, King’s Lynn 1604,3 common cllr. 1609-15,4 dep. alderman 1609,5 auditor, toll house 1610-11,6 auditor, water tolls 1610-11,7 town auditor 1610-45,8 corn supervisor 1615-17,9 alderman 1615-45,10 mayor 1618-19, 1625-6, 1633-4, 1640-1;11 commr. sewers, Norf. 1630,12 charitable uses 1635, 1637,13 fen drainage 1636,14 assessment, King’s Lynn 1641-2.15


Doughty’s family had resided at Hanworth, in Norfolk, since the late fifeenth century.16 His own career began as a servant to Lynn’s recorder, Thomas Oxborough; he gained his freedom under Oxborough’s patronage in 1604 and was elected a common councillor five years later.17 (He was clearly not the William Doughty who served as clerk of the munitions at Brill).18 Although four times mayor of Lynn, Doughty, a beer brewer from at least 1604,19 was not among the most active of corporation members. Apart from the journeys undertaken to and from Parliament, Doughty made very few trips on town business, despite being a senior alderman. However, in 1610, and again in 1614, he travelled with Matthew Clarke* to Norwich to persuade Dutch clothiers there to move to Lynn and introduce new drapery manufacture.20 In 1618 he went to London to defend Lynn against a quo warranto,21 and three years later visited Samuel Harsnett, bishop of Norwich, regarding the extension of St. Margaret’s churchyard.22 His final trip was to Norwich in 1625 to discuss the county’s wheat and corn shortages,23 a role which he was well qualified to discharge as he served as corn supervisor for Lynn on various occasions.24

During his terms as mayor Doughty received the customary fee of 200 marks and the lease of the dovecote at Whitefriars. In his first mayoral year he entertained the visiting chief justice of the Common Pleas, Sir Henry Hobart*.25 He also took advantage of his mayoralty to gain approval for water to be piped to his house on the south side of Tuesday Market, probably to assist his brewing operations.26 Though not a shipowner, he was involved in foreign trade, bringing in 14 shipments of goods in chartered Dutch and Scottish vessels between 1604-14, including Spanish salt and wine as well as cheese, hops, figs, and onions, mainly from the Netherlands.27

Elected Member for King’s Lynn twice in the 1620s, Doughty does not appear in the parliamentary records in either 1624 or 1628-9. His presence at Westminster is confirmed only by his receipt of expenses of 5s. per diem.28 In 1628 he received a total of £25 8s. for wages and ‘other charges’.29 In 1629 Doughty ‘brought into the hall one book fair bound written by his son Thomas concerning divers arguments precedents and passages in Parliament concerning the privileges of the subjects of this kingdom’, for which the chamberlains paid Thomas £5.30 The book, which survives in the Lynn archives, contains a copy of the Petition of Right, notes on joint conferences, and various other parliamentary proceedings.31

Doughty was re-elected for Lynn to the Short Parliament in 1640 and served his fourth and final term of mayoralty the same year. He voluntarily resigned from the corporation in 1645, and retired to his estates in East Dereham, Norfolk, where he died in September 1650.32 His will, drafted in his own hand, ordered that 3s. apiece be given to the 20 residents of the street where he last lived (Old Wingate) and 1s. each to another 150 poor families in Lynn.33 However, he showed bitterness towards his wife and eldest son Thomas, who received substantial lands in Lynn, Clenchwharton, Bilney, and West Walton, Norfolk, on condition he would not visit the house at East Dereham, which was left to a younger son, or prove ‘in any ways troublesome or molesting to my executors or any other my children ... I have done better for him than he has any cause to expect’. The will was proved on 30 Dec. 1650. No further members of the family sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Chris Kyle


  • 1. E. Anglian Peds. (Norf. Rec. Soc. xiii), 104; Vis. Norf. (Norf. Rec. Soc. v), 200; Gen. Gleanings in Eng. ed. H.F. Waters, ii. 1411; Norf. RO, St. Margaret, King’s Lynn, par. reg.
  • 2. Norf. RO, St. Margaret, King’s Lynn, par. reg.
  • 3. Cal. Lynn Freemen, 131.
  • 4. Norf. RO (King’s Lynn), KL/C7/8, f. 438.
  • 5. Ibid. f. 455.
  • 6. Ibid. f. 469v.
  • 7. Ibid. KL/C44/8.
  • 8. Ibid. KL/C7/9, ff. 64v, 84v, 167, 277.
  • 9. Ibid. KL/C7/9, ff. 78v, 101v.
  • 10. Ibid. f. 72.
  • 11. Norf. Official Lists ed. H. L’Estrange, 194.
  • 12. C181/4, f. 21v.
  • 13. C192/1, unfol.
  • 14. C181/5, f. 11v.
  • 15. SR, v. 65.
  • 16. F. Blomefield, Hist. Norf. viii. 130.
  • 17. Cal. Lynn Freemen, 131.
  • 18. E351/263; 351/276.
  • 19. V. Parker, Making of King’s Lynn, 164.
  • 20. Norf. RO (King’s Lynn), KL/C7/8, f. 456v; C7/9, f. 55.
  • 21. Ibid. KL/C7/9, f. 136Av.
  • 22. Ibid. f. 175.
  • 23. Ibid. f. 231v.
  • 24. Ibid. ff. 78v, 101v.
  • 25. Ibid. f. 146v.
  • 26. Ibid. f. 143.
  • 27. G.A. Metters, ‘Rulers and Merchants King’s Lynn’ (Univ. East Anglia Ph.D. thesis, 1982), p. 184.
  • 28. Norf. RO (King’s Lynn), KL/C7/9, f. 214v.
  • 29. Ibid. KL/C39/100.
  • 30. Ibid. KL/C7/9, f. 302.
  • 31. Ibid. unnumb. mss, notebk. of William Doughty.
  • 32. Ibid. KL/C7/10, f. 445.
  • 33. PROB 11/214, ff. 298-302.