THOMAS, John I (by 1490-1540/42), of Cornw.

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 1490.1

Offices Held

Yeoman of the guard bar 1511, serjeant-at-arms May 1513-d.; constable, Trematon castle, Cornw. May 1515-d.; comptroller and collector of customs, duchy of Cornw. May 1515-July 1517; havener, duchy of Cornw. May 1515; commr. subsidy, Cornw. 1523, stanneries 1532 auditor, commission for tenths of spiritualities, Cornw. 1535.2


John Thomas was a not uncommon name in Cornwall in the early 16th century, but only one man who bore it was of much consequence; he held several offices at court and in the duchy, he was prosperous (in 1523 his goods were valued at £120, more than four times as much as his next wealthiest namesake) and he lived in the hundred of Powder, in which Truro lay. On all these grounds he is to be identified with the junior Member returned by Truro to the Parliament of 1529. It is true that in 1533 Cromwell noted a vacancy at Truro which was to be filled at ‘the King’s pleasure’, and that as Thomas’s fellow-Member Roger Corbet did not die until 1538 an identification with one who was himself still alive in 1540 may appear faulty. It appears likely, however, that Cromwell wrote Truro in mistake for Lostwithiel, the borough which immediately precedes Truro on the list of Members of this Parliament and which itself had a vacancy following the death of Richard Bryan alias Croker; in that case there would be no reason to doubt that Thomas outlived the Parliament.3

If Thomas remained a Member until this long-drawn-out Parliament was dissolved he probably sat in its brief successor of June 1536, in accordance with the King’s request for the re-election of the previous Members, and may have done so in 1539 and 1542, two Parliaments for which the names of the Truro Members are lost. Of his part in the proceedings of the House nothing is known, but there are glimpses of his activity outside it. In 1531 he was ordered to keep watch on a servant of the Marquess of Exeter, four years later he assisted the important commission for tithes, and in he and others accepted on the crown’s behalf the movable effects of the suppressed house of Black Friars at Truro. Thomas was still alive early in 1540, when the havernership of the duchy was granted in reversion to another, but was dead by 22 Sept. 1542, when Nicholas Randall became constable of Trematon.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, i-iii, viii; Duchy Cornw. RO, 100, mm. 14, 15v; 496, m. 1.
  • 3. E179/87/128, m. 1; 315/78, ff. 136, 160v, 161v, 162v; LP Hen. VIII, vii. 56 citing SP1/82, ff. 59- 62.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, v, viii, xiii; F. Rose-Troup, Western Rebellion, 24.