WOODHOUSE, Sir Thomas (by 1514-72), of Waxham and Great Yarmouth, Norf.

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. by 1514, 1st s. of John Woodhouse of Waxham by Alice, da. of William Croftes of Wyston; bro. of Sir William. educ. ?L. Inn 1525. m. Margaret, da. of William Stubbert, wid. of one Wymer of Scottow, s.p.; 1da. illegit. suc. fa. prob. by 1533. Kntd. 1549.

Offices Held

Escheator, Norf. and Suff. 1535-6; j.p. Norf. 1542-58, q. 1559-d.; jt. v.-adm. Norf. and Suff. 1543-d.; commr. relief, Norf. 1550; sheriff, Norf. and Suff. 1553-4, 1563-4.1


Woodhouse came of a family of minor gentry, apparently unrelated to the Woodhouses of Kimberley, Norfolk. He improved his status and fortune through his appointment as victualler to the royal armies and garrisons, no doubt having, as the Privy Council put it, ‘overmuch regard’ for his ‘own commodities’. By 1546 he was rich enough to pay £1,500 for Bromholme monastery and its possessions in Norfolk. In September 1548 he paid over £1,000 for chantry estates, the first of many large land purchases, until, at his death, he had a score of manors and numerous other properties. His wealth was constantly supplemented by trade—he was planning, as late as 1565, to export large quantities of grain—and he was a founder-member of the Russia Company. He also indulged in a little piracy on the side. His connexions with Yarmouth were strong though there were the usual disputes over his claims to profits of Admiralty jurisdiction. He sat for the borough in Mary’s last Parliament, and again in January 1559, presumably with the consent of the 4th Duke of Norfolk, the high steward. Either Woodhouse or his brother (both of whom were knights) must have been the ‘Mr. Woodhouse’ to whom a bill about the export of leather was committed in this Parliament, 14 Mar. 1559. In May the same year Woodhouse was asked to give Yarmouth his advice on the new harbour, and ‘for his good will and friendship’ the assembly granted him a 40s. annuity.2

By Elizabeth’s accession Woodhouse’s career was almost over. He was described by his bishop in 1564 as sound in religion, but he took little further part in public affairs. He died on at Jan. 1572, his will, drawn up a year earlier, being proved in June 1572. He left most of his property to his nephews and nieces and his illegitimate daughter Margaret received money and plate. The Duke of Norfolk was appointed an overseer of the will, and was left £10 worth of plate.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 320-1; LP Hen. VIII passim; APC, i. 123, 325; ii. 73, 207; HCA25/5; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 388.
  • 2. Blomefield, Norf. ii. 540; ix. 353; APC, i. 325, 535; vi. 109, 138; vii. 260; LP Hen. VIII, xvii. p. 563; xxi(1), p. 570; CPR, 1548-9, p. 112; 1549-51, p. 322; 1550-3, p. 29; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, 401; 1554-5, pp. 156, 159 et passim; C142/161/61; Bronnen tot de Geschiedenis van den Handel met Engeland, Schotland en Ierland, ed. Smit, ii. 812; H. Manship, Yarmouth, i. 259, 325; Yarmouth ass. bks. A, ff. 189, 203, 213; B. ff. 29-32; bk. of entries 1538-1635, f. 320; Lansd. 103, f. 2; F. W. Russell, Kett’s Rebellion, 46, 151-3; CJ, i. 57.
  • 3. Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 58; PCC 18 Daper; C142/161/116.