CARTHORPE, Thomas (d.1426), of Scarborough, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



May 1413
Mar. 1416

Family and Education

s. and h. of Thomas Carthorpe of Scarborough. m. 25 Jan. 1391, Margaret (fl. 1426), da. and h. of Robert Rillington (d. June 1394) of Scarborough by his 1st w. Joan Bingley, 4s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Bailiff, Scarborough Mich. 1399-1403, 1406-7, 1409-10, 1412-13, 1414-15, 1418-19, 1424-5.3

J.p. Scarborough 10 Feb. 1411, 1 Dec. 1413.


Carthorpe was the son and namesake of Thomas Carthorpe of Scarborough, and as such he received a royal pardon in November 1383 for reasons now unknown. His position as one of the leading figures in the town was achieved, in part at least, through his wife, Margaret, the daughter and heir of Robert Rillington, a rich and influential local merchant. By the terms of the marriage contract, which was finalized in January 1391, Rillington not only promised to give the couple two tenements on the cliffs at Scarborough, but also to build them a new home there, to the value of 100 marks. In addition, Carthorpe received a boat and £20 in cash from his father-in-law, who died three years later while in office as bailiff of Scarborough. Rillington had already settled the reversion of a substantial property near the church of St. Sepulchre upon Margaret, who was to inherit after the death of her widowed stepmother, but it looks as if she and Carthorpe gained immediate possession of the rest of his extensive estates. At any rate, Carthorpe was called to account at the Exchequer on behalf of the deceased, whose property was said to be in his hands.4

Despite his new-found wealth, Carthorpe did not play much part in municipal affairs for some time. He attested a deed in Scarborough in 1395, and was one of the witnesses to the will of his neighbour, Peter Wright, two years later; but it was not until 1399 that he began the first of many terms as bailiff. One of his official duties was to hold the parliamentary elections for Scarborough, and before long, in 1402, he returned himself to the House of Commons. (He did so again in May 1413, but there is no reason to suppose that the electors would otherwise have been reluctant to choose him.) Not much evidence survives about Carthorpe’s commercial activities, although they were evidently quite wide-ranging. At some point before October 1407 he sued a Nottingham man for a debt of £26, but was unable to recover the money. He himself appeared as a defendant, in July 1412, along with a group of Scarborough shipowners who were accused of acts of piracy against a Hanse merchant, and ordered to pay damages of £196 as compensation. Their refusal to comply led to the issue of orders for their arrest, although Carthorpe himself denied taking any part in the affair, and offered substantial securities in Chancery as an earnest of his readiness to prove his innocence. It seems quite likely that he sought election to Parliament in May 1413 — and perhaps again three years later — in order to argue his case more effectively in person at Westminster.5

Carthorpe drew up his will on 11 Nov. 1426, just one year after discharging the last of his ten terms as bailiff of Scarborough, and died within the month. He left four sons, one of whom had become a friar, and a daughter. His widow, Margaret, naturally retained the holdings which she had inherited from her father, but he left enough property of his own to ensure that all of his children were well provided for during her lifetime. His eldest son, Robert, and his widow were named together as his executors.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


Variant: Carethorp.

  • 1. W. Prynne, Brevia Parliamentaria Rediviva, iv. 1113.
  • 2. C67/29 m. 5; E368/167, Trin. m. 2; Borthwick Inst. York, York registry wills, i. f. 68; ii. ff. 500-500v.
  • 3. C219/10/2, 13/3; E101/482/7; E159/176, Easter m. 11, 186, Mich. m. 26, 172 m. 121, 173 m. 185v, 174 m. 196v, 175 m. 160; E368/179 m. 116v, 180 m. 106, 182 m. 135v, 183 m. 126, 185 m. 98v, 187 m. 129, 191 m. 191, 192 m. 121; CPR, 1401-5, p. 202.
  • 4. C67/29 m. 5; E368/167, Trin. m. 2; York registry wills, i. f. 68.
  • 5. C219/10/2; York registry wills, ii. f. 12; White Vellum Bk. Scarborough ed. Jeayes, no. 44A; CPR, 1405-8, p. 397; 1408-13, p. 343; CCR, 1409-13, pp. 283-4, 360.
  • 6. York registry wills, ii. ff. 500-500v.