TOWN, Thomas, of Town Place in Throwley, Kent.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Thomas atte Town (d.1403) of Throwley by Benedicta, da. and h. of John Detling alias Brampton of Detling, Kent, and Joan, da. and coh. of John Shelving of Shelving in Woodnesborough. m. Joan, da. of William Cheyne* of Eastchurch, I. of Sheppey, 3da.
References to Town, who took no part whatsoever in public life beyond his one election to Parliament, are extremely few. Following his father’s death, he inherited property in the hundred of Faversham, worth £20 a year according to assessments made for the purpose of taxation in 1412, but the family’s principal manor, that of Town Place, remained in the possession for their lifetimes of his stepfather, Stephen Bettenham (d.1415) of Cranbrook, and his mother, Benedicta, who died at an unknown date after 1422. (At the time he entered the Commons he had no more than a reversionary interest in the premises together with the contents of the manor-house.) Town’s mother also kept control of her own inherited estates, which included a moiety of the manor of Detling and land at Staplehurst and elsewhere; indeed, there is no evidence that he himself ever took possession of them, for she seems to have survived him. Town’s marriage must have brought him into contact, at least on occasion, with the well-connected Cheynes, and perhaps he was also known to his wife’s uncle, John Wilcotes*, the receiver-general of the duchy of Cornwall; but if so, the records remain silent about their association.1
In July 1417 Town was among the men-at-arms mustered in the retinue of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, for service in Henry V’s army on the second invasion of France, but whether this connexion with the warden of the Cinque Ports in any way influenced his election to Parliament three years later is impossible to tell. He is last recorded alive in 1420, and it seems likely that he died shortly afterwards. By 1440 his three daughters had inherited their paternal grandmother’s estates.2