BISHOP, Thomas (1553-1626), of Henfield; later of Parham, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 1553, o.s. of Thomas Bishop of Henfield by Elizabeth, illegit. da. of Sir Edward Belknap, wid. of Walter Scott of Stapleford Tawney, Essex. educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1562; I. Temple 1573. m. (1) Sept. 1577, Ann, da. of William Cromer of Tunstall, Kent; (2) bef. 1589, Jane, da. of Sir Henry Weston of Sutton, Surr., 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 1560. Kntd. 1603; cr. Bt. 1620.

Offices Held

J.p.q. Suss. from 1578, commr. recusancy c.1585; sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 1584-5, 1601-2; dep. lt. Suss. 1618.


Bishop’s father, who had Hertfordshire connexions, settled at Henfield in Sussex where he became a j.p. and attorney to the bishop of Chichester. From him, Thomas inherited the parsonage and park at Henfield, the manors of Beeding, Drayton, Hunston, Stubcroft, and certain farms and stock including a flock of 1,000 sheep. Being a minor, he became the ward first of Sir Richard Sackville and later of Thomas Sackville, his son. His connexion with the Sackvilles explains his swift promotion to office in his father’s adopted county and also his return to Parliament, first for Gatton (the nomination here must have been via Lord Burghley), then for Steyning. In the 1587 report on Sussex justices of the peace Bishop was a ‘young man’ who was a ‘good justice’.

In his will, made 8 May 1626, proved 14 Feb. 1627, he asked to be buried at Parham ‘without pomp and ceremony’. His son Edward was executor.

C142/127/50; Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 74; W. Berry, Co. Genealogies, Suss. (Comber’s copy at Chichester), 213; J. W. Fitzwilliam, Parham in Suss. 52; Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv. 29; GEC Baronetage, i. 156; PRO Assizes, 35; S.E. Circuit, Suss. 20-43; Lansd. 737; Suss. Arch. Colls. ii. 59; xxv. 1 n; xl. 2 seq.; lix. 118; Harl. 474, f. 90; Mousley thesis, 427 seq.; H. de Candole, Story of Henfield, 69 seq.; Wards 9/138, ff. 159-161d; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 510, Neale, Commons, 186-7; PCC 14 Crymes, 50 Mellershe, 14 Skinner.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.E.M.