TYRWHITT, Tristram (c.1530-90), of Grainsby, 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. c.1530, yr. s. of Sir William Tyrwhitt (d.1541), of Scotter, Lincs. (sheriff, Lincs. 1537) by Isabel, da. of William Girlington of Normanby, wid. of Christopher Kelke; bro. of Marmaduke and Sir Robert. m. Alice, da. of Sir William Skipwith of Ormsby, Lincs., d.s.p.2

Offices Held

Gent. waiter to 2nd Earl of Rutland 1550; commr. sewers for E. Midland counties 1555;j.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) from c.1559, rem. by 1574, rest. by c.1586; camp-master to the Earl of Sussex’s army 1569.3


At least six members of this family sat in Parliament during the Tudor period. Three of them, Robert, Tristram and Marmaduke, were the sons of Sir William Tyrwhitt of Scotter, who had held a prominent position in Lincolnshire affairs. Tristram Tyrwhitt was a soldier. He entered the service of Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland, and was campaigning with him in Scotland and the north in 1549 and 1550. In the latter year he was called ‘gentleman waiter’ to the Earl. Later, in 1557, he served with the Dudleys in Picardy, taking part in the battle of St. Quentin. By 1569 he had become camp-master in the army which the Earl of Sussex and Lord Clinton led against the northern rebels.4

Tyrwhitt owed his return for Huntingdon to his uncle, Sir Robert Tyrwhitt of Leighton Bromswold, but his return for Derby is not easy to understand. Two explanations suggest themselves. Tyrwhitt’s sister married Godfrey Foljambe of Walton, and Marmaduke Tyrwhitt was an executor of the will of their son Godfrey. This connexion may have introduced Tyrwhitt to Derby. Alternatively, the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, who probably enjoyed influence in Derby, was married for many years to Gertrude Manners, aunt of the 3rd Earl of Rutland at the time of the 1572 election, and may have found a seat there for one of Rutland’s followers.5

About 1574 Tyrwhitt got into hot water. He was struck off the commission of the peace, forfeited his lands (though his wife was allowed to remain in residence), and possibly imprisoned. Nothing further is heard of him until he appears in Devon in November 1577, dedicating a treatise on the duties and office of a commander-in-chief to the Earl of Leicester, whom he hoped to accompany to the Netherlands.

Though he had some Catholic relations, and was described as ‘indifferent in religion’ in 1564, he appears in this work a puritan, with a belief in the justness of the Dutch revolt. He exhorted Leicester to

step forward boldly, go on with what you have begun; the cause is just, it is honest, it is Godly. Be assured that, as the shadow follows the body, so eternal honour shall follow the revengers of the breach of common faith, the rescuers of the church, the saviours of the afflicted ... The Lord is so zealous of his elect, and of those who travail in his vineyard, that he does not only give them grace to perform his good purposes, but also does direct them, always by good means.

Tyrwhitt offered to spend his ‘blood and life’ at the Earl’s feet, but there is no evidence that he saw further active service. Yet he must have re-established himself in order to be attached to Lord Hunsdon’s force in the personal defence of the Queen. In October that year he brought home official letters from the English ambassador in Paris. He re-appeared on the Lincolnshire commission of the peace in the mid-1580s and was returned to Parliament again, for Great Grimsby, near his residence at Grainsby. His name does not occur in the known surviving records of any of his Parliaments.6

Tyrwhitt was buried at Grainsby 10 May 1590. Administration of his property was granted in the Lincoln consistory court that year.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: B.D.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 1020; R. P. Tyrwhitt, Fam. Tyrwhitt, 28 seq.
  • 3. CPR, 1554-5, p. 109; Lansd. 13, f. 48; 737, f. 145; 1218, f. 18; Egerton 2345, f. 20.
  • 4. HMC Rutland, iv. 356, 358-9, 361, 363; Lansd. 13, f. 48; 207c, f. 398.
  • 5. Lincs. Peds. 1020; J. C. Cox, Derby Recs. 138; HMC Hatfield, v. 392.
  • 6. C193/32/9; Egerton 2345, f. 20; APC, viii. 286; Harl. 2326; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 27; Lansd. 53, f. 188; HMC Foljambe, 56; APC, xvi. 311.
  • 7. Admons. in Consistory Ct. of Lincoln, 1540-1659, p. 138.