WALSINGHAM, Thomas (c.1526-84), of Scadbury, Chislehurst, Kent.

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.1526, o. surv. s. of Sir Edmund Walsingham of Scadbury, lt. of the Tower, by his 1st w. Catherine, da. and coh. of John Gunter of Chilworth, Surr. educ. L. Inn 1542. m. by 1556, Dorothy (d.1584), da. of Sir John Guildford of Benenden, 5s. inc. Sir Thomas 8da. suc. fa. 10 Feb. 1550. Kntd. 1573.

Offices Held

J.p. Kent from c.1559, q. from c.1569, sheriff 1563-4; gov. Lewisham g.s. 1574.


Though he may have had a minor office under Edward VI, Walsingham, unlike his father, his first cousin Francis and his son Thomas, preferred the life of a country gentleman. As well as his main estates near Chislehurst he had property in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Surrey and London. He was out of favour under Mary, and after Wyatt’s rebellion had to give a £100 bond to be ‘continually forthcoming’ if the Privy Council wanted him.

From the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign his name appears regularly on local commissions, and he carried out various duties, such as attending on the Lady Cecilia of Sweden when she came to England in September 1565, reporting on a dispute between the mayor and town clerk of Rochester in 1579 and supervising the provision of horses in Kent for the royal service. It was while he was taking part in the royal progress through Kent in 1573 that he was knighted by the Queen at Rye. His one appearance in Parliament was not, as his status merited, for his county, but for a local borough, and the timing coincided with an attempt by his puritan friends there to bring about religious changes. He is not known to have taken any active part in the proceedings. Towards the end of his life Walsingham was in financial difficulties.

He died on 15 Jan. 1584, and was buried at Scadbury, where three years previously he had erected an elaborate monument to his father. He signed his will ‘Thomas Walsingham on whom the Lord have mercy, and forgive me the misspending of my life in this world in sin’.

Wards 7/5/60; E. A. Webb, G. W. Miller and J. Beckwith, Hist Chislehurst, passim; CPR, 1549-51, pp. 155, 167; Hasted, Kent, ii, 498; APC, iv. 400; xi. 341-2; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 258, 685; Nichols, Progresses Eliz. i. 334; Hasted, Hist. Kent. Blackheath Hundred, ed., Drake, 268; PCC 6 Watson.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge