THORNBOROUGH, Edward (b.c.1563), of Shoddesden, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1563, 1563, 1st s. of John Thornborough of Shoddesden by Margaret, da. of Sir John Kingsmill of Sydmonton. educ. Jesus, Oxf. 1575. m. Mary, da. of Edward Chester of Royston, Herts.

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The Thornboroughs of Shoddesden were a branch of the better-known Yorkshire family, as was also the line at Salisbury from which sprang John Thornborough, bishop of Worcester. Edward Thornborough’s father sold Shoddesden to his brother-in-law Richard Kingsmill between 1556, when he married, and 1561, but he continued to describe himself as of Shoddesden and to reside in Hampshire of which county he was a j.p. and in 1577-8 sheriff. He was also admitted to the freedom of Southampton in 1569.

Apart from the fact of his matriculation, nothing is certainly known of Edward Thornborough’s career until his return to the Parliament of 1593, but if he can be identified with the Edward Thornborough who, at the end of the century, bewailed to Cecil his sickness, poverty and loss of official prospects, he had spent much of his time at court seeking advancement under the Cecils’ patronage. Other pointers in the same direction are his marriage to a daughter of Colonel Edward Chester, of the Hertfordshire family, who was much in Burghley’s confidence while engaged in the Netherlands, and his brother John’s entry into service with Sir Thomas Cecil.

Thornborough’s return in 1593 for Ludgershall, which lies just across the Wiltshire border from Shoddesden, doubtless reflected his family’s standing and connexions in the area. It is probably significant that his uncle John Kingsmill had represented the borough in two previous Parliaments. Members of the families of Mompesson and Dyer, into which his brother William and his sisters Constance and Catherine married, also sat in this Parliament. But if Thornborough himself saw it as a move in the game of self-advancement the effort must have proved unrewarding: it was to be his only appearance in the Commons and, not surprisingly, he left no trace on the sessions’ proceedings. As one of the burgesses for a town in Wiltshire, however, he could have served on a committee discussing a cloth bill, 15 Mar.

In 1590 he and his father had taken an 80-year crown lease of Chute forest, which stretched north of Shoddesden, for the large sum of £6,200. Twenty years later Thornborough complained that this lease had been ruinous to him and that it was threatening ‘the overthrow of an ancient house’. His plea for its revision, which he accompanied with an appeal to Salisbury, was not granted, and the lease presumably continued to aggravate his financial plight. No further trace has been found of either Edward or Mary Thornborough, and it is not known whether they had issue.

Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 51; Berry, Hants County Fams. 86; VCH Hants, iv. 374-6; C/3/175/30; Third Bk. of Remembrance of Southampton (Soton Rec. Ser.), ii. 118-19; HMC Hatfield, ii. 84, 118-19, 137-8, 143; ix. 410; x. 186; Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 60; D’Ewes, 501; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 692; 1591-4, p. 127; 1603-10, p. 653; VCH Wilts. iv. 426-7.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. T. Bindoff