RIVETT, Thomas (1553-1610), of Rattlesden, Suff.

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



1604 - 24 Mar. 1610

Family and Education

b. 23 May 1553, o.s. of James Rivett of the Inner Temple, London, and Great Bricett, and Rattlesden, Suff. and Dorothy, da. of John Sone of Wantisden, Suff.1 educ. ?St. John’s, Camb. 1566; I. Temple 1572.2 m. lic. 30 Sept. 1583, Katherine, da. of William Cotton of Panfield, Essex, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da.3 suc. fa. 1588, aged 34 years 8 months.4 d. 24 Mar. 1610.5

Offices Held

J.p. Suff. 1598-at least c.1605;6 commr. subsidy, Suff. and Bury St. Edmunds 1608.7


Rivett’s father, James, a successful Inner Temple barrister, originally came from Stowmarket in Suffolk. He surrendered his chambers in 1567, shortly after serving as treasurer of the Inn, and moved back to Suffolk, where he already owned sufficient land to be assessed at £16 for the subsidy. He made further purchases and was custos rotulorum by the time of his death in 1588.8 Rivett himself inherited an estate in central Suffolk, including a mansion house in Rattlesden, and sufficient capital to operate as a moneylender. He was returned for Orford in 1597, the first member of his family to be elected to the Commons, and was added to the Suffolk bench the following year.9 He is not known to have stood for re-election in 1601.

Rivett was returned unopposed at Aldeburgh in 1604, although the borough’s other seat was contested. It is not known how he secured his election. His only committee in the first Stuart Parliament (8 June 1604) was for the bill to frustrate a release unduly procured by Edmund Penning, the younger son of an Ipswich family.10 He made no recorded speeches.

Imprisoned for debt in the King’s Bench gaol by 1608, Rivett was presumably released shortly thereafter as he was granted by the king five-sixths of an outlaw’s goods and chattels in October of that year.11 He drew up his will on 23 Feb. 1610, at which time he described himself as ‘weak and sick of body’. On 5 Mar. he obtained an order of the House to be heard with his counsel on a private bill introduced on behalf of Sir Francis Cheyne; it was never committed. He died on 24 Mar., presumably in the King’s Bench prison, and was buried, not in the church of Rattlesden, as he had wanted ‘in decent manner fitting my estate and calling’, but at St. George’s, Southwark, where the gaol was situated. His will shows that he had over £2,700 out on loan, of which £1,000 was advanced to the father of Michael Molyns*. He was the only member of the Rattlesden branch to sit in Parliament, but his widow, many years later, married Sir Thomas Beckingham*.12

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Vis. Suss. ed. Metcalfe, 63, 205; CITR, i. 185.
  • 2. Al. Cant.; I. Temple database of admiss.
  • 3. Vis. Suss. 162; Bp. of London Mar. Lics. 1520-1610 ed. G.J. Armytage (Harl. Soc. xxv), 122.
  • 4. C142/220/71.
  • 5. Add. 19146, f. 293.
  • 6. C231/1, f. 52v; C66/1682.
  • 7. SP14/31/1.
  • 8. CITR, i. 240, 244; W.A. Copinger, Manors of Suff. ii. 273; vi. 148, 319; Suff. in 1568 ed. S.H.A. Hervey (Suff. Green Bks. xii), 235.
  • 9. C142/220/71; C2/Jas.I/B12/42; HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 295.
  • 10. CJ, i. 234b; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 263.
  • 11. C2/Jas.I/B12/42; C66/1753/5.
  • 12. PROB 11/116, f. 43v; CJ, i. 406b; Vis. Suff. 162, 205.