Sir William PORTMAN,

Lord Chief Justice

Died: 1557

Buried: 10 Feb 1556/7, St Dunstan-in-the-West, London, Middlesex, England

Father: John PORTMAN

Mother: Alice KNOELL

Married: Elizabeth GILBERT (dau. and heiress of John Gilbert)


1. Henry PORTMAN (Sir) (d. 1590)

2. Mary PORTMAN (m. John Stowell)

Son of John Portman, who was buried in the Temple Church on 5 Jun 1521, by Alice, daughter of William Knoell of Dorset, his family belonged to Somerset, giving its name to the village of Orchard Portman, and he was in the commission of the peace for that county from time to time. He was a barrister who was successful enough to be personally known to the King Henry VIII. In 1532 he acquired 270 acres (stretching from Oxford Street to where Regents Canal is now to be found) which his descendents later developed as the Portman Estate. In 1533 Henry gave him a wardship, and he was one of the administrators of the will of Catalina of Aragon.

He was made a judge in 1547, and knighted by Edward VI. When Richard Rich was ill, Portman was one of those who, by patent of 26 Oct 1551, were commissioned to despatch chancery matters; and in the following Jan he was commissioned to aid the lord-keeper, Thomas Goodricke, Bishop of Ely, in similar affairs. He seems to have been of the old way of thinking in religious matters. He found no difficulty in keeping office under Mary; and he followed George Day, Bishop of Chichester, in persuading Sir James Hales to abjure Protestantism in 1554. The same year he was made Chief Justice. He died early in 1556-7, and was buried with a stately funeral.

His wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Gilbert, and connected by descent with the legal family of Fitzjames.

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