DURDENT, Thomas (c.1553-1607), of Eton, Bucks. and Lincoln's Inn, London
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Family and Education
b. c.1553, ?s. of William Durdent.1 educ. Magdalen, Oxf. 1567, BA 1577, MA 1590; Thavies Inn; L. Inn 1580, called 1587.2 m. (1) by 1595, Jane, da. of Roger Abdy, Merchant Taylor, of London, at least 1s. 1da.;3 (2) Elizabeth, s.p.4 bur. 26 Oct. 1607.5
Demy, Magdalen, Oxf. 1567-73, fell. 1576-8.6
Under-steward and town clerk, New Windsor, Berks. 1603-d.7
Durdent bore a name of some distinction in medieval Buckinghamshire, the family providing a knight of the shire under Richard II.8 He may have been mentioned as a remainderman in the entail of a farm in Iver made by a kinsman in 1562.9 Matriculating in 1571, at the age of 18, as a plebeian, and author of Latin verses in praise of Queen Elizabeth,10 he seemed set on a successful academic career until he lost his fellowship, with three others, in circumstances that have yet to be fully explained. Turning to the law, he was called to the bar in 1587 and married the sister of a fellow member of Lincoln’s Inn. In 1595 he acquired 40 acres of copyhold land in Iver.11
Durdent made no great mark as a lawyer, but in 1603 he was appointed under-steward or recorder of New Windsor and the next year he was accordingly returned for that borough to the first Jacobean Parliament. In the first session, in 1604, he was appointed to consider bills concerning suits against ecclesiastics (19 June) and for ‘attorneys and clerks’ in the courts of King’s Bench and Common Pleas (22 June). In the second, of 1605-6, he was named to five committees. The first of these was not until 3 Apr. 1606, when he was named to consider a couple of bills concerning elections to the Commons. Two days later he was appointed to consider the bill ‘for the better and more due execution of penal laws’. Both the Windsor Members were named to the committee for a bill for clearing the Thames for navigation from London ‘to and beyond’ Oxford (17 April). Durdent was among the lawyers appointed to consider provisos to the attainder bill, and those added to the committee for a bill ‘touching the delay of executions’ (both 8 May). In the third session he was one of those added to the committee for a bill dealing with grants to corporations (21 Nov. 1606), and, more than five months later, was named to consider a bill for the relief of poor curriers (30 Apr. 1607). His last committee appointment, on 12 May 1607, was for a private land bill.12
Durdent died intestate later in 1607, and was buried at St. Dunstan-in-the-West on 26 October. In the grant of administration made to his widow Elizabeth, he was described as of Eton, just across the Thames from Windsor. The several Durdents educated there between 1581 and 1623 were probably a namesake, who matriculated at Merton in 1585, and his sons. Durdent’s own son, Abdy, entered Lincoln’s Inn in 1606, but never sat in Parliament.13
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. PROB 11/46, f. 136.
- 2. Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.; LI Black Bks. ii. 3.
- 3. Surr. Arch. Colls. vii. 325; PROB 11/85, f. 294; LI Admiss. 143; PCC Admons. v. 40.
- 4. PCC Admons. iv. 42.
- 5. Coll. Top. et Gen. iv. 125.
- 6. Al. Ox.; W.D. Macray, Reg. Magdalen Coll. n.s. iii. 62.
- 7. R.R. Tighe and J.E. Davis, Annals of Windsor, ii. 47, 53.
- 8. VCH Bucks. iii. 259.
- 9. PROB 11/46, f. 136.
- 10. HMC Bath, iv. 142.
- 11. Cent. Bucks. Stud. D37/16.
- 12. CJ, i. 241b, 244b, 293a, 294a, 300a, 307a, 365a, 372b, 1003a.
- 13. PCC Admons. iv. 42; Eton Coll. Reg. comp. W. Sterry, 110.