SPARROW, John (by 1516-45/46), of Ipswich, Suff.

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 1516, 1st s. of Thomas Sparrow of Somersham by Elizabeth, da. of Walter Snelling of Elmsett. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of John Bacon of Hessett; (2) Emma, wid. of William Drought alias Sampson of Ipswich, ?1s.1

Offices Held

Treasurer, Ipswich 1537-9, portman 1537-d., bailiff 1540-1, j.p. 1541-2, 1545-d., claviger 1541-d.2


John Sparrow was born into a family which had settled in Ipswich by 1419. His father lived at Somersham, several miles from the town, but Sparrow himself was an Ipswich mercer and clearly owed his seat in Parliament to his municipal standing. He owned considerable property in the town, including maltings and tanneries. In 1538 he was concerned with Robert Daundy and other officials in dealing with the misdeeds of James Crawford, the priest in charge of the Daundy chantry. Two years later, as bailiff, he was required to ride to London with the town clerk to sue to the court of augmentations for the ‘half-market’ of Woodbridge.3

Sparrow’s will, made on 15 Nov. 1545, shows him to have been a moderately wealthy man and, if his donations to the poor of Ipswich and as many as 15 villages are an indication, a pious one. He disposed of almost £220, in addition to his property in Ipswich, the greater part of which he left to his wife. His sister, Elizabeth Peckiswell, was to receive £40 and an additional £6 13s.4d. with all the timber, boards and planks ‘in the late Whitefriars’ with which to build a house where she thought fit. Her four children were bequeathed between them a total of £40, of which £20 and a house were to go to Joan Peckiswell. Other money and property went to Sparrow’s two brothers Nicholas and Thomas, godchildren, servants and friends. John Holland the elder and Elizabeth Peckiswell were appointed executors and Robert Sparrow supervisor. The will was proved on 21 May 1546.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: John Pound


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. N. Bacon, Annals Ipswich, 215n.; Add. 19149, pp. 320-3; Ipswich ct. bk. 6, pp. 36, 68.
  • 2. Bacon, 210-24; LP Hen. VIII, xvi.
  • 3. Bacon, 215n, 216; LP Hen. VIII, xiii.
  • 4. PCC 9 Alen.