MASSINGER, William (1514/15-93/94), of Gloucester.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. 1514/15, 1st s. of Thomas Massinger of Gloucester by Alice. educ. L. Inn, adm. 1537. m. by 1545, Elizabeth, 3s. inc. Arthur and Richard 1da. suc. fa. 31 Mar. 1534.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Gloucester 1562-3, 1566-7, mayor 1569-70, 1585-6.2


William Massinger inherited from his father, who had been alderman and mayor of Gloucester, a modest estate in the neighbouring villages of Newent, Swindon and Trenley, with a moiety of lands in Abenhall, Longhope and Magna Dean, part of which had been conveyed before his father’s death to a number of feoffees including Arthur Porter and Thomas Payne.3

Unlike his younger brother’s, Massinger’s civic career only began in middle age; he was approaching 40 when admitted to the freedom in 1552-3, and he may have spent his earlier years in establishing himself in the legal profession. In 1545 he acquired some ex-monastic land near Tewkesbury; in 1549 he owned a house in the parish of Christ Church, Gloucester, and by 1559 he was domiciled at King’s Barton outside the east walls of the city. In the early 1550s he became unsuccessfully involved in litigation with the corporation about the title to some property which had been left in 1528 for the foundation of a grammar school.4

Massinger was elected to Parliament twice in Mary’s reign before filling any civic office, probably obtaining his place for Gloucester on the presumption that the recorder, Sir John Pollard, was secure in a seat elsewhere, and he was returned only once again after a gap of 15 years; his fellow-Members in 1554 and 1555 were both his seniors in age and status. The occasion of his first return was uneventful, and he attended the Parliament throughout, being paid with Sir Thomas Bell for its total of 66 days and an additional six days of travel, but the election held at Gloucester on 1 Oct. 1555 was a disturbed one when many of the citizens (including Massinger’s brother) objected to its management by the mayor. Massinger was an opponent of a government bill during the Parliament of 1555 along with his companion Arthur Porter.5

Massinger’s will was made in June 1593 and proved in the following year. His grandson Philip was the dramatist.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s. i.p.m., E150/367/2. LP Hen. VIII, xx; Gloucester Guildhall 1375, f. 28.
  • 2. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxiv. 318.
  • 3. Rudder, Glos. 115; E150/367/2.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xx; CPR, 1548-9, p. 265; 1558-60, p. 216; 1560-3, p. 139; W. H. Stevenson, Cal. Recs. Gloucester, 64; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. lxv. 199-219; Gloucester Guildhall 1300; 1394, f. 33.
  • 5. Gloucester Guildhall 1375, ff. 46v, 57v; 1394, f. 49; Guildhall mus. Loseley 1331/2.
  • 6. Gloucester consist. ct. wills 1594.