THOROLD, Anthony (by 1520-94), of Blankney and Marston, Lincs.

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. by 1520, 1st s. of William Thorold of Hougham and Marston by his 1st w. Dorothy, da. of Thomas Leke of Halloughton, Notts. educ. G. Inn 1537. m. (1) Margaret, da. of Henry Sutton of Wellingore, 4s. inc. William 2da.; (2) Anne, da. and coh. of Sir John Constable of Kinoulton, Notts., wid. of George Babington, 1da. suc. fa. 20 Nov. 1569. Kntd. 6 May 1585.

Offices Held

J.p. Notts. c.1559, Lincs. (Kesteven, Holland) from 1554, sheriff 1571-2, dep. lt. from 1587; recorder, Grantham ?1551 to c.1584, of Lincoln 1559-70; Queen’s attorney in the north 1561-70; commr. subsidy, Lincs. (Holland) 1563; steward of 1st Earl of Lincoln in 1582.1


When the writ for the 1559 parliamentary election reached Lincoln, its recorder and former Member, George St. Poll, was dying, and the city decided first to return the 2nd end Earl of Rutland’s nominee, Robert Ferrers, then Robert Monson whom they probably had in mind as their new recorder. In the event, by 16 Jan. St. Poll had died, and Rutland had intervened to impose on them Thorold both as recorder and MP, in this way securing both seats for his nominees. In reply the Lincoln corporation snubbed Rutland by appointing Monson and (Sir) Christopher Wray as their legal advisers, voting Monson 40s. a year for life. Thorold counter-attacked, and ‘in consideration he should be diligent’ obtained the recordership for life at £4 a year. Thorold was described as ‘learned in the law’ but the defective records do not show his call to the bar. Any hostility between Monson and Thorold had evaporated by 1570, when Thorold resigned the recordership in favour of Monson.2

No evidence survives of any activities by Thorold in the Parliament of 1559. He was classified as ‘earnest in religion’ in the bishops’ reports of 1564, and he was not anxious to have his duties as attorney in the north extended by becoming a full member of the council in the north, as proposed by the archbishop of York in 1566. Thorold objected, to Cecil, that he was ‘unworthy’ and ‘unfit’. Perhaps he was already ill. In February 1570 it was reported that he was too sick to carry out his duties, and now that he had succeeded his father and was able to live as a country gentleman, he decided to resign both as attorney in the north and as recorder of Lincoln.3

In the following years, besides fulfilling the usual functions of a justice of the peace, Thorold was appointed by the Privy Council to a number of commissions. Several were concerned with disputed titles to land, one with faction quarrels in Lincoln and the victimisation of a former mayor, and another with an affray in Grantham in 1579. Thorold remained recorder of Grantham, his seat being only a few miles from the town, but his main interest was coursing with the 3rd Earl of Rutland, to whom he wrote, 28 Oct. 1575:

My dogs are all unbreathed. For this fortnight I have kept my house and have not been able to go forth of my house before this day. Neither have I seen any of my dogs run since Michaelmas last; so that they will not be in any good temper so soon ... If I live the day I will wait on you tomorrow at Belvoir. If the day might be deferred a week or two longer, hares would be better and the dogs would be set in breath, so we might see some trial of our dogs.4

One of his sons was in the household of the 4th Earl.

A ludicrous episode in 1582 was Thorold’s quarrel with his neighbour, Arthur Hall over the election of a new alderman at Grantham, where Thorold was still recorder. Thorold was too old for Hall to make ‘any convenient challenge’ to him, but things came to a head at the hiring fair at Billington, close to Marston, when Thorold got together 600 to 1,000 servants under his constable on the pretext that Hall intended to ‘pluck’ him ‘out of his house perforce, or fire it on his head’. This disorder the Council refused to tolerate, and the Earl of Lincoln was instructed to make inquiries. He excused himself, and it fell to the 3rd Earl of Rutland to investigate. Roger Manners commented, 29 Nov. 1582, ‘I am glad to hear that Mr. Thorold in his old age is become so lively that he is charged with making a riot or an unlawful assembly’. Three years after this escapade, Thorold received his knighthood.5

Thorold made his will 11 Apr. 1594, arranging for the disposal and running of his farms, and leaving bequests to his daughters. His servants were to receive a year’s wages, and the poor of 15 parishes near Marston received small sums. On 17 May Thorold added a codicil giving his ‘singular good lord’, Lord Burghley, £40 in old angels

as well for a dutiful remembrance of the manifold benefits and favours by his lordship to me in my life time showed, as also in hope that his lordship will stand and be good lord to my executors for the benefit of my children’s children, being poor infants, in such suits as they shall hereafter make unto his lordship for the furtherance of my said last will and testament.

Thorold died 26 June and the will was proved on 15 Nov.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. C142/155/167; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 982-3; HMC Hatfield, iii. 297; APC, xxv. 25; Recs. Commrs. Sewers (Lincoln Rec. Soc. liv), p. lxxviii; J. W. F. Hill, Tudor and Stuart Lincoln, 69-71; HMC Ancaster, 10; Reid, Council of the North, 489; H. G. Wright, Life and Works of Arthur Hall of Grantham, 101.
  • 2. Hill, 69-71, 98.
  • 3. Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 26; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 49; Recs. Commrs. Sewers, p. lxxviii; Lansd. 8, ff. 77-82; SP15/13/15; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, pp. 222, 295; Hill, 71; Reid, 489.
  • 4. APC, xi. 188, 259; xii. 18, 56; xiii. 345; xix. 172-3, 263-4; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 322; HMC Ancaster, 10; HMC Rutland, i. passim.
  • 5. Wright, 99-101; HMC Rutland, i. 145.
  • 6. PCC 80 Dixy; C142/239/113.