BALGYE, John (1520/21-92 or later), of Northampton.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1520/21, s. of Otwell Balgye by Margery. m. by 1550, Elizabeth, 1s. at least 1 other ch. suc. fa. by 1534.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Northampton 1545-6, chamberlain 1551, mayor 1556-7, 1568-70, j.p. by 1564.2


Apparently descended from the Balgyes of Aston in Derbyshire, John Balgye was a haberdasher or mercer who early rose to prominence in Northampton and remained a leading figure there for nearly 50 years. His standing was matched by his wealth: in 1551 he paid more in tithes to All Saints than any except Nicholas Rand, Anthony Bryan and the Manleys, Edward and Lawrence. His return to only one Parliament accorded with the practice of the corporation of seldom re-electing its Members, but in the course of it both he and his senior colleague Nicholas Rand took a line which not all their civic brethren would have approved: they followed Sir Anthony Kingston in his opposition to one of the government’s bills. Of more general satisfaction to the town was Balgye’s stand on its behalf against William, 3rd Earl of Worcester, over a grant of Duston manor: the earl maintained that the manor was held by lease and accused Balgye of using trickery to obtain the counterparts of the lease so that its conditions could be infringed. The town’s appointment of Balgye as treasurer of Duston in 1560 may reflect its obligation to him in this connexion. For the rest of his life Balgye served it in various capacities which he enumerated in a deposition of 1581. He also acted as supervisor of several townsmen’s wills, including those of Nicholas Rand and Anthony Bryan. In 1564 he was described by the bishop of Peterborough as an ‘earnest furtherer of religion’.3

No will or inquisition post mortem has been found but Balgye disappears from the town records in 1592 and early in the reign of James I his grandson Nicholas sold the extensive property of his grandfather ‘John Balgay, deceased’.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Aged 60 in May 1581, Recs. Northampton, ed. Cox and Markham, ii. 183. Northampton ass. bk., 126 seq.; DL1/7/14; E315/345, f. 3v, 347, f. 30.
  • 2. Recs. Northampton, ii. 183, 551, 560; Northampton ass. bk. 159, 426.
  • 3. DL1/7/14; Derbys. Arch. Soc. Jnl. vi. 11; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 72-73; CPR, 1558-60, p. 187; E315/345, f. 3v; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2; C3/194/7; Recs. Northampton, ii. 226; Cal. Northampton Recs. 166; Northampton ass. bk. 55, 75, 105, 107, 147, 150, 159, 307, 315, 350, 375; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 36.
  • 4. Northampton ass. bk. 126.