DARRELL, Sir Thomas (1553-1616), of Gainsborough, Lincs.; formerly of Pagham, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. 10 Aug. 1553, 1st s. of Edward Darrell† of Newtimber, Suss., clerk of acatry, and Mary, da. and h. of Marmaduke Darrell of Bowley, Pagham. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Robert Morley of Glynde, Suss., 1s.; (2) Anne or Susan, da. of William Muschamp of Unsted and Godalming, Surr., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da.; (3) 27 July 1598, Bridget (d. by 1617), da. and h. of Richard Corby of Great Leake, Notts., wid. of William Towers of Gainsborough, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1573;1 kntd. 23 July 1603.2 d. by 25 Aug. 1616.3

Offices Held

J.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) by c.1605-at least 1610;4 commr. sewers, Lincs. and Notts. 1607, Lincs. 1608, Newark, Notts. 1610.5


John Darrell migrated from Yorkshire to Kent in the reign of Henry IV and sat for his adopted county in seven Lancastrian parliaments. Darrell himself came from a junior branch of his family that produced many Crown servants in the Tudor and early Stuart periods, of whom the most distinguished was his younger brother, the cofferer of the household Sir Marmaduke Darrell, the father of Sir Sampson*.6 This cadet branch eschewed the recusancy of the senior Scotney line and embraced Calvinist doctrine; Darrell’s father Edward prayed that his children might be ‘of the number of his [God’s] elect’. Edward, who died in 1573, bequeathed a life interest in two-thirds of his estate to Darrell’s mother, who survived till 1602.7 After his third marriage in 1598, Darrell took up residence in Gainsborough, where his wife owned property and he subsequently sold his lands in Sussex. Knighted at the Coronation in 1603, he purchased the manor of Horkstow in Lincolnshire in 1607.8

By 1604 Darrell’s eldest son Edward had married heiress of Francis Denman, and consequently come into possession of both the manor and rectory of West Retford, a suburb of East Retford on the other side of the River Idle. It was presumably this connection that brought Darrell into Parliament for the borough in 1604.9 Once in the Commons, Darrell made no recorded speeches but was appointed to seven committees. In the closing weeks of the first session he was among those ordered to consider three bills: to remove obstructions to navigable rivers (23 June), remove excuses for absence from church (27 June), and confirm letters patent (5 July).10 On 22 Feb. 1606 he was granted leave for 20 days ‘for some special occasions nearly concerning him’, and may have missed the whole of the second session.11 In the third session he was appointed to committees to enable Herbert Pelham* to sell his Lincolnshire estate (20 Feb.), naturalize a London brewer (10 Mar.), regulate ironworks in the metropolitan area (11 Mar.), and prevent the sub-division of tenements (15 May).12 He left no further trace on the records of Parliament. The Lincoln consistory court granted administration of his estate to his son Edward in 1616. His second son acquired a Cornish estate by marriage, and was the ancestor of Henry Darell, who sat for Liskeard between 1696 and 1701.13

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, xi. 122-3; xii. 75; Lincs. AO, Lincoln Consist. Ct. B/65/1617; ex inf. Mrs. Jennifer Miller.
  • 2. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 118.
  • 3. Lincs. AO, Lincoln Consist. Ct. BI/17/1616; ex inf. Mrs. Jennifer Miller.
  • 4. C66/1682; STAC 8/167/13.
  • 5. C181/2, ff. 48v, 75, 119v.
  • 6. G.E. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 86, 285.
  • 7. PROB 11/55, f. 240, 11/99, f. 206v.
  • 8. VCH Suss. iv. 231; L. Fleming, Hist. Pagham, i. 163-4; E115/120/142, (ex inf. Mrs. Jennifer Miller); Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 290.
  • 9. Thoroton, Notts. ed. Throsby, iii. 445; D. Marcombe, English Small Town Life, 74, 166.
  • 10. CJ, i. 245b, 247b, 252b.
  • 11. Ibid. 273a.
  • 12. Ibid. 338a, 351a, 351b, 374a.
  • 13. HP Commons, 1690-1715, iii. 839.