JENNINGS, William (by 1516-58), of Westminster, Mdx.

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 1516. m. (1) Joan, wid. of John Bate (d.1529) of Westminster, 1s. d.v.p. 1da.; (2) Sybil (?Agard).1

Offices Held

Keeper and porter of the books and rolls in the receipt of the Exchequer 1537-d.; groom of the chamber by 1555.2


William Jennings’s office in the Exchequer carried a salary of £6 6s.8d. a year: he was responsible for keeping all the books, rolls and other memoranda of the receipt and for supplying parchment. His first marriage brought him an interest in four tenements in King Street, Westminster; he lived in the chief of these, the Boar’s Head, from at least 1539, when the lease of the property was granted to him by the abbot of Westminster, and in 1542 was described as an innholder. In 1555 he obtained royal support for his application to the dean and chapter for a renewal of the lease: the King and Queen recommended his ‘faithful service’ as a groom of the chamber and in providing ‘stable room, bedding and other commodities of the said tenement or inn to us and our progenitors’, and on 18 Mar. 1555 he obtained a 70-year lease of the Boar’s Head and the three adjoining tenements. His other property in Westminster included two houses in Tothill Street, the White Hart and the Saracen’s Head, bought in 1553 and lands in the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields acquired in partnership from the crown in 1554: this grant, for which the two purchasers paid £600, also covered lands in six other counties, none of which Jennings seems to have retained.3

Jennings regularly took part in parliamentary elections for Westminster or Middlesex, or both, from 1544 until his death. It was during his own Membership that he received royal support in the matter of his lease. He made his will on 27 Aug. 1558, asking the abbot of Westminster to attend his funeral in the abbey and providing for 30 masses to be said there. His tombstone was to have a brass picture commemorating him, his wives, and the two children of his first marriage. His son being dead, he left his lease of the Boar’s Head to his nephew John Jennings and divided the rest of his property between his wife, relatives and friends. He recorded that the Queen owed him £40 on a privy seal, and that he had not been recompensed for a close, worth 40s. a year, which Henry VIII ‘took from me and put it into the park at St. James’. Robert Smallwood was one of the overseers of the will, which was proved on 10 Dec. 1558. Jennings had then been dead several weeks, his office in the Exchequer having been filled on 3 Nov.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Req.2/6/193; PCC 11 Welles.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xii; Westminster Abbey 18056.
  • 3. E405/115, 117, 119, 121; Req.2/6/193; Survey of London, x. 7, 101; St.Ch.2/27/172; Westminster Abbey 18056, reg. 3, ff. 141, 267v; CPR, 1553-4, pp. 505-6; PCC 11 Welles.
  • 4. C219/18C/65; 19/128; 20/79, 80; 21/98; 22/48, 49; 24/103, 104; PCC 11 Welles; CPR, 1557-8, p. 431.