HARCOURT, Thomas (by 1508-67/69), of Church Eaton, Staffs.; Houghton-on-the-Hill, Leics. and London.
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Family and Education
b. by 1508, 1st s. of Richard Harcourt of Church Eaton by Mary, da. of one Braddock. unm. 1s. suc. fa. 10 Apr. 1544.1
The heir in a cadet branch of the Harcourts of Ranton, Thomas Harcourt owed his only appearance in Parliament to his family connexion with the town of Stafford and with Henry, 1st Baron Stafford, the recorder there: his fellow-Member was a kinsman of Baron Stafford. Several Harcourts had earlier served the Stafford Dukes of Buckingham and some of his kin were in Stafford’s own service; he himself, like his father before him, was a tenant of Stafford’s in Billington and Dunston.2
Harcourt’s early life was passed in Staffordshire, where in August 1537 he and Sampson Erdeswick were overseers for the suppression of Ranton abbey, but after his father’s death he disposed of much of his inheritance and moved to Leicestershire, purchasing property near Tamworth where his brother Walter later settled. By the time he obtained a general pardon on the accession of Elizabeth he had settled in London. He may already have done so by the time of his election in 1555 and so have been available at Westminster. His name does not appear on the list of Members of this Parliament who opposed one of the government’s bills.3
It was as ‘of London esquire’ that Harcourt made his will on 20 Nov. 1567 when already a sick man. He instructed his executors, his brother Walter and his cousin Richard Hakluyt, to settle his debts and to exact payment of what was owing him. After making bequests to kinsmen he left to his base son Thomas £20 and all his clothes save for one cloak, and to his ‘dear hostess’ Ursula Wager 20 marks. The will was proved on 15 July 1569 but in the absence of an inquisition the date of his death has not been established.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard
- 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/71/168. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. iii(2), 95; Staffs. Rec. Soc. (ser. 4), viii. 95; PCC 17 Sheffelde.
- 2. C. Rawcliffe, The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham, 1394-1521, passim; C142/71/168.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xvi; CPR, 1558-60, p. 221; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt. Arch. Soc.), i. 346.
- 4. PCC 17 Sheffelde.