MASTER, Thomas I (1624-80), of Cirencester Abbey, Glos.
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Family and Education
bap. 30 June 1624, 1st s. of Sir William Master† of Cirencester Abbey by Alice, da. of Sir Edward Estcourt of Salisbury, Wilts. educ. L. Inn 1647. m. settlement 27 Jan. 1661, Elizabeth (d. 28 Jan. 1704), da. of Sir Thomas Dyke of Horeham, Waldron, Suss., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) suc. fa. 1662.1
Capt. of militia ft. Glos. Apr. 1660, j.p. July 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d., loyal and indigent officers 1662, inquiry, Kingswood chase 1671.2
Master’s great-grandfather, one of the Kentish family, was physician to Queen Elizabeth, who granted him the site and lands of Cirencester Abbey in 1565. His grandfather represented Cirencester in 1586 and 1589. His father, who sat for the borough in 1624, was appointed a commissioner of array in 1642, but he seems to have been a reluctant Royalist at best, claiming that he had maintained a horseman and arms for Parliament until Cirencester was captured by the King’s forces in February 1643. His estates were sequestrated, and he paid out in fines more than £2,100.
Master signed the Gloucestershire address of welcome to Charles II and was nominated a knight of the Royal Oak, his annual income being estimated at £1,000. The Cirencester election of 1660 was contested, but Master, who doubtless stood as a court supporter, was not opposed. He left no trace on the records of the Convention, and there is no evidence that he stood again, though he was involved in a violent quarrel at the by-election of 1671, when John Grobham Howe I struck him with an iron-tipped cane. Howe was convicted of riot at the Gloucestershire assizes three years later; but while he was awaiting trial the House was informed on Master’s authority that he had expressed the hope that the 1674 session would be worth 5,000 guineas to him. Master gave evidence to the special committee set up by the House, and had to admit that Howe might have been merely referring to the effects of withdrawing the prohibition on Irish cattle. He died on 5 Nov. 1680, and was buried at Cirencester.3