CHETTLE, Thomas (c.1553-1641), of Broad Street, Worcester, Worcs.
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Family and Education
Constable, All Saints Ward, Worcester 1588-9; member of the Forty-Eight, Worcester aft. 1588, low chamberlain 1590-1, auditor 1593-4, 1596-7, 1599-1600, 1602-3, 1607-8, the Twenty-Four by 1600, high chamberlain 1600-1, low bailiff 1603-4, low alderman 1604-5, high bailiff 1605-6, judge of Ct. of Orphans 1605-6, high alderman 1606-7, permanent alderman 1622-7;4 gov. of g.s. and almshouse, Worcester by 1622-33, treas. 1623-4, 1626-7.5
Chettle, whose ancestry is unknown, was probably related to the namesake who was senior bailiff of Worcester in 1550.11 He was evidently born in about 1553, as a herald’s visitation of the 1680s states that he died aged ‘circa 88’. Chettle should not be confused with his second son, who served as mayor of Worcester in 1631.12 A Thomas Chettle was educated at Brasenose and Gray’s Inn during the 1560s. Before 1634, when the heralds disclaimed his arms, Chettle was regarded as a gentleman, but by 1641, when he drew up his will, Chettle described himself as an esquire.13 His membership of the Worcester Weavers, Walkers and Clothiers’ Company suggests that, like his second son, he was a clothier.14
Chettle married the daughter of Thomas Hanbury, an auditor in the Exchequer and a member of an armigerous Worcestershire family.15 The date of the marriage is unknown but Chettle’s eldest son was 18 when he matriculated at Oxford in 1607. Chettle began to ascend the Worcester cursus honorum in the late Elizabethan period and held the most important public offices in the corporation in the early years of James’s reign. Elected to Parliament in 1614, he made no recorded impression in the Commons. In the new Worcester charter of 1621 Chettle was nominated to the Twenty-Four, but failed to swear the oath of office until he was elected an alderman in April 1622.16 He was not re-elected after 1627, probably because of declining health, for in the early 1630s he complained of his ‘unableness to go abroad’ and that he had been blind for many years. However, his probate inventory suggests he was active as a clothier until his death.17
Chettle was certainly wealthy. He contributed £3 to the £100 Privy Seal Loan levied on Worcester in 1612, and in 1623 offered £100 plus land worth £5 p.a. towards the establishment of a hospital for the poor in Worcester.18 The cash bequests in his will totalled over £3,000. Chettle’s property included the capital messuage in Worcester where he lived, plus extensive urban and rural holdings, mostly in and around Worcester but also in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. One of his most valuable properties was the Wallhouse Farm estate near Feckenham, which was worth about £150 p.a.19
Chettle made his will on 8 Jan. 1641 and added a codicil five days later. He bequeathed his Herefordshire property to All Saints parish, Worcester, to provide cloth for the poor, and gave his company £100 for the same purpose. He left £200 for a ‘decent’ funeral and £20 was to be distributed among the poor of Worcester on the day of his burial. In accordance with his request he was interred, on 24 Jan., in All Saints church. An inventory taken the next day valued his goods and cash at £464 13s. His will was proved on 16 Feb. 1642. None of his descendants sat in Parliament.20
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Glyn Redworth / Ben Coates
PROB 11/188, f. 194v.
- 1. Al. Ox.; GI Admiss.
- 2. Vis. Worcs. ed. Metcalfe, 31; Vis Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 67; Al. Ox. (Chetle, Richard).
- 3. Worcs. RO, MF288/1, All Saints Worcester par. reg. (ex inf. Sue Campbell).
- 4. Worcs. RO, X496.5/BA9360, shelf 644/1, ff. 169v, 176, 185v, 196, 205, 207; Chamber Order Bk. of Worcester ed. S. Bond (Worcs. Hist. Soc. n.s. viii), 22, 54, 64, 77, 92, 97, 178, 206.
- 5. Worcs. RO, b261.1 BA/3617/7, ff. 74v, 78v, 88, 90.
- 6. Worcs. RO, b705:232 BA6955/2, ff. 11, 45v, 122; VCH Worcs. ii. 291.
- 7. C91/3/3.
- 8. E179/260/1.
- 9. Chamber Order Bk. of Worcester, 116.
- 10. E179/201/294.
- 11. T. Nash, Colls. for Hist. Worcs. ii. app. cxii.
- 12. Chamber Order Bk. of Worcester, 257.
- 13. PROB 11/188, 194v; Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xc), 106.
- 14. T. Nash, Colls. for Hist. Worcs. ii. 319; W. Gwillian, Old Worcester: People and Places, 61; PROB 11/173, f. 188.
- 15. Vis Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 67; Exchequer Officeholders comp. J.C. Sainty (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xviii), 123.
- 16. Chamber Order Bk. of Worcester, 172, 176-7, 178.
- 17. C8/86/44; Worcs. RO, b261.1 BA/3617/7, f. 90; Worcs. RO 705:93/BA845/5.
- 18. Chamber Order Bk. of Worcester, 117, 187.
- 19. VCH Worcs. iii. 117, 302, 369, iv. 416; C3/398/117, 119; C78/519/6; E115/114/60; PROB 11/188, ff. 194v-6; Worcs. RO, 705:359/BA4364.
- 20. PROB 11/188, ff. 194v-6; Worcs. RO 705:93/BA845/5.