ELVEDEN, alias CATTANEO, Lawrence (by 1512-52/53), of London and Dover, Kent.

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 1512. m. Elizabeth, 2s.2

Offices Held

Servant of John Stokesley, bp. of London in 1533; town clerk, Dover 1539-44, jurat 1547-50.3


Lawrence Elveden alias Cattaneo was probably a descendant of the Genoese merchant family which was established in Southampton in the 15th century and of which at least two members, Francis and Stephen Cattaneo, settled in London at the beginning of the 16th. Elveden entered the service of Bishop Stokesley, probably as a secretary, but was dismissed in 1533 for absconding with £100 of the King’s money held by the bishop. When he heard that the fugitive had been apprehended in Manchester and brought back to London, Stokesley wrote to ask Cromwell to deal with the case. From the King’s bench prison Elveden also addressed to Cromwell a plea for lenient treatment, this being his first offence and one for which he intended to make restitution; the endorsing of his letter as ‘Supplication of the false knave the bishop of London’s servant’ implies that it failed of its purpose, but what befell its writer has not been discovered.4

Elveden is next heard of seven years later when he prepared another memorial to Cromwell accusing a priest and a surgeon of treason. He then described himself as a citizen and grocer of London ‘exercising the science of writing for his poor and true living in the King’s street within the limits of the King’s palace at Westminster’. This avocation he seems, somewhat mysteriously, to have combined with being town clerk of Dover. He eventually moved to Dover, bought a property there called the George, and became an innkeeper.5

This varied career was further diversified by Elveden’s election as one of Petersfield’s first Members of Parliament. Petersfield probably owed its enfranchisement in 1547 to William Paulet, Baron St. John, who as master of the court of wards was custodian of Henry Weston, the young lord of the borough. Less easy to explain is the choice of the two Members. Although they were associated with each other, Elveden having in 1536 acknowledged a debt of £50 to his fellow-Member George Tadlowe and being a colleague of George’s uncle William Tadlowe in the Cinque Ports, neither is known to have been connected with the Paulets: it may be that Tadlowe, a London haberdasher, had dealings with St. John as great master of the Household, and that Elveden came in under Tadlowe’s aegis. In April 1547, at a meeting of the Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports, Elveden had been appointed with Nicholas Ballard and William Tadlowe to plead to the Privy Council for a renewal of their charter. Two years later the Brotherhood sent a letter of attorney for the apprehension of Ballard and Elveden for failure to render up their accounts. Elveden’s personal affairs were also in confusion and he perhaps sought a seat as a protection against creditors: he was certainly in serious financial trouble after the Parliament had ended. On 1 Sept. 1552 the Council authorized the lord warden, Sir Thomas Cheyne, to examine a dispute between him and a French merchant, and three weeks later he promised to pay a London girdler £200 by Christmas. When he had not done so by February 1553 Cheyne was ordered to ensure his appearance in London as a defaulter, and on 17 Mar. another order for Elveden’s attachment arrived in pursuance of Tadlowe’s claim for the £50 outstanding from 17 years earlier. When the lord warden sent both writs to the mayor and jurats of Dover, it was to be informed on 8 May 1553 that Elveden was dead.6

It was Elveden’s widow who was left to settle his estate. Letters of administration were granted on 31 Jan. 1553 but the debts remained. In 1554 the Privy Council forwarded to Dover a petition by Elveden’s French creditor, and later in the year an attachment against Elizabeth Elveden was granted in another suit. George Tadlowe seems to have taken over the inn at Dover, but it was not until 1562 that Elveden’s two sons reached an agreement over their inheritance.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. C219/19/84; Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Egerton 2094, f. 230v.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, vi; Egerton 2092, f. 460v; J. Bavington Jones, Dover Annals, 337-8; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 227-8, 230, 232-3, 236-8, 240, 244.
  • 4. A. A. Ruddock, Italian Merchants and Shipping in Southampton 1270-1600 (Soton Rec. ser. i), 124-5; CPR, 1494-1509, p. 478; LP Hen. VIII, ii, vi.
  • 5. SP1/162, f. 127; Egerton 2094, ff. 76, 77.
  • 6. Egerton 2094, ff. 76-77; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. 236, 238, 240-1; APC, iv. 119.
  • 7. Kent AO, PRC 22/2, f. 21; APC, iv. 384; Egerton 2094, ff. 110, 230v.