ATWODE (AWODE, WODE, WODDE), Thomas (by 1469-1532), of Canterbury, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1469, 3rd s. of Thomas Atwode (d.1498) of Canterbury; bro. of William. educ. G. Inn. m. Margaret, da. of John Moyle of Eastwell.5

Offices Held

Alderman, Canterbury by 1500, chamberlain 1500-3, mayor 1504-5, 1512-13, 1530-31; commr. gaol delivery, Canterbury 1507, 1510, 1513, subsidy 1512, 1514, 1515, Kent 1515; j.p. Kent by 1515-d.6


Thomas Atwode was admitted to the freedom of Canterbury in 1490 as the son of a freeman. Aldermen elected by the city in October 1496 included Thomas Atwode, for the ward of Northgate, but whether this was the father or the son is not clear, for it was customary for aldermen to move from ward to ward, and this was not necessarily his first election. A month later a Thomas Atwode was elected an alderman, again with no difference of style by which to distinguish senior from junior. However, a list of aldermen of 1500, after the death of the father, gives Atwode as an alderman for the ward of Westgate: by 1509 he was an alderman for Worthgate, which was still his ward ten years later.7

Atwode received 20s. from the city chamberlains during 1501-2; this was the first payment of the fee for his counsel which was to be paid him for the next 30 years. In the accounts he is often described as legis peritus, learned in the law, like his brother whom he succeeded as legal adviser to the city. The admission books of Gray’s Inn begin too late to record his entry, but in Christmas week 1520 Canterbury sent two cranes to him, ‘then being marshal of Gray’s Inn’ and thus responsible for the Christmas festivities of the inn. He was employed in many negotiations, perhaps the most prolonged being those leading to the articles between St. Gregory’s, Canterbury, and the mayor and commonalty of the city by which it was agreed that the monastery lay within the liberties of Canterbury, its inhabitants being therefore subject to the mayor and contributory to all the charges of the city. This agreement was reached by the mediation of the prior of Christchurch, John Hales I, Christopher Hales and Atwode after an obligation of arbitrament between St. Gregory’s and the city had been sealed on 1 Sept. 1528.8

For the Parliament of 1510 Atwode was paid 52s.8d. for 35 days’ attendance and four days’ travelling; both were recorded as at a rate of 16d. a day, although he evidently received 18d. a day for travelling. For the first session of the Parliament of 1515 he received £4 for 60 days at 16d. a day, for the second £3 2s.6d.(sic) for 39 days at 16d. a day and four days’ travelling at 2s. a day. In this Parliament Canterbury obtained an Act (6 Hen. VIII, c.17) for the cleansing and deepening of the river flowing through the city, compulsory powers to make the necessary alterations being granted by the Act provided all those suffering from the changes were indemnified. The bill, in the form of a petition, was introduced into the Lords by Archbishop Warham. On his order it was delivered, after the first reading, to Atwode, to be amended; two days later it was brought in again by Atwode, de novo reformata, and read a second time. The third reading soon followed, the bill passed the Lords and was sent down to the Commons, whence it returned some ten days later to become, on receiving the royal assent, the Act for the river in Canterbury. Atwode was paid £4 10s. for 45 days at the first session of the Parliament of 1529 at the rate of 2s. a day; the city chamberlain of 1531-2 paid him £7 16s. arrears of wages presumably for his attendance in the second session, and 43s.8d. in part payment for 36 days at 2s. a day, which could have been for either the third or the fourth session, both held in 1532, or for a short attendance at both. In the following year wages were paid instead to Robert Darknall, who evidently replaced Atwode at the fifth session, which began on 4 Feb. 1533.9

Atwode’s will was proved on 9 Sept. 1532, his widow being executrix, but was not registered. Atwode was buried in the chapel which he had built in the church of St. Mildred as a burial place for himself and his family. His monument inscription described him as keeper of the rolls in the household of an ecclesiastic, probably Archbishop Warham whose will had been witnessed in August 1531 by a ‘Thomas Woodd’.10

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Canterbury chamberlains’ accts.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 5. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman, Freemen of Canterbury, ed. Cowper, cols. 3, 94; Canterbury prob. reg. A7, f. 76; Canterbury chamberlains’ accts.; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 13.
  • 6. Canterbury burmote bk. passim; chamberlains’ accts.; CPR, 1494-1509, p. 546; LP Hen. VIII, i, ii, iv, v; Statutes, iii. 79, 112, 168.
  • 7. Canterbury burmote bk. passim.
  • 8. Canterbury chamberlains’ accts.; Add. 32311, ff. 76-77.
  • 9. Canterbury chamberlains’ accts.; LJ, i. 29, 30-32, 34, 38.
  • 10. Canterbury prob. reg. A8, f. 28; W. Somner, Antiqs. Canterbury, i. 166, app. 70; Wills from Doctors’ Commons (Cam. Soc. lxxxiii), 27.