HAMON (HAMMON), Thomas (1550-1607), of Rye, Suss.
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Family and Education
bap. 25 Jan. 1550, 1st or e. surv. s. of Thomas Hamon, brewer and baker, of Rye and w. Alice.1 m. (1) 17 June 1578, Catherine (bur. 21 Apr. 1607), wid. of John Dearne, brewer, of Rye, 1da. d.v.p.;2 (2) lic. 5 June 1607, Martha, da. of William Thorpe, linen draper, of Rye, s.p.3 suc. fa. 1559.4 d. 27 July 1604.
Freeman, Rye 1578, common councilman 1579;5 dep. for Rye, Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports 1583-4, 1594, 1596-1604, Speaker 1606;6 jurat, Rye 1593-d., 7 representative for Rye, Guestling of the Cinque Ports 1594, 1596, 1598-9;8 mayor 1595-7, 1599-1601, 1605-d.;9 commr. sewers, Suss. 1604;10 capt. of militia ft., Rye to d.11
Hamon’s father migrated to Rye in the first half of the sixteenth century, taking out his freedom in 1549 and establishing himself as a brewer and baker. Following his death in 1559, his widow Alice married another Rye merchant, Richard Stacey. In 1566, after Alice had also died, Stacey assumed the guardianship of the young Hamon,12 who inherited the family business. By the second half of the 1590s Hamon was one of Rye’s wealthiest inhabitants, serving as mayor on several occasions and representing the borough in Parliament in 1597. That same year he also advanced £200 to the corporation for its harbour repair works. Within a few years it had become clear that this project had failed; the corporation was forced to sell most of its properties to pay its creditors, including Hamon, who thereupon purchased the town’s storehouse for £400. Not surprisingly, Hamon was regarded by many of his fellow townsmen as an avaricious asset-stripper.13 In 1600, while serving as mayor, he distinguished himself as a religious radical by arresting the vicar for popish proclivities.14 He was not re-elected to Parliament in 1601, although his epitaph implies otherwise.
Hamon was one of four Rye townsmen selected to carry canopies at the coronation in 1603, but he was unable to perform the service because of ill health.15 In March 1604 he was re-elected to Parliament for Rye when, despite its desperate financial condition, the corporation agreed to bear his charges.16 Soon after Parliament commenced, Hamon and his fellow Rye Member, John Yonge, wrote from London to the corporation, having apparently drafted a petition to the king asking for royal assistance to repair the harbour. The corporation approved of this overture, and also of letters written by its Members and the lord warden of the Cinque Ports to Parliament, and on the mayor’s instruction £6 was paid to Hamon, presumably to meet the cost.17 This intensive lobbying eventually bore fruit, for in late June 1604 a special sewer commission was appointed to preserve Rye’s haven, to which both Hamon and Yonge were named. In November, soon after the commission became active, Hamon was dispatched to London to defend its activities against those whose land reclamation projects in the Romney marshes were largely responsible for the damage done to the harbour.18
Hamon left no trace on the Commons Journal, either in 1604 or later, but the ‘Parliament Fart’ of 1607 suggests that he was well known in the House for his calls to order.19 In 1605 he was one of the Members chosen by the Cinque Ports to present Northampton with a gift of plate ‘for his pain in regard to the new charter’.20 In spite of being chosen mayor again, Hamon attended the third session of Parliament, from where he carried on a correspondence with the corporation.21 He evidently departed early without leave, for on 6 July 1607 he submitted to the corporation an account of his charges in Parliament, covering the period between November 1606 and 2 May 1607.22 Elected to serve as one of Rye’s representatives at the Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports shortly thereafter, he subsequently fell sick and was forced to appoint a deputy to go in his stead.23 On 10 July he made out his will, in which he left 20 nobles to the poor and various lands to a cousin who was a shipwright in London.24 He died on 27 July and was buried in the parish church, where a brass was set up. His death was the subject of a famous witchcraft trial, though the accused seems to have borne him no malice.25 He was the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Peter Lefevre / Andrew Thrush
- 1. G. Mayhew, Tudor Rye, 115.
- 2. Add. 5698, f. 110v.
- 3. Mar. Lics. (Suss. Rec. Soc. i), 58.
- 4. Mayhew, 115; PROB 11/60, f. 169; E. Suss. RO, Rye par. reg.
- 5. Mayhew, 115.
- 6. Cal. of White and Black Bks. of Cinque Ports ed. F. Hull, 324, 328, 342, 352, 356, 361, 365, 368, 373-4, 377-8, 382.
- 7. Mayhew, 115.
- 8. Cal. of White and Black Bks. 343, 350, 354, 360.
- 9. E. Suss. RO, RYE 1/6, ff. 1, 49, 127; 1/7, ff. 1, 341, 562.
- 10. R.F. Dell, Recs. of Rye Corp. 89.
- 11. W. Holloway, Hist. and Antiqs. of Rye, 202.
- 12. RYE 1/3, f. 149v.
- 13. Mayhew, 115, 123, 268; S. Hipkin, ‘Closing Ranks: Oligarchy and Govt. at Rye, 1570-1640’, Urban Hist. xxii. 330.
- 14. Mayhew, 134.
- 15. E. Suss. RO, RYE 1/7, ff. 474v, 476.
- 16. Ibid. ff. 505v, 507v-8.
- 17. Ibid. ff. 508v, 509v; RYE 61/12, f. 21.
- 18. E. Suss. RO, RYE 1/7, f. 535.
- 19. Add. 34218, f. 20v.
- 20. Cal. of White and Black Bks. 382.
- 21. E. Suss. RO, RYE 61/13, ff. 76v, 77v.
- 22. E. Suss. RO, RYE 1/8, ff. 48v-9.
- 23. Ibid. f. 51v.
- 24. PROB 11/110, f. 359.
- 25. Holloway, 202.