ROTHERAM, William (by 1519-59), of Lincoln.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1519, ?s. of William Rotheram of Lincoln. m. Alice (?Broxholme), 1s. 2da.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Lincoln 1545-6, alderman by 1551-9, mayor 1554-5, j.p. by 1559.2


William Rotheram’s parentage has not been traced but he could have been the son of William Rotheram, sheriff of Lincoln in 1529. About 1540 he made a bid for the Blackfriars at Lincoln, but the property went instead to John Bellow and John Broxholme, whom Rotheram was to describe in his will as his brother-in-law. In 1551, with three other aldermen including William Alanson, Rotheram tried to establish cloth-finishing at Lincoln by setting up a mill and dyehouse; their aim was to relieve unemployment but the scheme was not a success.3

Rotheram’s election to the second Marian Parliament has the appearance of an interlude in the representation of Lincoln by George St. Poll, its recorder, and Robert Farrar, secretary to the 2nd Earl of Rutland. Why on this occasion Rotheram replaced St. Poll is not clear, but as in 1555 St. Poll was to gain a knighthood of the shire he may have sought this unsuccessfully in the spring of 1554 and thus cleared the way for Rotheram. (Whether Rotheram benefited similarly in 1555 is not known, since the only name which has survived from that election is Farrar’s; if Rotheram was re-elected he did not align himself with Farrar in opposing one of the government’s bills.) As an alderman and the city’s next choice as mayor Rotheram satisfied the council’s ‘remembrance’ of 1553 that only those who had served in either capacity were eligible for election, and his contribution to the cloth-finishing project showed him to have the city’s welfare at heart. It was a measure of his standing that at about the same time the common council granted Rotheram a lease of the parsonage of Surfleet, Lincolnshire. In 1557 he and Thomas Grantham sold their manor of Wickenby to Gilbert Dighton.4

The closing weeks of Rotheram’s life were marred by controversy. On 25 Feb. 1559 the common council voted to expel him from his office of justice of the peace and from the council and aldermanship, to disfranchise him and to debar him from readmission: his offences were that he had behaved himself contemptuously towards the mayor and had broken out of the ward to which he had been committed. On the same day the council sent a representative to London to solicit the discharge of a subpoena that Rotheram had brought against the mayor. It quickly became evident that the council had overreached itself. On 14 Mar. a justice of assize, acting under instructions from the lord keeper, ordered the disfranchisement to be annulled and four days later Rotheram was readmitted; although the ban on his reappointment to office was reaffirmed, this was to be robbed of its effect by his early death.5

Rotheram had made his will on 30 Apr. 1556 and it was proved on 31 May 1559. He asked to be buried in the cathedral, and among other bequests he left £200 to each of his daughters.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. M. Hofmann


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Associated Architectural Societies’ Reps. and Pprs. xxxix. 243; PCC 12 Chaynay.
  • 2. Associated Architectural Societies’ Reps. and Pprs. xxxix. 217 seq.; J. W. F. Hill, Tudor and Stuart Lincoln, 67; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 50-51.
  • 3. Associated Architectural Societies’ Reps. and Pprs. xxxix. 243; Hill, 63, 67.
  • 4. HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 47; CPR, 1557-8, p. 334; 1560-3, pp. 545-6.
  • 5. HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 50-51.
  • 6. PCC 12 Chaynay.