Timperley's Town 1450 -1485

Timperley’s Town 1450 -1485

Parliament was in a relatively strong position in Henry VI’s two reigns – as run by the House of the Lords, that is. The Commons could not meet unless summoned by the King, enjoyed no freedom of speech and was not allowed to discuss national affairs at all. But it was in the Lords’ interest to ensure it had a supporting role to their more powerful chamber.

John Timperley was one of Mowbray’s -the Duke of Norfolk’s - team, and the duke of Norfolk was one of the many powerful peers looking to strengthen their position, not least by controlling a number of parliamentary seats. John Timperley had acquired Gatton hamlet by marriage and was first granted licence to enclose Gatton manor in 1449. For parliamentary boroughs, there was no such thing as a constituency boundary since the intent was to elect delegates, not representatives. So, despite the nearby parliamentary borough of Reigate, Norfolk got authority for Gatton to have the status of parliamentary borough, irrespective of the lack of any voting residents. Gatton was referred to at the time as “Timperley’s Town” which seems a fair reflection of his ambitions for this watering hole on the Pilgrims’ Way. However, Cade’s rebellion of 1450 and the beginning of the Wars of the Roses would have distracted him from putting those ambitions into effect.

For the first half of the Wars of the Roses, Timperley sat for Reigate borough, and people who appear to have no connection with Surrey, let alone Gatton, were placed by Norfolk in the Gatton seats. In this it was no different from other pocket boroughs of the time.








Timperley’s fortunes seem to have declined when the Mowbray lineage died out in 1476, though a John Timperely, his son possibly, was placed as member for Ipswich in Edward IV’s reign. With the end of the Wars of the Roses in 1485, Timperley relinquished Gatton to one of the conquering Tudor supporters, Richard Copley.


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