William Cordell

For the politician, see William Cordell (MP).
Possible portrait of Sir William Cordell, by Cornelius de Zeeu, dated 1565, St John's College, Oxford
The Right Honourable
Sir William Cordell
Speaker of the House of Commons
In office
Monarch Elizabeth I
Preceded by Clement Higham
Succeeded by Thomas Gargrave
Personal details
Born 1522
Died 1581
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Mary Clopton
Relations no children
Residence Melford Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk
Profession Barrister

Sir William Cordell (1522–1581) was Solicitor General and Master of the Rolls during the reign of Queen Mary I and Speaker of the House of Commons during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Following the dissolution of the Monasteries, [Queen Mary of England] granted the manor of Long Melford to Cordell in 1554. The charter can be seen at Melford Hall today.[1] Knighted in 1558, a member of Lincoln's Inn 1538, called to the Bar 1544, bencher 1553, reader 1554, a founding member of the Russia Company, received a grant of arms for his father in 1548 and one for himself (quartering Webb) in 1549, Solicitor General to Mary I 1553, Master of the Rolls and a member of the privy council 1557, sat in five parliaments between 1545 and 1571, Speaker of the House of Commons 1558, executor to Queen Mary I, Cardinal Pole, and Archbishop Parker, founded a hospital; the Holy Trinity at Long Melford,[2] first visitor and supporter of the foundation of St John's College, Oxford,

By his will it is found that he left charitable bequests to Cambridge and Oxford including £20 to be distributed among the poor scholars of the universities ‘unto suche as be moste towardes in vertewe and learninge’.

Cordell married Mary Clopton (d. 1584), the daughter of Richard Clopton of Kentwell Hall in Long Melford, Suffolk, by his first wife, Margaret Bozun, daughter of Sir Richard Bozun of Barrowby, Lincolnshire, and Thomasine Dene, the daughter and heiress of James Dene.[3] There were no issue of the marriage.[4]


  1. Kelly (1900), Kelly's Directory of Suffolk, Kelly's Directories, Ltd., p. 260, retrieved 2008-10-21
  2. Cooper, Charles Henry; Cooper, Thompson (1858). Athenae Cantabrigienses. 1: 1500-1585. DEIGHTON BELL & CO, MACMILLAN & CO, BELL & DALDY FLEET STREET. p. 433.
  3. Richardson I 2011, p. 521.
  4. Baker 2004.


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