EYNNS, Thomas (d.1578), of York and Heslington, Yorks.

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



Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553

Family and Education

4th s. of Thomas Eynns of Stretton, Salop by Joyce, da. of Humphrey Gatacre. m. Elizabeth (d.1585), da. of Sir Edward Neville of Billingbear, Berks. and gentlewoman of the privy chamber to Queen Elizabeth, prob: s.p.3

Offices Held

Servant of the Duke of Richmond c.1535-6, sec. to Prince Edward by 1543-7; ?dep. sec., council in the north 1542, sec. from 4 Feb. 1550; esquire of the body by 1553; j.p. Yorks. from 1559, Cumb., Northumb., Westmld. from c.1573.4


Of Shropshire origin, Eynns was described as of York and London by November 1553. It was not until 1567 that he entered on the 21-year lease, promised him by Queen Mary, of the manor and lands of Heslington, at an annual rent of £10: the manor house there he bought from Christopher Hatton I. Through the marriage of his sister Margaret, he was connected with the Thynnes of Longleat.5

As secretary to the council in the north Eynns assisted in a revision of the council’s instructions as issued to the new president, Henry, 2nd Earl of Rutland in 1561. In his capacity of keeper of the signet, he was allowed to seal only ‘such documents as he is authorised to do by the president and some of the council bound to attendance, and he is to deliver up the signet in case of absence’. His salary was £33 6s.8d. Huntingdon, when president, described him as ‘pious and honest, though subject to infirmities as we are all that carry flesh’. In the bishops’ returns of 1564 he was listed as ‘a favourer of religion’. He was a member of one or more commissions to inquire into offences against the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity, and of an extraordinary commission of the peace, appointed in 1561. The latter commission was granted wide powers in Yorkshire, Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland, the bishopric of Durham and in York, Carlisle, Kingston-upon-Hull, Newcastle and Berwick.6

Eynns’s returns for the Yorkshire boroughs of Thirsk, Aldborough and Boroughbridge were all due to his position on the council in the north. The only record of him in any Elizabethan Parliament is that on 19 Feb. 1563 he was licensed to be absent for ‘weighty matters’. He owned little property. Besides that at Heslington, he obtained the 21-year lease, from 1561, of the rectory of Clifton, late of the monastery of St. Mary by the walls of York. He left the house at Heslington to his wife, together with the prebend of Bugthorpe and 759 ounces of plate. His will was dated 4 Jan. 1578. He died 19 Aug. the same year, and was buried in York minster.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 235, 359; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 359; M.I. to Elizabeth Eynns in York minster.
  • 4. OR Index, i. p. xxix; Stowe 571, f. 19; B. Botfield, Stemmata Botevilliana (1858 ed.), cccclxxi; Reid, Council of the North, 170-1, 492; CPR, 1553-4, p. 445; 1563-6, pp. 21-2; Lansd. 1218; Egerton 2345, f. 9.
  • 5. CPR, 1553-4, p. 445; 1557-8, p. 303; 1566-9, p. 7.
  • 6. Reid, 188; CSP Dom. 1566-79, p. 463; Lansd. 18, f. 196; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 71; CPR, 1560-3, pp. 171, 187-8.
  • 7. D’Ewes, 85; CPR, 1560-3, p. 47; Vis. Yorks . (Harl. Soc. xvi), 359 n.; Botfield, cccclxxi, seq.