BURTON, Thomas (by 1490-1525), of York.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. by 1490. m. Maud (?Wylde), at least 1s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Swordbearer, York 1511-14, senior chamberlain 1517-18, sheriff 1518-19, member of the Twenty-Four 1519/20, master, merchant guild 1519-20, alderman 1521-d., mayor 1522-3.3


Thomas Burton’s origins and parentage are not known, and his freedom is not entered in the York register of freemen. The John Burton whom he succeeded as esquire at sword to the lord mayor in 1511 was probably a relative. In 1514 he joined the city’s merchant guild, and in the following year he and John Norman paid it 13s.4d.for two voyages. The next seven years saw him rise to the mastership of the guild and from the chamberlainship of the city—in which capacity he was sent on a mission to Wolsey in 1517—to its mayoralty; when in July 1522 Mayor Gyllour died, probably in an epidemic, having named Burton as one of his supervisors, Burton was chosen to serve the remainder of his term. It was three weeks after he quitted office that he was elected, with his trading partner Norman, to represent York in Parliament. All that is known of their services is that they paid £16 5s.8d. for writings concerning the sale of wool, probably the monopoly of exporting wool which the city acquired about this time. It was in defence of this privilege that Burton paid one of his two visits to London in 1524-5 with Peter Jackson. By then one of the richest York merchants, he was assessed for the subsidy of 1524 on £30 in goods in the wealthy central parish of St. Crux.4

Burton was probably in early middle age when he made his will on 22 July 1525; written by his ‘cousin’ Miles Newton, the town clerk, this was signed and sealed by himself. He left charitable bequests to the four York friaries and to the prisoners in the county and city prisons there. Since no inquisition survives, there is no indication of his property beyond a garden and dovecote in the suburbs. He left to his wife the wardship and marriage of the grandson of George Kirke which he had bought from the crown. He made his wife and children, Anthony (a minor) and Margaret, his residuary legatees, his wife sole executrix and his ‘brother’ Alderman Robert Wylde supervisor. The will was proved on 13 Nov. 1525. Anthony Burton became a freeman of York as an inn-holder and married a sister of Alderman Hugh Graves.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. M. Palliser


  • 1. York Civic Recs. iii (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. cvi), 86.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. York wills 9, f. 326v.
  • 3. York pub. lib. R. H. Skaife ms civic officials, i. 136; York archs. B9, 10 passim.
  • 4. York pub. lib. R. H. Skaife ms civic officials, i. 136; York Mercers and Merchant Adventurers (Surtees Soc. cxxix), 126, 323; York Civic Recs. iii. 55, 60, 84-86, 99, 104; York wills 9, f. 283; York archs. B10, B210, esp. f. 68; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. iv. 179.
  • 5. York wills 9, f. 326v; York archs. B11, f. 9; B23, ff. 94v, 96; Reg. Freemen, York, i. 267.