DYNHAM, Thomas (by 1508-63), of Boarstall, Bucks.

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



Family and Education

b. by 1508, 3rd s. of Sir Thomas Dynham and bro. of John. educ. St. John’s, Camb. by 1522, ?M. Temple. m. by 1547, Catherine, da. and h. of Leonard Rede of Boarstall, 1s.2

Offices Held

Commr. chantries, Dorset and Som., Bath and Wells 1546; chief forester and steward, Bernwood and Shot-over forest, Oxon. and Bucks. 1547-d.3


As a younger son Thomas Dynham inherited little at his father’s death in 1519 and it was doubtless to prepare him for a career that he was sent to St. John’s College, Cambridge, where in 1522 he was one of the ‘scholastici’; he may have gone on to the Middle Temple, for a ‘master Denham’ was named as an alternative for the steward of the Christmas revels there in 1551. His mother married as her second husband Sir William Fitzwilliam of Milton, Northamptonshire, and had many friends at court.4

It was probably to such family connexions that Dynham owed his return for Plympton to the Parliament of 1547. His father was the illegitimate son of John, Lord Dynham (d.1501), a Devon magnate who had been steward of the forfeited Courtenay lands, including Plympton, and his mother’s reference in her will of 18 Jan. 1540 (proved on 23 Oct. 1542) to £5 which she had lent to Lady Carew suggests that the Dynhams had remained on friendly terms with the families of Lord Dynham’s sisters and coheirs. Sir Peter Carew was sheriff at the time of Dynham’s return: like Lord Dynham, Carew was related to the Champernons, a family influential in Plympton, and his uncle Sir Gawain Carew, knight of the shire in 1547, was later to sit for the borough. The same links with Devon may have contributed in 1529 to the return for Tavistock of Dynham’s eldest brother John. Both Dynham and his fellow-Member Edward Darrell might be expected to have had some connexion with the Protector Somerset, who had been granted the manor, borough, castle and hundred of Plympton in July 1547, and in Darrell’s case it is possible to suggest several channels through which he could have approached Somerset. Dynham’s claims are less certain but he was probably a distant kinsman of John Denham who was himself related by marriage to the Stourtons. They were west country neighbours of the Protector and both Sir William Stourton, 7th Baron Stourton, and his son Charles served under Somerset in the Scottish campaigns of the 1540s. In October 1551 a ‘Mr. Denham’ was Charles Stourton’s secretary.5

Nothing is known of Dynham’s role in the Commons and little of his life outside it except for his consolidation by sale and purchase of the estate in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire that he had acquired through his marriage to an heiress. When he died on 16 Feb. 1563 his son John, a boy of 14, inherited all his property by a will dated six days before. During John’s minority, Dynham entrusted the care of the Queen’s forest of Bernwood and Shotover (where the offices he held had passed to him from his father-in-law) to Sir Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex. The executors were (Sir) Richard Sackville II a kinsman of his mother, Thomas Farmer a Middle Templar, Thomas Maryett and Henry Vyne. Four days later Dynham was buried with pomp at St. Bride’s, Fleet Street, Sackville being the principal mourner and the sermon being preached by the dean of Westminster. In the following year the wardship of his heir was granted to Edward, 3rd Lord Windsor.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. C219/282/2; Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from education. Coll. Top. et Gen. vii. 257; PCC 25 Ayloffe; Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 162; Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 64; LP Hen. VIII, add.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 49.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, add.; M. T. Recs. i. 82; M. E. Finch, Five Northants. Fams. (Northants. Rec. Soc. xix), 102 and ped. at end of vol.
  • 5. VCH Bucks. iv. 110; J. B. Rowe, Plympton Erle, 21; PCC 10 Spert; HMC Hatfield, i. 92.
  • 6. VCH Bucks. iv. 12; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 49, 332; 1550-3, pp. 416, 431; 1553, p. 10; 1563-6, p. 177; C142/136/2; Wards 7/10/48; PCC 22 Chayre; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 300-1.