CHESTER, Thomas (by 1524-83), of Bristol and Almondsbury, Glos.
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Family and Education
Alderman, Bristol, sheriff 1559-60, mayor 1569-70; j.p. Glos. 1574.3
Chester was a Bristol merchant who early in Elizabeth’s reign purchased an estate at Almondsbury, some eight miles north of the town. He was twice returned to the House of Commons at by-elections. The date of his return to the 1563 Parliament is uncertain: the ‘Mr. Chester’ who served on committees on 23 Jan. and 6 Mar. 1563 may well have been Sir William Chester. During the second session of the 1563 Parliament, the Bristol Members, both merchants, took the opportunity to promote a bill—repealed in 1571—limiting Bristol’s foreign trade to members of the local company. It is impossible to be certain whether the following committees of 1576 should be attributed to Thomas or Dominick Chester, but on balance Thomas is more likely to have served on those concerning butlerage of wines (21 Feb.), aliens (24 Feb.) and wharves and quays (13 Mar.).4
By 1573 Chester was living as a country gentleman. For five months of that year he was entrusted with the custody of the Earl of Desmond’s son. His growing influence in the county and the friendship of persons such as Sir Richard Berkeley, named as overseer in his will, account for his achieving knight of the shire status for the second session of the 1572 Parliament after Giles Brydges succeeded to the family peerage. Chester died on 28 Aug. 1583. His will, made in September 1582 and proved on 9 Feb. 1584, provided for the widow, his daughter, the children of his brother Dominick, servants and several Bristol charities.5
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: P. W. Hasler
- 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
- 2. Ibid. C193/32.
- 3. NRA 4500, p. 1; PCC 36 Butts; Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 39; S. Rudder, Glos. 222-4; A. B. Beaven, Bristol Lists, 166; Bristol recs., mayor’s audits, apprentice registers and burgess registers.
- 4. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. xxiv. 9; xxxi. 245; xlii. 108-9; Rudder, 222-4, 458; S. Seyer, Mems. Bristol, 238; LP Hen. VIII, xv. 146; C142/210/73; APC, iii. 485; v. 357-8; vi. 159, 207; vii. 193; CJ, i. 107, 108, 114.
- 5. CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 629; Lansd. 104, ff. 100-1; PRO, Baskerville transcripts of Dudley pprs. i. 224; APC, viii. 161; x. 16; xii. 158-9; C142/210/73; PCC 36 Butts.