WALSGROVE, alias FLEET, Thomas (d.c.1613), of Worcester.
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Family and Education
Member of the 48, Worcester 1554, chamberlain 1556-7, member of the 24 1558, bailiff 1560-1, 1562-3, 1574-5, auditor 1563-4; gov. Worcester free sch. and almshouses 1561-d., treasurer and receiver 1582, 1592.2
Walsgrove, like his father, was a Worcester merchant. Originally a weaver, he had become a clothier by his father’s death, and drove a thriving trade, to judge from the large quantities of wool he bought in 1589. He himself may have produced some of the wool he used, since he had pasture land on lease, although as his mother disputed his title he may not have obtained possession until after her death in 1574.3
Walsgrove’s civic career, probably begun when he was still a relatively young man, followed the customary course. He belonged to the small, frequently intermarried group influential in the city, and obtained election as burgess for the Parliament of 1572 with his friend Christopher Dighton. He was appointed to several committees in the House, all except one on the poor law (11 Feb. 1576) being concerned with the cloth trade, on which he was evidently considered an expert. These were appointed on 28 June 1572, 16 Feb. and 9 Mar. 1576 and 4, 13 and 23 Feb. 1581.4
Walsgrove lived to a great age. He was at least 80 when he died, assuming that he had attained his majority before being appointed to the Worcester corporation in 1554. He maintained to the last an active interest in education in the city, and in the charitable foundations established by his father. In his long and complex will, as well as remembering each of his numerous progeny and other relatives, he made a sizeable contribution to charity, including four recently built almshouses, and he left land for the maintenance of other almshouses in the city. He left the grammar school £10, and an endowment to house poor children, who were ‘to be brought up to some laborious course of life’. The greater part of his property, mainly freehold houses in Worcester, went to his grandson and heir Thomas, but he left some of his interests to his younger sons. He bequeathed his soul to God, ‘nothing doubting but that for his infinite mercy, set forth in the precious blood of his dearly beloved son, Jesus Christ, my alone Saviour and Redeemer, he will receive my soul into his glory and place it in the company of heavenly angels and blessed saints’.5
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: S. M. Thorpe
- 1. C3/196/46; PCC 24 Lawe, 18 Parker.
- 2. Worcester Guildhall, audit of city accts. 1540-1600; Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 126; W. R. Williams, Worcs. MPs, 92; CPR, 1560-3, p. 215.
- 3. C3/196/46; VCH Worcs. ii. 290-1.
- 4. Worcester Guildhall, chamber order bk. 1540-1601, ff. 113-14 seq.; CJ, i. 103, 105, 106, 113, 122, 125, 129.
- 5. Early Education in Worcester (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 230, 231, 232-3, 236, 238; VCH Worcs. iv. 414, 416, 417; PCC 24 Lawe.