Thomas Wroth (politician, 16th century)

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Sir Thomas Wroth (c.1518 – 9 October 1573)[1] was an English courtier and politician, a supporter of the Protestant Reformation.


Robert Wroth, his father, was attorney of the duchy of Lancaster, and one of the commissioners appointed to inquire into Thomas Wolsey's possessions in 1529. He sat for Middlesex in the Reformation parliament (1529–1535), and died in 1536, leaving issue by his wife Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Hawte (died 1505) and Isabel Frowyk, four sons and two daughters.[2][3]

Thomas, the eldest son, was a ward of the king, and was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, but seems to have taken no degree,[4] and in 1536 was admitted student of Gray's Inn. On 4 October of that year, the right of his wardship and marriage was granted to Thomas Cromwell. In 1539 Sir Richard Rich paid Cromwell three hundred marks for the right of disposing of Wroth in marriage, and then provided for his third daughter, Mary, by betrothing her to Wroth. Wroth was granted livery of his lands on 24 April 1540, and in that and the following year Rich secured for his daughter's husband the manors of Highbury (forfeited by Cromwell) and of Beymondhall, Hertfordshire, and lands in Cheshunt, Wormley, and Enfield, belonging to various dissolved monasteries.

On 18 December 1544 Wroth was returned to parliament as one of the knights of the shire for Middlesex, and in the following year, through Thomas Cranmer's influence, it is said, was appointed gentleman of the chamber to Prince Edward. He retained that post during Edward VI's reign, was knighted on 22 February 1546/7, and was one of the young king's principal favourites. In September 1547 he was sent to the Protector Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset in Scotland with Edward's letters congratulating him on his victory at the Battle of Pinkie, and in July 1548 was one of the witnesses against Bishop Stephen Gardiner for his sermon in St. Paul's Cathedral. He probably represented Middlesex in the parliament that sat from 1547 to 1552, but the returns are wanting. After Somerset's fall Wroth was on 15 October 1549 appointed one of the four principal gentlemen of the privy chamber, his fidelity to the Earl of Warwick's interests being secured by doubling the ordinary salary of £50. On 24 July 1550 he was granted the manors of Bardfield, Chigwell, and West Ham in Essex, and on 14 April 1551 he was made joint lord lieutenant with Paget of Middlesex. On 29 November following he was present at the disputation on the Sacrament held in William Cecil's house.

Somerset's second fall brought Wroth further grants; on 22 January 1552, the day of the Protector's execution, he was sent to Sion House to report on the number and ages of the duke's sons, daughters, and servants, and on 7 June following was given a twenty-one years' lease of Sion. This he is said to have surrendered on an assurance that Edward designed it for some public charity. In 1552, and again in 1553, he was one of the commissioners for the lord-lieutenancy of Middlesex, and in February 1552/3 he was again knight of the shire for Middlesex in Edward's last parliament. He was not a member of the privy council, but was one of those whom Edward VI proposed in March 1551/2 to ‘call into commission,’ his name appearing on the committees of the council which were to execute penal laws and proclamations and to examine into the state of all the courts, especially the new courts of augmentations, first-fruits and tenths, and wards. In December 1552 he was placed on a further commission for the recovery of the king's debts, and in the same year was one of the ‘adventurers’ in the voyage to Morocco.

Wroth was until July 1553 in close attendance upon Edward VI, who is said to have died in his arms. He signed the king's letters patent limiting the crown to Lady Jane Grey, but apparently took no overt part in Northumberland's insurrection. He was sent to the Tower of London on 27 July, but was soon released. In January 1554, however, when Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk was meditating his second rising, Lord John Grey had an interview with Wroth, and urged him to join. Gardiner proposed his arrest on the 27th, but Wroth escaped to the Continent. For this step he is said to have obtained royal licence, which was probably due to the intercession of his father-in-law, Lord Rich. He remained abroad during the rest of Mary's reign, principally at Strasbourg and Frankfurt, supporting the Marian exiles. Immediately on Elizabeth's accession he returned to England, and on 29 December 1558 was elected knight of the shire for Middlesex, which he again represented in the parliament of 1562–3. On 21 August 1559 he was appointed commissioner to visit the dioceses of Ely and Norwich. In June 1562 he was nominated a special commissioner to consult with the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex, on the government of Ireland, and in particular to mediate in the bitter feud between Sussex and his colleague John Parker, but does not seem to have gone to Dublin till February 1564; he was recalled at his own request in August. In 1569 he was commissioner for musters in Middlesex and for the lord-lieutenancy of London, and on 1 September 1571 was sent to take an inventory of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk's goods in the Charterhouse. Wroth died on 9 October 1573.


He left issue by his wife Mary Rich, daughter of Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, six or seven sons and three or four daughters. The eldest son, Sir Robert Wroth, succeeded him. The second son, Thomas, was admitted student of the Inner Temple in November 1564. He acquired wealth in the practice of the law, and settled at Blundenhall, Boxley, Kent, where he died in 1610. He married Joan, second daughter and heir of John or Thomas Bulmer or Bulman, and left, besides other issue, Sir Thomas Wroth (1584–1672) and Sir Peter Wroth (died 1644), a member of the Inner Temple and scholar, from whose collections John Collinson derived the account of the family printed in his Somerset, and whose grandson John eventually succeeded to the Somerset property.


  1. Richardson IV 2011, p. 373.
  2. Richardson IV 2011, p. 372.
  3. Adams 1986, p. 103.
  4. "Wroth, Thomas (WRT516T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Adams, Alison, ed. (1986). The Changing Face of Arthurian Romance. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer. p. 103. |access-date= requires |url= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. IV (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. pp. 372–3. ISBN 1460992709.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainPollard, Albert Frederick (1900). [ "Wroth, Thomas (1516-1573)" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 63. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 163–166.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>