HUSSEY, Thomas II (d.1468), of Shapwick, Dorset.
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Family and Education
Commr. to take an inquisition post mortem, Dorset Feb. 1430; assess liability for a tax Feb. 1431; distribute a tax rebate Jan. 1436; of inquiry May 1440 (waste in estates of the alien hospital of St. Giles), general June 1459 (estates of Robert, Lord Hungerford); to levy archers, Dorset Dec. 1457; of gaol delivery, Dorchester July 1458, Mar. 1459, Oct. 1460, Feb. 1462; array Aug. 1461; to prepare the defences of Poole Jan. 1462; assess a tax, Dorset July 1463.
J.p. Dorset 28 June 1431-July 1437, Dec. 1455-Nov. 1458, July 1461-d.
Escheator, Som. and Dorset 7 Nov. 1435-23 Nov. 1436.
It is uncertain precisely when Thomas inherited the Hussey family lands in Dorset. However, in 1419 he brought an action in the lawcourts against a young kinswoman, Agnes Christchurch, for two messuages and some 360 acres of land in Dullar (in Lytchett Matravers) and Sturminster Marshall, and in August 1420 it was he, rather than Agnes, who was found at an official inquiry to be the true heir to the manor of Dullar, by virtue of descent through his maternal grandmother. He is not known to have had any landed holdings in Wiltshire at the time of his earliest election to Parliament, for the Wiltshire borough of Great Bedwyn, yet he did not lack interests in the county, for in July 1419 he had received from Laurence Culle of Fugglestone a bond for 50 marks, and had then witnessed Culle’s transfer of property at Fugglestone to feoffees. In later years Hussey was to become a landowner of considerable standing. From his mother he inherited North Bowood (valued at no more than £5 6s.8d. a year in 1431, yet providing him with a rental income of £15 6s.8d. by the time of his death); and certain other of his holdings in Wimborne, Tarrant Crawford and Shapwick probably also came to him by inheritance.3 To these, he added substantially through his marriage to Marion Tourney, a local heiress who brought him the former Champayn estates in the same part of south-east Dorset: namely, the manors of Shapwick, Stourpaine, Winterbourne Tomson, Pegges, Morescourt in Sturminster Marshall, and Charlton in Spetisbury, together with property in Poole, as well as the manor of Edmondsham in the north-east of the county. Initial setbacks, including a Chancery suit brought some time between 1426 and 1432 for the recovery of certain properties from a trustee appointed by Marion’s late father, were effectively overcome. A later acquisition was the manor of Milborne St. Andrew, which was released to Hussey and his wife in a series of transactions dating from 1436 to 1441. At the time of his death Hussey’s estates in Dorset alone were worth at least £58 a year, and besides these he had other unspecified holdings in Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire, then in the hands of trustees. The Wiltshire properties probably included those in Wilton which he had purchased in 1433.4
Following his elections to Parliament for two Wiltshire boroughs, Hussey frequently attended the county elections for Dorset, being present in 1426, 1427 (when he himself was returned for Melcombe Regis), 1429, 1432, 1442, 1447, 1449 and 1450. Throughout this period he was closely linked with many of his fellow gentry in matters of public and private business, his most frequent associates being (Sir) John Hody*, the future chief justice (returned for Shaftesbury in December 1421 when he himself represented Great Bedwyn), William Carent* of Toomer and the latter’s brother-in-law, John Stourton II (created Lord Stourton in 1448). He seems to have been particularly close to the last named, who had sat for Wiltshire in December 1421 and Dorset in 1423—Parliaments which Hussey also attended as a Member of the Commons—for he acted as a feoffee of Stourton’s property in Somerset and Essex in 1430, and subsequently of certain of his lands in and near Salisbury; and as late as 1467 (five years after Stourton’s death) he and Carent were to make a settlement of the manor of Beckhampton, Wiltshire, on the occasion of the marriage of the baron’s grandson. Links with Stourton, who from 1437 was a regular member of Henry VI’s council, can have done Hussey no harm, yet, conversely, there is no sign that Stourton’s influence in governmental circles was ever used to Hussey’s direct advantage; his public service was merely that to be expected of a landowner of standing. In 1431 he had been appointed as a j.p. in Dorset, and while serving in this capacity he was elected as knight of the shire to the Parliament of 1435, during which he was made escheator of Somerset and Dorset. About the same time he was acting as a feoffee of the manors of Britford (Wiltshire) and Bramshaw (Hampshire) on behalf of Joan, widow of Robert More III*. In November 1436 he attested letters patent made by the abbot of Cerne in the chapter house of the abbey. Hussey provided securities in the Exchequer on 6 May 1440 for Robert Chaunterey, parson of Long Bredy, then granted keeping of the fruits of the church of Sturminster Marshall and other lands pertaining to the alien hospital of St. Giles of Pont Audemer, he himself being commissioned on the very same day to investigate wastage of the hospital’s assets. Curiously, for 15 years from that date Hussey received no further appointments to royal commissions, but nothing has emerged to explain this withdrawal from local administration. He did not lack important connexions: in 1441 William, earl of Arundel, and Sir William Bonville II* joined his more regular associates (Chief Justice Hody, Sir John Stourton and William Carent) as his co-feoffees for transactions regarding the manor of Milborne St. Andrew. By 1447 he had also begun a close association with John Newburgh†, and had appeared as a feoffee of the manor of Moore Crichel for settlement on John Chideock (d.c.1450) and his wife.5
In the late 1440s Hussey married for the second time, and in the Easter term of 1449 he assisted his wife, Isabel, in a lawsuit arising from her executorship of the will of her former husband, William Alexander of Salisbury. In 1454 the couple made a quitclaim of property in Castle Street, Salisbury, but they retained some 25 other buildings in the city, the largest of which had previously belonged to Alexander. That same year (1453-4) Hussey was named among the aldermen of Salisbury. By then he had also successfully arranged marriages for two of his sons: John (c.1428-84), the eldest, had married a daughter of Robert Turgeys, Hussey’s fellow knight of the shire in the Parliament of 1435, and kinswoman of his friend, William Carent; and Thomas had wedded a relation of Gilbert Kymer, dean of Salisbury and former physician to Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. Thereafter, the Husseys were frequently recorded in association with Dean Kymer: the elder Thomas participated in property transactions with him and witnessed deeds on his behalf, while the younger Thomas took on the executorship of his will.6
Although, in Hussey’s later years, it is occasionally difficult to distinguish him from his son Thomas, who (as ‘the younger’) was returned for Poole to Edward IV’s first Parliament, in 1461, the two were clearly differentiated for the most part. Often they were involved in private business together, as when, in 1464, Margaret, widow of Robert, 2nd Lord Hungerford, sold the younger man the manor of Maddington in Wiltshire. The aged Hussey senior was perhaps becoming increasingly dependent on Thomas junior and the latter’s brother, Master Elias Hussey, whom he named among the feoffees of the bulk of his estates that same year. He had already settled on his eldest son, John, certain of his first wife’s manors, and when he died, on Christmas day 1468, John inherited nearly all of his other holdings in Dorset. The younger Thomas was allotted the property in Salisbury (he was to represent the city in the Parliament of 1470), as well as other of his father’s estates, and it was he who subsequently sold Milborne St. Andrew for 220 marks to John Morton, bishop of Ely.