William BALAM
Roger ISHAM of Isle Brewers
Isabella BALAM
William ISHAM of Bodrigan in Gorran
(Bef 1515-1572)


Family Links

1. Margery BORLASE


William ISHAM of Bodrigan in Gorran

  • Born: Bef 1515
  • Married (1): 25 Nov 1548, Camborne, Cornwall 1
  • Married (2): After 1556
  • Died: 1572

  Research Notes:

eldest son 2

Named in the will of his uncle Alexander Balam 1544.


Offices Held

Bailiff, manor of Hilton, Som. 1546; ?comptroller, coinage of tin, Devon and Cornw. Apr. 1555-7; keeper, Lostwithiel gaol, Cornw. Apr. 1555.


William Isham's father was a Salopian who settled in Somerset on his appointment as keeper of Isle Brewers park, owned by the Arundells of Lanherne, where he occupied the lodge. Isham followed his father into the service of the Arundells and by 1536 he had become attached to Sir Thomas Arundell, receiver-general of the duchy of Cornwall. He succeeded his father as keeper, but after Laurence Withers had bought the park he was ejected on 19 Sept. 1550 as a 'busy, presumptuous person'. Isham prospered under the favour of Arundell: he leased in 1536 the lands and site of St. Nicholas's priory, Exeter, which four years later he purchased outright from Sir Thomas Denys, married a wealthy widow, and obtained the profitable lease of a stannary from the duchy of Cornwall so that by Arundell's fall he was well established.

Isham's return with Thomas Duport to the Parliament of April 1554 broke with the pattern becoming established of choosing Nicholas Randall and another man to sit for Truro. Through his post in the duchy and his appearances at the coinage Isham was known to the townsmen, but he probably owed his Membership not to his own official standing but rather to the influence of his dead master's brother, Sir John Arundell, who owned property in Truro and who on this occasion was one of the knights for the shire. Isham's closeness to Arundell is implicit in a dispute two years later with (Sir) William Godolphin I, a man with whom Arundell had been on bad terms for many years. On 4 Apr. 1555 Isham received the comptrollership of the coinage in Devon and Cornwall 'in consideration of his service' and doubtless at the request of Arundell, although the office had already been given to Godolphin. When Isham attempted to exercise his office at Truro on 4 July 1556, Godolphin's supporters broke up the proceedings and assaulted him. In the ensuing Star Chamber case Thomas Roydon accused Isham of having used force earlier that summer at the Lostwithiel coinage to expel Godolphin's deputy, and criticized him for not agreeing that the office should be exercised by 'an indifferent man' until the matter was settled. The matter, it seems, was settled by Isham's patent being declared invalid about a year later.

Isham remained active in duchy affairs until his death. He made his will at Bodrigan on 12 Sept. 1571.... The date of his death is unknown, but his will was proved within a year of being made, on 2 Aug. 1572. 3


Will of William Isham [from the UK National Archives]

In the Name of God Amen, 1571, the 12th day of September, I William Isshm of Bodrigan in the County of Cornwall, gentelman, being sicke of body and hole of mynde thanks be gyven to almightie god do make this my last will and testament in writing in manner and forme following.

Ffirst, I bequeath my soule to almightie god and my body to be buried in holie buriall.

Item: I give to the churche of Saint Goran 20 shillings.

Item: I give unto the p'rishe churche of Ilbrwers 20 shillings.

Item: I give unto Mary my wife all my lande and tente in Tresawsew ... for terme of her life and after her decease unto Roger Isshm my sonne and heire to hym and his heires forever.

Item: I give unto my sonne John Isshm all my lands and tenements in Redruth [in] the countie of Cornwall to have to hym for terme of his life. And after his decease unto my said sonne Roger and his heires forever.

Item: I give unto the said John 10 pounds in money .

Item: I give unto my sonne Christopher Isshm my best broche that I weare in my hatt.

Item: I give unto my said sonne Christopher 20 pounds in money.

Item: I give unto Margaret Isshm my daughter 20 pounds to be paid at the day of her marriage.

Item: I give unto Elizabeth Isshm my daughter likewise to be paid at the day of her marriage.

Item: I give unto Anne my daughter 20 pounds with a bed and pertinences with 2 pottes and pannes with said bed....

Item: I give unto my said daughter Anne one cowe.

Item: I give unto Roger my sonne my san[....] stone.

Item: I give unto the said Roger my three? buttons of golde

Item: I give unto the said Roger my lease for yeares which I have of Ilbrwes to holde to hym and his assignes yf he lyve so longe and if he die.... then I will that my said lease shall remayne to Christopher and after his decease unto John and after his death unto the rest of my daughters equallie to be distributed. Provided that the said Roger Xopher John nor any of my said daughters shall not have my said lease unles the said Roger Xopher John and any of my said daughters and their assignes and the assignes of every of them as he or they shall become tenannts or [...] of my said lease shall during their estates finde their aunte Johan Fforte during her life make [...] and clothinge fitt for her.

Item: I give unto Roger my sonne his mother's wedding ring.

Item: I give unto my brother Harry Issham my signet of golde.

Item: I give unto Mr. Dollyne 20 shillings

Item: I give unto Richard my servante a heffer and 10 shillings in money

Item: Unto Pethericke 10 shillings

Item: Unto Margery Braye a cowe; unto Katheryn Bray the yonger for her shepe and other my benevolence 10 pounds

Item: Unto William Bree my godsonne a goblet which was his grandmothers.

Item: I give unto my brother Thomas Isshm my other broche.

Item: to his sonne a cuppe with a gilte cover which is at Ilbrwers

Item: Unto each of my daughter Monette? children 10 shillings

Item: to each of my godchildren in Saint Gorann 12 shillings?

Item: Unto Tristram my man [...] and unto each of the rest of my servants 12 shillings

Item: to charge my brother Thomas to restore [...] goods as [...] [...] [...] if the vicar of Ilbrwers unto suche as he shall knowe most honestlie to be delivered

All my apparell to be distributed amonge my sonnes at the discretion of my wife

Item: Unto my sister Elizabeth 10 shillings.

Item: Unto Elizabeth Braye a spone of silver

Item: The rest of all my goods not given nor bequeathed I give and bequeath unto Mary my wife whom I make my Executrix

Item: I will my brother Thomas and Richard Tremayn my sonne in lawe my overseers.

In witness whereof I have writt my hande Willm Isshm Edward Trevalscue Richard Tremayn with others.

Probatum [follows].

  Marriage Information:

William married Margery BORLASE, daughter of Walter BORLASE of Newlyn and TRELUDDRA, on 25 Nov 1548 in Camborne, Cornwall 1. (Margery BORLASE was born between 1500 and 1510 in Newlyn, Cornwall and was buried on 21 Apr 1556 in Camborne, Cornwall 1.)

  Marriage Notes:

Willim Ishun and Margery, the wyfe [sic] of Harrie Bree

  Marriage Information:

William also married Mary PRIDEAUX, daughter of Humphrey PRIDEAUX of Theuborough Devon and Joane FOWELL, after 1556. (Mary PRIDEAUX was born est 1517 and died on an unknown date.)


1 Camborne Parish Register transcripts.

2 The Visitations of the county of Somerset in the years 1531 and 1573, Isham of Ile Brewers, p. 39.

3 The History of Parliament - British Political, Social & Local History, William Isham of Bodrigan in Gorran.

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