WARCOP, Thomas I (d.c.1423), of Warcop, Westmld.
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Family and Education
Collector of taxes, Westmld. Dec. 1402, July 1413.
J.p. Westmld. 16 Feb. 1405-July 1412, 8 Feb. 1416-June 1419.
Commr. of array, Westmld. May 1415; inquiry, Cumb., Westmld. Mar. 1417, Apr. 1419 (treasons and felonies).
Thomas’s ancestors took their name from the manor of Warcop, which remained the seat of the main branch of the family throughout the Middle Ages. Since Warcop lies only five miles south-east of Appleby, it is easy to see why several members of the family represented the borough as well as the county of Westmorland in Parliament. The Thomas Warcop who sat for Appleby in 1327, for example, served as a shire knight three years later; and another Thomas was twice chosen by the county electors, in 1376 and 1380, before the burgesses elected him in 1387. This Thomas was almost certainly the father of our MP, with whom he is easily and often confused. He played a leading part in local administration as a tax collector, royal commissioner and keeper of the rivers of Cumberland and Westmorland, in which capacity he remained active until the summer of 1397, if not later. His marriage to the widowed Katherine Halton took place in 1371, so his son would certainly have been old enough to sit for Appleby in the first Parliament of Henry IV’s reign.2
From 1402 onwards Thomas was employed by the government in various capacities, first as a tax collector and then, three years later, on the Westmorland bench. He again took a seat in Parliament, this time for the county, in 1407, partly through the help of his kinsman, Thomas Warcop II*, who was present at the election. Although this marked his last appearance in the Commons, he did attest the returns for Westmorland to the Parliaments of 1414 (Nov.), 1415, 1419 and 1421 (May). On the first of these occasions he repaid a previous kindness by supporting the candidacy of Thomas Warcop II; and, on the second, the latter’s son, Thomas III, was elected along with Robert Warcop, who may possibly have been our Member’s younger son. Robert was again sent to Westminster in 1421 (May), thanks to the support of his various relatives, who invariably demonstrated great family solidarity at election time. Allegations of complicity in a variety of serious crimes made by the lawyer, John Helton*, against some of the prolific Warcop clan during this period demanded a large turnout, especially as the case was currently being heard in the court of Chancery. Thomas still occupied the manor of Warcop in June 1422, but had evidently died by September 1424, when part of the property was in the hands of Ralph, earl of Westmorland. Another Thomas Warcop of Warcop was, however, present at the county elections to the 1426 Parliament, so it was probably he who inherited the manor. The family genealogy is extremely unclear at this point, although by 1435 Robert Warcop was seised of all the late MP’s estates.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. CPR, 1370-4, p. 97; 1396-9, p. 242; Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. viii. 324-5.
- 2. CPR, 1381-5, pp. 210, 256; 1385-9, p. 648; 1391-6, p. 232; 1396-9, p. 242; C66/320 m. 10v; Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. viii. 324-5.
- 3. C219/11/5, 6, 12/3, 5, 13/4; CCR, 1422-9, p. 9; Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. viii. 324-7.