John Say

Sir John Say (died 12 April 1478) was an English courtier, MP and Speaker of the House of Commons.


He was the son of John Say, born before 1445, and his wife Maud. His brother, [Master] William Say, was Dean of the King’s Chapel, Master of the Hospital of St Anthony, London, Dean of St. Paul’s. Sir John owned land at Baas, Broxbourne, Little Berkhamsted and Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, and Lawford, Essex

Sir John Say trained as a lawyer and became a King's Serjeant, Coroner of the Marshalsea, Yeoman of the Chamber and Crown, Keeper of Westminster Palace, Squire of the Body and Privy Councillor.

In 1447 he entered Parliament as MP for Cambridge and was then in 1449 elected Knight of the Shire for Cambridgeshire, when he was also elected Speaker of the House of Commons. In June 1449 he was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and in 1449 was appointed sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk. By 1450, he was out of favor and in 1451 the Commons demanded his banishment from the court. However, he was pardoned in 1452.

From 1453 to 1478 he represented Hertfordshire in several Parliaments and was chosen to serve as speaker from 1463 to 1465 and again 1467 to 1468. In 1455 (until 1478 in three terms under Henry Bourchier, 1st Viscount Bourchier, 1st Earl of Essex) he held the post of under-Treasurer of the Exchequer and from 1476 that of Keeper of the Great Wardrobe.

He was made Knight of the Bath in 1465.

He died on 12 April 1478.


He married (1st) about 11 Nov. 1446 (grant of the king) Elizabeth, widow of Sir Frederick Tilney of Ashwellthorpe, Norfolk, and daughter of Sir Laurence or Lawrence Cheney (or Cheyne), Esq. (c. 1396 - 1461), of Fen Ditton, Fen Drayton, and Long Stanton, Cambridgeshire, Eaton (in Eaton Socon) and Pavenham, Bedfordshire, Irchester, Northamptonshire, etc., Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, 1429–30, 1435–6, Knight of the Shire for Cambridgeshire, 1431, 1432, 1435, 1442, by Elizabeth, daughter of John Cokayne, of Berwardecote, Brunaldeston, and Hatton, Derbyshire, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, 1401, Justice of the Common Pleas, 1405–29, Chief Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster (Northern parts). His wife, Elizabeth, died 2 September 1473. Say married (2nd) before 9 Oct. 1474 Agnes Danvers, widow successively of John Fray, Knt., Chief Baron of Exchequer, and John Wenlock, K.G., Lord Wenlock, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chief Butler of England, Chamberlain of the Duchy of Lancaster, joint Treasurer of Ireland, Lieutenant of Calais, and daughter of John Danvers, Knt., Ipswell and Colthorpe, Oxfordshire.


Sir John and Lady Elizabeth Say are buried together at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. They were survived by seven of their eight children (three sons and four daughters). Sir John Say was an ancestor of Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII. He was succeeded by his son William, who also became an MP and Sheriff for Hertfordshire.


Political offices
Preceded by
Sir William Tresham
Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Sir John Popham
Preceded by
William Tresham
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
Richard Fowler
Preceded by
Richard Fowler
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
Thomas Thwaites
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