BANCROFT, Thomas (-d.1636), of Santon, Norf. and St. Faith-under-St. Paul's, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press

Family and Education

m. Margaret, 3da.1 d. 15 Apr. 1636.2

Offices Held

Clerk, ld. treas. remembrancer’s office by 1611.3


Nothing is known of Bancroft’s parentage or background. By 1611 he was a clerk in the lord treasurer’s remembrancer’s office. A Thomas ‘Bancroste’ donated £5 to the Palatinate cause in 1622.4 In the following year Bancroft purchased Santon manor, Norfolk, from Thomas Howard, 21st earl of Arundel who, as the patron of Castle Rising, was probably behind his subsequent election to four Parliaments.5 Bancroft also owned property in Castle Rising, and his brother, Samuel, was a freeman of the borough.6

Bancroft’s parliamentary career was dominated by Exchequer matters. In 1624 his sole committee appointment was to examine abuses connected with the fees demanded by the officers of the Exchequer (26 February).7 That same Parliament he intervened in the debates on the alienations bill, which aimed to limit the fees taken by the treasurer’s remembrancer and officials of the Alienations Office. On 5 Mar. he spoke in favour of allowing the Exchequer’s officials to be heard at the committee meeting, while on 17 Mar. he asked to have the bill recommitted in order to hear these same officers again.8 He was concerned that ‘on the first day the committee met not fully; yet the counsel heard to prepare business for the next meeting’. He added that it was shown that ‘there were no fees taken but such as had been taken time out of mind’, but when the committee met the following day nothing was done.9

In 1625 Bancroft was appointed to the committee for the assignment of debts bill (23 June).10 In the next Parliament he supported an increase in the number of lay subsidies and a reduction in fifteenths and tenths, arguing on 27 Mar. that the poor of Norfolk could not afford to pay the latter.11 Bancroft received no further mention in the parliamentary records until 14 Feb. 1629, when he was named to the committee to examine Exchequer injunctions concerning merchants’ goods detained for non-payment by customers.12 Nine days later he was one of those appointed by the House to search the records of the Exchequer and King’s Bench for recusants convicted since 1625, and those double-charged in the 1628 subsidy.13

Bancroft was overseer to the will of a Merchant Taylor named Thomas Marsham in 1625, and apparently owed his Norfolk neighbour, Sir Thomas Knyvett, £500 in 1626.14 He drafted his will on 14 Apr. 1636 and died the following day. His bequests included property in Wales leased from University College, Oxford, and houses in Paternoster Row and Lovell Inn, London.15 He also left a messuage and garden in Castle Rising.16 Bancroft was interred at Santon Chapel which he had rebuilt after purchasing the manor and where he had been the sole parishioner.17 No other member of the family subsequently served in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Chris Kyle


  • 1. PROB 11/170, ff. 327-8.
  • 2. C142/541/112; WARD 7/88/90.
  • 3. Lansd. 168, f. 92; F. Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, ii. lib. 14, p. 17.
  • 4. SP14/156/14.
  • 5. F. Blomefield, Hist. Norf. ii. 157.
  • 6. PROB 11/170, f. 328; C219/37/1/161.
  • 7. CJ, i. 719a.
  • 8. Ibid. 678a, ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 35v, ‘Pym 1624’, f. 19v.
  • 9. CJ, i. 739a.
  • 10. Procs. 1625, p. 230.
  • 11. Procs. 1626, ii. 380.
  • 12. CJ, i. 930a.
  • 13. Ibid. 932b.
  • 14. Knyvett Letters ed. B. Schofield (Norf. Rec. Soc. xx), 71.
  • 15. Visct. Lovell’s former residence on Ivy Lane, Farringdon: J. Stow, Survey of London ed. J. Strype, 235.
  • 16. PROB 11/170, ff. 327-8.
  • 17. Blomefield, Hist. Norf. ii. 157.