THUNDER, Thomas (d.c.1448), of Winchelsea, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



May 1421

Family and Education

prob. s. or gds. of Thomas Thunder of Winchelsea. m. 1s. Thomas.

Offices Held

Mayor, Winchelsea Easter 1419-21, 1422-3, 1424-5, 1435-7, 1444-6;2 jurat 1431-5, 1437-44, 1446-7.3


As Thomas Thunder ‘junior’, and in association with an older namesake (perhaps the same man as had represented Winchelsea in Parliament in 1381 and 1382), this MP witnessed a deed at Winchelsea in 1406. As a Portsman, he claimed exemption from taxation for his land at Udimore and Guestling between 1409 and 1421. His trading concerns included the shipment of large quantities of herring.4

Thunder served on the Winchelsea jury which in January 1415 provided information to the royal commissioners surveying the town before work started on new walls within its original perimeter; and during his mayoralties of 1420 and 1423-4 he himself rendered account at the Exchequer for the 600 marks (£400) granted by Henry V for this undertaking, at the rate of 200 marks a year for three years. These accounts showed that in 1415 and 1417 the town spent over £138 on labourers’ wages and building materials, on repairing a tower and for digging a great encircling ditch. In 1431 Thunder was made a feoffee of lands which John Salerne II* had bequeathed to the town to help support the commonalty’s expenses. He frequently represented Winchelsea at meetings of the Brodhull, doing so 15 times between 1434 and 1445. Meanwhile, in 1436 he had been one of a group of local shipowners who had used the good offices of the treasurer of the Exchequer, Ralph, Lord Cromwell, in order to obtain from the King’s Council licences to fit out their ships to safeguard the Channel against the King’s enemies over a period of four months, beginning in April.5

Over the years Thunder was often asked to act as a trustee of property in the neighbourhood of Winchelsea: he did so in 1416 for William Catton*, the royally appointed bailiff of Winchelsea; in 1421 for William Skele II*; a few years later for Roger atte Gate* and Robert Onewyn*; and in 1443-4 for Godard Pulham. Finally, in December 1445, he was associated with John Fray*, chief baron of the Exchequer, as a co-recipient of a gift of chattels from a local brewer called Henry Thomas.6 Earlier in 1445, during Thunder’s seventh annual term as mayor, his son, Thomas junior (d.1474), had been returned to Parliament for the town. It seems likely that the elder man died at some point in 1448, for after July that year distinction between him and his son, as ‘senior’ or ‘junior’, ceased to be made.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: A. P.M. Wright


  • 1. Called ‘junior’ on the returns in 1421 and 1426.
  • 2. Cotton Julius BIV, ff. 39, 41, 57, 72; Sale Cat. Battle Abbey Chs. (1835), 101, 104; Winchelsea Corporation ms 62, f. 13.
  • 3. Cotton Julius BIV, ff. 40, 41, 50, 51, 73; Winchelsea Corporation ms 62, f. 13.
  • 4. Cat. Rye Recs. ed. Dell, 136, 158; E179/225/34, 36, 38; E122/34/4.
  • 5. Cat. Rye Recs. 146/2; CPR, 1413-16, p. 273; 1429-36, p. 609; E364/54 m. Ad, 57 m. I; White and Black Bks. of Cinque Ports (Kent Rec. Ser. xix), 3-6, 8, 10, 12-17, 19, 20; E28/57 26 June 14 Hen. VI; Cotton Julius BIV, f. 42.
  • 6. CP25(1)240/83/22; Add. Ch. 20209; Cat. Rye Recs. 122/10; Suss. Feet of Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii), no. 3066; CCR, 1441-7, p. 353.
  • 7. White and Black Bks. 24. The younger Thomas served as mayor in 1449-52, 1453-5 and 1465-6: Cotton Julius BIV, f. 72; Winchelsea Corporation ms 62, f. 14; White and Black Bks. 25-29, 31-33, 52.