SCOTT, Thomas (c.1563-1610), of Scot's Hall, Smeeth, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. c.1563, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Scott of Scot’s Hall by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Baker†, of Sissinghurst, Kent; bro. of Edward Scott and Sir John Scott. educ. Hart Hall, Oxf. 1580. m. (1) Mary, da. of John Knatchbull of Mersham, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) bef. 1587, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Thomas Honywood of Sene, Newington, s.p. suc. fa. 30 Dec. 1594.1
Capt. of lancers, Northbourne camp, 1588, 1589; j.p.q. Kent from c.1596, sheriff 1601-2; commr. survey crown lands in Kent 1608.2
Scott was brought into Parliament for Aylesbury by his father, who was knight of the shire for Kent in 1586. Sir Thomas had already tried to secure him a parliamentary seat at Hythe in 1581. That it was the son who sat for Aylesbury in 1586 is clear from D’Ewes, 8 Mar. 1587: ‘Sir Thomas Scott and his son have leave to depart’. The Scotts were related by marriage to Thomas Smythe I, the customer of London, who himself represented Aylesbury, as did two of his sons. Thomas Sackville, the 1563 Aylesbury MP, was also a relative.3
For the eldest son of a leading Kent landowner, surprisingly little is known about Scott, the absence of whose name from national and local records is all the more surprising when the active lives of his younger brothers are comparatively well documented. Several of them married into important families; two were knighted and sat for Kent in Parliament. That Sir John Scott, the second son, was knight of the shire and deputy lieutenant while his elder brother was still alive and head of the family, testifies to the importance of the Scotts in Kent and, at the same time, accentuates Thomas’s minor role. He had no military experience, was not knighted, performed few services for the county (though holding the shrievalty once), and neither of his two wives belonged to families which were his social equal or the equal of those into which his brothers married. The reason for this undistinguished obscurity is matter for speculation. Perhaps, as a letter from a Kent neighbour, Thomas Wotton, suggests, efforts had been made to estrange Sir Thomas Scott from his eldest son, though if so they were reconciled by the time of Sir Thomas’s death. Thomas, his principal executor and residuary legatee, inherited seven manors, his seat at Scot’s Hall and all his goods. In 1599 Thomas leased three manors to Anthony St. Leger and Richard Smythe, and three years later made a similar grant to Thomas Honywood and John Gibbon. The lands were to revert to Thomas’s younger brothers, John and Edward, and their families. Scott was one of those appointed, in September 1608, to help the lord lieutenant, Edward, Lord Wotton, to survey the Crown’s lands in Kent. Earlier, he had acted as trustee for the lands of his brother, Sir John Scott, when he was abroad in the army.4
Scott’s own military service was limited to Kent. In 1588 and in the following year he served as a captain of lancers in the army assembled at Northbourne, near Dover, under his father’s command, to resist any Spanish landing. Later, he appears from time to time among the officers for the county musters, and he helped to supply men to watch the coast at Romney Marsh. In 1604 he attended upon the lord lieutenant when he welcomed the constable of Spain.5
Scott died on 24 Sept. 1610,6 leaving his brother John as heir: the last known reference to him appears to be in September 1608. No will has been found, but a reference in an indenture reveals that he made one. This mentions that he left £2,000 to his niece, Elizabeth Scott, and his widow was to be looked after by Sir John; on the latter’s death, which occurred in 1616, she was to receive a life annuity of £240. She died in May 1627 and was buried in Brabourne church. By that time the lord of Scot’s Hall was Scott’s younger brother Sir Edward.
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. J. R. Scott, Scott of Scot’s Hall, App. lxix. Elsewhere (p. 213) the author says that Scott’s first wife lived until 1600. Except where otherwise stated this biography is based upon this work.
- 2. SP13/Case F/11.
- 3. G. Wilks, Barons of the Cinque Ports and Parl. Rep. Hythe, 62.
- 4. Thomas Wotton’s Letter Bk. 1574-86 ed. Eland, p. 65; PCC 1 Scott; Arch. Cant. 1. 158.
- 5. Arch. Cant. xi. 389; APC, xxx. 436; HMC Foljambe, 37; HMC Hatfield, xiv. 148; xv. 215; Egerton 860, f. 29; Add. 33924, f. 23; M. Teichman Derville, The Level and Liberty of Romney Marsh, 125-7.
- 6. C142/322/178.