BRYDGES, Thomas (d.1559), of Cornbury, Oxon.

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. prob. soon aft. 1492, 2nd s. of Sir Giles Brydges by Isabel, da. of Thomas Baynham; bro. of Sir John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos. m. (1) Jane, da. and coh. of John Sydenham of Orchard, Som., 1 or 2s. 2da.; ?(2) Anne, ?1s.1

Offices Held

J.p. Oxon. 1536, q. by 1559; j.p. Berks. 1541; jt. keeper with his e. bro. of Langley and Cornbury parks, Oxon, 1536; keeper of Marylebone park 1539; surveyor of Boulogne 1546; chantry commr. Oxon., Northants. and Rutland 1548, for church goods Oxon. 1553; assistant to his bro. as lt. of the Tower 1553-4, lt. during summer of 1554; sheriff Oxon. and Berks. 1556-7.2


By the time Brydges represented his county in Elizabeth’s first Parliament, his active public career was almost over. He was a considerable landowner in Oxfordshire, besides holding jointly with his brother the stewardship of five royal manors and several parks in the county. Before the end of Henry VIII’s reign he had acquired leases of the demesnes of the manor of Langley and of the Bruern monastic estates, and before the death of Edward VI he bought an additional 1,200 acres near Bruern.3

Outside Oxfordshire he owned Somerset lands in right of his wife, and paid over £900 for property at Keynsham, purchasing also the borough, manor and park of Chudleigh, Devon, from the bishop of Exeter. His will mentions a small Gloucestershire estate, and he must presumably have had land in Berkshire, since he was on the commission of the peace there. His London town house was in Thames Street, in the parish of Allhallows.4

During the last ten years of Henry Vlll’s reign Brydges was an active official in his county, serving as a justice of the peace and of gaol delivery, and as a commissioner for musters in the hundreds of Bampton and Chadlington. He helped to raise local troops for the campaign of 1544, and with his elder brother accompanied the King to France. As surveyor of Boulogne in 1546 he was responsible for settling Englishmen in the town.5

Nothing is recorded of his religion, but he served both Edward VI and Mary, sitting on commissions for the confiscation of church goods and chantry lands, and, during the Catholic revival, as a justice in Oxfordshire, attending the burning of Archbishop Cranmer. He was one of the Tower officials present at the execution of Lady Jane Grey.6

He died on 14 Nov. 1559. His will, made in October of that year, was proved in the following February. ‘God hath endued me’, he wrote, ‘with an honest and loving wife, unto whom of all creatures I am most bound’. The will included bequests to his surviving son Henry, aged about 22, who inherited the estates, and to two daughters—Mary, who had married the son and heir of Sir Nicholas Arnold, and Elizabeth, the wife of John Ashfield, a relative of Edmund Ashfield, the other knight for Oxfordshire in 1559. Elizabeth may have caused her father some anxiety: her legacy of 100 marks was only to be paid if her ‘towardly honesty and womanly behaviour’ satisfied the executors, one of whom was the archdeacon of Oxford. Among other bequests were twenty corselets to Edmund Brydges, 2nd Baron Chandos, and to William, 13th Lord Grey of Wilton, the cancellation of a £50 debt. When the heir, Henry, used plate which had been given to his father at the Tower, he was to ‘remember the [unspecified] donor that gave it me, and pray God to be merciful to his soul’.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. CP, iii. 126; Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v.), 201; PCC 13 Mellershe. His will refers to his wife as Anne, without describing her as the mother of any of his children. One son, Thomas, had been drowned in 1553. DNB (Brydges, Sir John) prob. copying Foxe calls Thomas ‘Sir’, but the 1558-9 commission of the peace, the Originalia Roll 1559 [E307/402(1)], and his own will, all have ‘esquire’.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, x. 358; xi. 491; xvi. 274, 356; xxi(1), p. 675; xxi(2), pp. 30, 448-9; CPR, 1548-9, p. 135; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, p. 415; APC, iv. 357, 376; v. 19, 25-6, 33; Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 76.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, x. 358; xiv(1), p. 609; xix(1), p. 492; xix(2), p. 476; xxi(1), p. 777; CPR, 1550-3, p. 66.
  • 4. PCC 13 Mellershe; CPR, 1548-9, p. 171; 1550-3, pp. 309-10; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, p. 130.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xiv(2), p. 362; xvii, 506; xix(1), pp. 153, 163; xx(1), p. 314; xxi(1), pp. 41, 675; xxi(2), pp. 30, 448-9.
  • 6. CPR, 1548-9, p. 135; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, p. 415; Narratives of the Reformation (Cam. Soc. lxxvii), 228 n.; Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary, 57.
  • 7. C142/127/140; Wards 7/102/72; PCC 13 Mellershe.