WITHYPOLL, Edmund (1510/13-82), of London; Walthamstow, Essex and Christchurch, 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. 1510/13, 1st s. of Paul Withypoll of London and Walthamstow by Anne, da. of Robert Curzon of Brightwell, Suff. m. c.1535, Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Hynde of London, 12s. 7da. suc. fa. 3 June 1547.2

Offices Held

J.p. Suff. 1561-d.; commr. sewers 1566; sheriff, Norf. and Suff. 1570-1.3


On the list of Members in use during the second session of the Parliament of 1558 the surname of William Wheatcroft, who had been returned or 13 Dec. 1557, is struck through and replaced by ‘Withepoll’. Wheatcroft had presumably died during the Parliament, although he is not marked ‘mortuus’, and ‘Withepoll’ is taken to have been Edmund Withypoll, a leading figure in Ipswich and recently an associate of Sir John Sulyard who had sat for the town twice earlier in the reign. Either Sulyard or his kinsman Sir Thomas Cornwallis (later a feoffee and relative of Withypoll himself) could have secured him the nomination.4

Withypoll was educated by Thomas Lupset, rector of St. Martin’s, Ludgate, who taught his pupil Latin but no Greek and who fostered in him a lasting love of scholarship; Christchurch, Withypoll’s Ipswich house, was adorned with Latin inscriptions, and he translated some verses of Robert Norton, the preacher of Ipswich, which were printed at the end of Gabriel Harvey’s Two other very commendable letters (1580). In 1529 Lupset wrote for and dedicated to Withypoll An exhortation to yonge men, published in 1535, in which he encouraged his former pupil to read the New Testament, Chrysostom, Jerome, Erasmus’s Enchiridion, Xenophon’s Oecominia in a Latin translation and the works of other leading classical authors, ending:

if you will proceed in virtue; the which is only the thing, that maketh a man both happy in this world and also blessed in the world to come. Believe you my counsel, and use the same, or else hereafter you will peradventure bewail your negligence. Fare you well.5

Withypoll at first followed in the footsteps of his father, becoming a merchant and a money-lender. In 1534 he was assessed at 16d. for the land which he held at Walthamstow. Six years later he bought land in Shropshire from his uncle, John Withypoll. In 1544 he participated in the siege and capture of Boulogne where on 25 Sept. he took from the church of Notre Dame a copy of Cicero’s Epistolae. In December 1545 he was pardoned at Queen Catherine Parr’s suit for the manslaughter of William Mathew, a serving man of Lowhall, Walthamstow. No further details have come to light concerning this incident but it may have influenced Withypoll’s migration to Ipswich, where his father had acquired some former monastic property from Sir Thomas Pope in 1544 and where, after the son had been licensed to enter upon his lands on 1 Feb. 1548, he began the construction of Christchurch.6

Thereafter Withypoll became chiefly concerned with the administration and expansion by purchase of his property and the affairs of his adopted shire, into the principal families of which his children married. He none the less continued to lend money and those in his debt included the 12th Earl of Arundel, the 9th Lord Clinton and Sir Thomas Gerard. At the beginning of the reign of Mary he paid a composition of £10 to avoid knighthood. He carried on numerous disputes with the corporation of Ipswich, but no permanent ill will seems to have resulted and his failure to sit again for the town is perhaps attributable to the loss of influence of his patrons Cornwallis and Sulyard. During the summer of 1558 Withypoll incurred the displeasure of the Privy Council, who wrote on 8 Aug. ordering him to explain his failure to supply demi-lances at the musters.7

On 6 Apr. 1568 Withypoll wrote a lengthy will which was replaced by a shorter one on 1 May 1582 in which he left instructions for his burial in St. Margaret’s, Ipswich, provided for the division of his property, made various bequests, and left the residue to his 18 year-old grandson, Paul, as his eldest son had predeceased him. He died at Christchurch on the following 16 May and was buried five days later in accordance with his wishes.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; Wm. Salt Lib. SMS 264.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from parents’ marriage and first subsidy assessment. Walthamstow Antiq. Soc. xxxiv. app.
  • 3. CPR, 1550-3, p. 113; 1560-3, p. 442; 1563-6, p. 27; 1569-72, pp. 217, 434.
  • 4. Wm. Salt Lib. SMS 264; Walthamstow Antiq. Soc. xxxiv. 15, 21-22, 25, 29, 45, 48, 60; PCC 21 Tirwhite.
  • 5. Walthamstow Antiq. Soc. xxxiv. 52-53.
  • 6. Ibid. 18, 20-22, 42-45, 47; DKR, ix. 301; LP Hen. VIII, xx.
  • 7. Walthamstow Antiq. Soc. xxxiv. 45-47; CPR, 1550-3, p. 232; 15-557, p. 496; 1596-72, p. 316; CSP Dom. 1601-3, Add. 1547-65, p. 437; APC, v. 105; vi. 369.
  • 8. Pevsner, Suff. 269; PCC 52 Sheffelde, 21 Tirwhite; C142/197/78.