SAYER, George (by 1515-77), of Colchester, Essex.

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. by 1515, s. of Thomas Sayer of Colchester. m. (1) by 1540, Agnes (d. Nov. 1556), da. of Thomas Wesden, 4s. 3da.; (2) Frances (d. 29 Apr. 1570), da. of Thomas Salmon.1

Offices Held

Chamberlain, Colchester 1537-8, bailiff 1540-1, 1546-7, 1552-3, 1555-6, 1559-60, 1563-4, 1567-8, alderman by 1541; commr. subsidy 1557.2


George Sayer came of a wealthy family long established in the parish of St. Peter, Colchester. In the earliest references to Sayer he is described as a clothmaker and this was probably his family’s business before him. His father does not seem to have taken much part in municipal affairs, but his grandfather was probably the John Sayer, alderman and bailiff, commemorated by a fine brass in St. Peter’s church. Evidence is lacking for the statement that Sayer inherited the patrimony when his elder brother Richard, a Protestant, fled to the Netherlands in 1537. He added to his inheritance by acquiring much ex-monastic property outside the borough; between 1545 and 1548 he bought from Henry Fortescue, Sir Francis Jobson and others lands in Essex worth £540 a year.3

Sayer may have owed his only election to Parliament to Queen Mary’s directive on that occasion for the return of resident Members, perhaps even to direct intervention by the crown designed to exclude such dissidents as William Cardinall and Sir Francis Jobson who had represented Colchester six months earlier. (With Cardinall, however, Sayer’s relations were cordial enough for the one’s son to marry the other’s daughter.)4

Sayer’s will, made on 22 Jan. 1573, vouches for his wealth; he left 200 marks each to two granddaughters, subject to their not marrying under 22 except with their father’s consent, and £200 and 100 marks respectively to two grandsons. He died on 19 May 1577 and was buried in St. Peter’s, Colchester, where a mural monument commemorates him with details of his life and family and a long laudatory epitaph in English. A group of almshouses was erected in Colchester at Sayer’s expense in 1570, but he left no endowment to maintain them, and they were pulled down before the beginning of the 18th century.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman in 1536, Colchester town hall, Benham mss 22, p. 23. Morant, Colchester ii. III; Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. xiii. 47.
  • 2. Colchester town hall, Benham mss 22, p. 23; Colchester Oath Bk. ed. Benham, 158-61, 165, 170, 174, 180, 182; APC, vi. 163.
  • 3. F. Chancellor, Essex Mons. 366; Anon. Searstan Fam. of Colchester, Eng. 8-9; Colchester Oath Bk. 158; LP Hen. VIII, xxi; Feet of Fines, Essex, iv, ed. Reaney and Fitch, 285, 297; CP 25(2)57/418, m. 17.
  • 4. PCC 25 Daughtty.
  • 5. PCC 25 Daughtry; Pevsner and Radcliffe, Essex, 137; Morant, ii. 171.