BOLT, William (by 1476-1543), of Leicester.

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. by 1476, ?s. of William Bolt of Sudbury, Suff. by Agnes. m. Alice, ?da. of Robert Croft of Leicester.2

Offices Held

Coroner, Leicester 1514-15, steward of the fair 1517-18, 1539-40, mayor’s clerk or clerk of the peace 1517, mayor 1522-3, 1534-5.3


William Bolt was an attorney. It is not known where or when he received his training but by 1498 he was practising in Leicester, where in that year he represented two prominent local gentlemen in a series of alienations in mortmain to the monasteries of Launde and Newark. By 1505 he was one of the attorneys for the borough and in 1508 he entered the municipal ranks with Robert Harward, both of whom ‘made fine for their chamberlainship’. His establishment in 1511 of a chantry worth £6 13s.4d. within Newark college suggests that he was prospering, as does his role as principal counsel to several of the town’s leading citizens, notably John Gladwyn and Roger Wigston. The Wigstons frequently referred to him for legal advice, and when they undertook the foundation of the hospital which bears their name he was their attorney in all land purchases and conveyances. In 1513, in the absence of the family’s regular attorney, George, 3rd Lord Hastings made Bolt a feoffee in various of his transactions.4

It was during his first mayoralty that Bolt served his only recorded term as Member for the borough: he was elected ‘for the commons’ with his patron and friend, Roger Wigston, who was chosen ‘for the mayor and his brethren’, an arrangement presumably intended to spare Bolt the embarrassment of self-nomination. It is possible that with such powerful patronage he had sat before, in 1515 and even in 1512, but he was not to do so again, partly perhaps because from 1529 the town’s recorder appears to have claimed one seat. He continued to serve the corporation in other ways until at least 1540, representing it in lawsuits and visiting London on its behalf; he also maintained his private practice, with the college of Newark as one of his clients.5

Bolt long resided in the parish of St. Nicholas, Leicester, and it was there in 1543 that he died and was buried. His will is extant at Leicester but is practically illegible.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Leicester Recs. ed. Bateson, iii. 23.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first known payment of subsidy, Leicester Recs. ii. 351; LP Hen. VIII, i; C1/472/27.
  • 3. Leicester Recs. iii. 456, 459, 466-7.
  • 4. CPR, 1494-1509, pp. 156, 419; Leicester Recs. ii. 381, 445; iii. 2, 8; LP Hen. VIII, i; Quorndon Recs. ed. Farnham, 102; Suppl. 34; A. H. Thompson, Wyggeston Hospital Recs. 9, 205, 392, 395-6, 401, 802; HMC Hastings, i. 43, 298.
  • 5. Leicester Recs. iii. 23, 46; DL1/9/10; A. H. Thompson, Hospital Newark, 155; LP Hen. VIII, i,i v.
  • 6. Leicester Mayors, ed. Hartopp, 56.