WYKES, Thomas, of Moreton Jeffries, Herefs.
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Family and Education
1st s. of William Wykes of Moreton Jeffries by Margaret, da. of Thomas ap Henry of Poston in Vowchurch. m. (1) Mary, da. of William Nicholas, 1s. 1da.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Richard Abingdon of Brockhampton, 5s. 4da.1
The Thomas Wykes, gentleman, who was returned for Leominster to Mary’s third Parliament was almost certainly the head of the family settled at Moreton Jeffries, which lies some ten miles distant from both Leominster and Hereford; none of his various namesakes elsewhere, including one mentioned in the will of will of Nicholas Wykes of Dodington, Gloucestershire, appears to have had any connexion with Herefordshire or the marches. What little has come to light about Wykes is mainly derived from his involvement in two lawsuits. The first was a Star Chamber suit brought in the reign of Henry VIII by Thomas ap Harry against William and Thomas Wykes, James Bromwich clerk, William Herford and James Garreway, for kidnapping his cousin George and taking him into Wales. If, as is likely, the plaintiff was the Thomas ap Harry who died in December 1522, the case can be assigned to the early years of the reign, a conclusion which is borne out by the appearance among the defendants of Thomas Wykes’s father. That William Wykes died about 1530 is suggested by his son’s testimony in the second suit, brought in Chancery by Richard Pauncefoot between 1547 and 1551: to Pauncefoot’s complaint that Wykes was evading arbitration in a dispute between them over the ownership of a messuage and 60 acres at Moreton Jeffries, Wykes replied that these had descended 60 years before from his grandfather to his father, who then held them for 28 years before he himself succeeded. This he had certainly done by 1542, when he alone appears in the Herefordshire muster book as responsible for the accoutrements of five archers and three billmen.2
Wykes was therefore well advanced in years when he attended his only Parliament. His return for Leominster, a borough which had twice elected his grandfather, but with which he himself had no clear connexion, is probably to be attributed to the influence of Sir John Price, secretary to the council in the marches and sheriff of Herefordshire at the time of the election; his fellow-Member Nicholas Depden almost certainly had council support, as had the two previous Members, John Evans and Lewis Jones. No link has been found between Wykes and Price save the nearness of their residences, although the fact that Price had married a granddaughter of Henry Wykes of Putney is suggestive of a family relationship. Wykes was not among the Members who quitted this Parliament without leave before its dissolution. This piece of negative evidence is the last trace found of him. His second son Richard was to be killed at Le Havre in 1563.3