DUFFIELD, Thomas (1492/93-1579), of East Grinstead, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. 1492/93. m. Alice, 2s. at least 1da.2

Offices Held


Thomas Duffield reported his long association with East Grinstead before a special commission of the duchy of Lancaster held there in 1567, ‘being there born and all the days of his life (for the most part) hath there inhabited’. In electing him as its senior Member to the third Marian Parliament the borough thus complied with the Queen’s directive for the return on that occasion of resident Members, and in so far as he was not among the Members who withdrew early from that Parliament he could be held to have done his duty to both crown and borough. Of his life and career in the town, however, little has come to light. He may have attended the school held in the parish church of East Grinstead, at which his relative John Duffield had his education, and have been the Thomas Duffield who in 1524 lived with his brother Robert and was described as his servant. Later he leased a house in the town and some of the lands called Harwardes or Harwoods and Brockhurst which had belonged to the fraternity of St. Catherine there: he also held the manor of Rowsese, which he sold to Thomas Hasell in 1561. Two episodes appear to reflect Duffield’s disposition towards lawlessness. In 1541 he was involved in the attempt to raid the park of (Sir) Nicholas Pelham at Laughton which led to the execution of Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre of the South: he was one of those who met at Dacre’s house in Hurstmonceaux in April to plan the venture but wisely refrained from taking an active part and so avoided indictment. Three years later he attempted to seize lands claimed by Robert Lewknor of Leigh, Kent.3

Duffield was still living at East Grinstead when he made his will on 21 Jan. 1579. He asked to be buried in East Grinstead churchyard and left 3s.4d. to provide meat and drink for the poor. He bequeathed a cottage to his wife Alice and his books for division between his sons Thomas and Joseph. The residue of his goods he left to his wife, whom he appointed his executrix. John Payne, a local resident, was appointed overseer and the two witnesses were Edward and John Duffield. The will was proved in June 1579.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. C219/282/14; Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 2. Aged 74 in 1567, Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxvi. 184. E. Suss. RO, Lewes archdeaconry wills A7/128.
  • 3. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx. 375; xxxvi. 184; lvi. 137; CPR, 1549-51, p. 375; 1553, p. 82; Suss. Arch. Colls. xix. 175; C1/1139/18-19.
  • 4. E. Suss. RO, Lewes archdeaconry wills A7/128.