DUNCH, Sir William (1578-1611), of Brightwell, Berks.

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



1604 - 22 Jan. 1611

Family and Education

bap. 25 May 1578, 1st s. of Edmund Dunch† (d.1623) of Little Wittenham, Berks. and Anne, da. and h. of Nicholas Fettiplace of Kentwood, Berks.; bro. of Samuel*.1 educ. Balliol, Oxf. BA 1596; G. Inn 1596.2 m. 19 Feb. 1599,3 Mary (bur. 26 May 1617), da. of Sir Henry Cromwell alias Williams† of Hinchingbrooke, Hunts., 4s. 3da.; 2 other ch. d.v.p. kntd. 28 June 1603. d. 22 Jan. 1611.4

Offices Held

Freeman, Wallingford, Berks. 1604;5 commr. sewers, Oxon. and Berks. 1604.6


Dunch’s grandfather, an auditor of the Mint, acquired extensive estates in Berkshire and neighbouring counties, and settled at Little Wittenham, some four miles from Wallingford, which he represented in 1563. His father was returned there in 1571 and was subsequently a long-serving Berkshire magistrate.7 Dunch’s wife, the aunt of Oliver Cromwell*, was related to Sir John Fortescue*, in whose house Dunch was knighted in 1603. Dunch’s election for Wallingford in 1604 presumably had the support of Fortescue, the borough’s high steward, as well as his father, then serving as sheriff of Berkshire for the third time.8 Dunch left no record of his presence in the House, and died intestate at Little Wittenham on 22 Jan. 1611, shortly before the dissolution, ‘leaving many children, and all of them but his eldest son unprovided for’, as his father subsequently complained. Administration of his estate was granted to his widow, who ‘by her care and providence ... raised a stock of money towards their better preferment’, but she died six years later. Their grandfather was, however, able to provide the three daughters with portions of £2,000 apiece, partly at least out of ‘the said stock’.9

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. B.W. Greenfield, ‘Ped. of Dunch of Little Wittenham, Berks.’ Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 3), ii. 44-5; HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 65.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; GI Admiss.
  • 3. Memorials of St. Margaret’s, Westminster ed. A.M. Burke, 309.
  • 4. Greenfield, 45; Ashmole, Berks. i. 60; Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 111.
  • 5. Berks RO, W/AC1/1/1, f. 87.
  • 6. C181/1, f. 85.
  • 7. HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 65-6; VCH Berks. iv. 382; C193/13/1, f. 8.
  • 8. Berks. RO, W/AC1/1/1, f. 88; List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 6.
  • 9. WARD 7/36/178; Index to Admons. in the PCC 1609-19 ed. M. Fitch (Brit. Rec. Soc. lxxiii), 40; PROB 11/142, f. 497.