BOLE, Thomas, of Eyworth and Bedford, Beds.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Bedford 1418-19.1
This MP may well have been a kinsman, possibly the grandson, of the Thomas Bole† who represented Bedford in the Parliament of 1376. Nothing is known for certain about him, however, before January 1413 when another member of the family, John Bole of Edmonton, Middlesex, made him a trustee of certain land in that area. The estate was eventually quit-claimed to him, as a resident of Eyworth, some 14 years later by the brother and heir of one of his co-feoffees. Thomas must also have owned property in Bedford, because his name appears on the local lay subsidy roll of 1417, one year before his appointment as bailiff of the borough. In 1425 he was among the representatives sent to London by his fellow burgesses to argue the case for the payment of parliamentary expenses by all the townspeople, irrespective of whether they were enfranchised or not. Indeed, it was as a result of the unusually heavy claim for remuneration (over £11) which he and John Leighton* submitted after the Parliament of 1423 that the controversy had arisen in the first place. Although he only sat twice in the Commons, Thomas attested the indentures for the borough elections to the Parliaments of 1417, 1420, 1425, 1426, 1429, 1433 and 1437. He also had interests outside Bedford, for in June 1428 he acted as a juror at an inquisition held at Biggleswade; and not long afterwards Sir Baldwin Pigot made him a feoffee for life of the manor of Cardington and a third part of the advowson of Houghton Conquest church.2
It is unlikely that Thomas lived on to become mayor of Bedford in 1450 and attend the parliamentary elections held in the town at that time. Perhaps the namesake who did hold office was his son: the two men were almost certainly related.3