CONINGSBY, Thomas (c.1555-1616), of Hampton Wafer, Docklow, Herefs.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
b. c.1555, 3rd s. of Thomas Coningsby† of Leominster, Herefs. and Eleanor, da. of Thomas Hackluyt of Eyton, Herefs., clerk of Council in the Marches 1526-44, and h. to her grandfa. Thomas Lochard of Grete, Salop. m. (1) Mary, da. of Edward Sadleir of Temple Dinsley, Herts., 1da.; (2) by 8 Feb. 1600, Frances (bur. 4 Dec. 1606), da. of Thomas Houghton of Hoghton Tower, Lancs., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da.1 d. 15 Mar. 1616.2
Clerk of the petty bag 1607-9.7
Coningsby traced his ancestry back to the reign of Edward I, when Roger Coningsby, steward to the earl of Warwick, acquired manorial property in Warwickshire, which county his son John represented in the Parliament of 1344. The senior line remained firmly rooted in the west Midlands, with the head of the family seated at Neen Sollers in Shropshire.8 Coningsby’s father was only distantly related to the more distinguished branches of the family; but he represented Leominster in the first Elizabethan Parliament, and leased the priory and other Crown property in and around the town. Coningsby himself succeeded his cousin Richard† as the local representative of the Court of Wards in 1599, and he must have enjoyed the favour of lord keeper (Sir) Thomas Egerton† to be allowed to marry the sister of his ward (Sir) Richard Houghton*. The private ceremony, without banns or licence, was performed by Egerton’s chaplain, and witnessed by his son John Egerton†, his son-in-law (Sir) Francis Leigh I* and his nephew William Ravenscroft*.9 Coningsby acquired property in Leominster from his uncle Rowland Hackluyt, but he preferred to reside at Hampton Wafer, some six miles to the east, as tenant and ‘much beloved cousin’ to Sir Thomas Coningsby† of Hampton Court.10
Re-elected for Leominster in 1604, Coningsby seems to have been the chief agent in obtaining for the borough a new charter in 1605.11 He left no trace on the records of the first session, and in the next was named only to the committee on the bill for the better assurance of copyhold lands (28 Jan. 1606).12 In the third session he was appointed to four committees, of which three were concerned with private land bills and point to his continuing relationship with Sir Thomas Egerton, now lord chancellor Ellesmere. One concerned the estates of John Evelyn (26 Nov.), whose brother was one of the six clerks in Chancery; another dealt with William Ibgrave (12 May 1607), and was promoted by Edward, Lord Bruce, the master of the Rolls; while the third concerned the 5th earl of Derby (3 June 1607), and was promoted by Ellesmere himself, who was husband to the dowager countess of Derby.13 On 12 June 1607 Coningsby was among those ordered to consider a bill for the better execution of sewer commissions.14 During the recess Ellesmere appointed him as one of Ravenscroft’s colleagues in the petty bag office, despite his lack of experience and the bitter conflicts between this department and the Court of Wards. It was probably this incompatibility of interests, rather than his support of Sir Herbert Croft* in the agitation against the Council in the Marches, that caused Coningsby to resign after only two years.15 His sole remaining committee in the first Stuart Parliament was for the bill to confirm a purchase by Sir John Heveningham*, to which he was added on 23 Feb. 1610.16
Coningsby was re-elected to Parliament in 1614, but his only committee appointment was to consider the bill to increase the powers of feodaries at the expense of escheators (14 May).17 Later that same year he signed a letter from the Herefordshire gentry to the earl of Somerset thanking him for his support against the Council in the Marches.18
Coningsby died in 1616 and was buried at Docklow the day after his death.19 No will or administration has been found. His 12-year-old son, Henry, inherited the manor of Grendon Warren as well as Barton’s Farm in Aston, and a messuage in Kenchester, and also the Leominster property. Needless to say, no tenure for the Crown could be found, and the penalties of wardship were avoided. No later member of this branch of the Coningsby family entered Parliament.20
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. Add. 6693, f. 15v; R.C. Bald, John Donne, 131-2; Herefs. RO, Docklow par. reg.
- 2. C142/353/65.
- 3. HMC Hatfield, ix. 205; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 41.
- 4. C231/1, f. 97; C66/2076.
- 5. C181/1, f. 91v.
- 6. SP14/31/1.
- 7. T.D. Hardy, Principal Officers of Chancery, 127.
- 8. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 130-1.
- 9. Bald, 131-2.
- 10. C2/Jas.I/C16/64; Add. 70001, unfol. (Sir Thomas Coningsby to Sir Robert Harley, Dec. ).
- 11. Herefs. RO, Leominster bor. bailiffs’ accts.
- 12. CJ, i. 260b.
- 13. Ibid. 325a, 372b, 378a.
- 14. Ibid. 382a.
- 15. SP14/31/16.
- 16. CJ, i. 498b.
- 17. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 235.
- 18. SP14/78/77.
- 19. Herefs. RO, Docklow par. reg.
- 20. C142/353/65; C.J. Robinson, Hist. of Mansions and Manors of Herefs. 129.