HUGHES, Thomas (d.1626), of Gray's Inn and Wells, Som.
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Family and Education
?s. of Thomas Hughes of Cheshire by Catherine, da. of Mathew ap Griffith. educ. ?Shrewsbury 1562; Queens’, Camb. 1571, BA 1575, MA 1579, fellow 1576-82; Gray’s Inn 1579, called 1585. m. Frances, da. of Nicholas Mynn, 2s. 3da. Kntd. 4 Nov. 1619.1
J.p.q. Som. from c.1593; prothonotary and clerk of the Crown, Brec., Glam., Mon., Rad. 1616; dean of the chapel at Gray’s Inn 1618.2
In some unascertained way, Hughes attracted the notice of the Queen who, 24 Apr. 1576, asked the master and fellows of Queens’ to elect him to a vacant fellowship. After further pressure from the Privy Council some three months later Hughes was elected, staying long enough to take his MA before entering Gray’s Inn to begin a legal career.3
That it was this man who sat for Lyme Regis (presumably through the influence of the Earl of Warwick) in the 1586 Parliament is clear from D’Ewes’s statement that on 13 Mar. 1587 the bill against fraudulent conveyances made by fugitives was delivered to Mr. Hughes of Gray’s Inn. Warwick’s brother, the Earl of Leicester, was chamberlain of Chester and had considerable interests in that part of the country, and it is possible that it was through him that Hughes first came to the notice of the Queen.
After his career at the bar, Hughes returned to Somerset, where he was an active justice. He was knighted in 1619, and died intestate before 13 May 1626, when administration both of his goods and those of his wife, Lady Frances Hughes, was granted to Thomas, his son and heir. Hughes was author of The Misfortunes of Arthur, a tragedy in blank verse on the Senecan model, performed before the Queen during the Gray’s Inn entertainments at Greenwich in February 1588. Modern critics have seen in the play an allegory, in ‘justification for the execution of Mary Stuart’.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: Roger Virgoe
- 1. Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 59.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 415; G. Inn Pens. Bk. i. 232.
- 3. CPR, 1558-60, p. 327; Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, iii. 4-5.
- 4. Pens. Bk. i. 66, 78, 100, 177, 232; APC, 1618-19, pp. 471-2, 474-5; PCC admon. act bk. 1626, f. 80; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 89; Som. Q. Sess. Recs. (Som. Rec. Soc. xxiii); DNB, x. 188; I. Ribner, The Eng. Hist. Play in the Age of Shakespeare, 229-36; D’Ewes, 414; N. and Q. cc. 371-3.