GREENHAM, Thomas (b.1399), of Ketton, Rutland and Maid's Moreton, Bucks.
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Family and Education
Commr. to distribute a tax allowance, Rutland Dec. 1433, Feb. 1434, May 1437; compile a list of gentry liable to take the oath not to support persons breaking the peace Jan., May 1434; raise royal loans Feb. 1436.
Tax collector, Rutland Jan. 1436.
J.p. Rutland 20 Nov. 1436-7.
The date of Greenham’s birth is given variously as either October or December 1399, although all the sources agree that he was born and christened at South Luffenham. One of his godparents, Nicholas Greenham, parson of Seaton in Rutland, was probably a kinsman, while another, Elizabeth Oudeby, belonged to an influential county family which provided Rutland with two parliamentary representatives during our period alone. As a younger son with no inheritance of his own, Greenham’s father had few prospects at this time, although the sudden death, in November 1408, of his young nephew, John, who was heir to the family estates, led to a dramatic improvement in his position. The manors of Ketton and Maid’s Moreton then reverted to him, and it was no doubt because of his new status as a landowner that he became sheriff of Rutland in November 1410. His death in office, while still a comparatively young man, led the Crown to assert its right to the wardship of the Greenham estates for the second time in less than four years: Thomas was at first entrusted to the custody of Joan, Henry IV’s queen, but in April 1413 she either sold or gave her interest in him and his inheritance to Nicholas Bubwith, bishop of Bath and Wells. The death of Margery Burton, the elderly daughter of Thomas Greenham† (d.1376) of Ketton, one year later further increased the boy’s value as a ward, since he immediately succeeded to her three manors of Upton, Sibthorpe and Denton in Huntingdonshire. Bubwith presented to the last of these livings in 1421, thus deriving some personal benefit from his ward’s good fortune.2
Greenham had barely reached the age of 21 when he was first returned to Parliament, perhaps through the influence of his former guardian. He did not take formal seisin of his inheritance until June 1423, by which date all the necessary official documents, including an inquisition post mortem on his father’s estates and a proof of his own age, had been completed. He clearly remained on friendly terms with Bubwith, being present as a witness at the manor of Wookey in Somerset when, in October