CARUS, Thomas (by 1515-71), of Halton, Lancs.; Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmld. and the Middle Temple, London.

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



Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1515, s. of William Carus of Asthwaite, Westmld. by Isabel, da. of Thomas Leyburn of Cunswick, Westmld. educ. M. Temple. m. by 1545, Catherine, da. of Thomas Preston of Preston Patrick, Westmld., 3s. 3da. Kntd. 1567.1

Offices Held

Lent reader, M. Temple 1556.

J.p. Lancs. 1538-d., Westmld. 1554-d., Berks., Cumb., Glos., Herefs., Mon., Oxon., Salop, Staffs., Worcs. 1558/59-d.; commr. chantries, Cheshire, Chester and Lancs. 1548, Lancs. 1550, 1552, 1554, goods of churches and fraternities, Lancs. and Yorks. 1553, eccles. causes, diocese of Chester 1562; other commissions 1551-d.; v.-chancellor at Lancaster, duchy of Lancaster by Aug. 1547-?d., feodary, Essex, Herts., London, Mdx. and Surr. 1553; serjeant-at-law Dec. 1558; Queen’s serjeant Oct. 1559; j. KB c.1566.2


Thomas Carus was a lawyer from Westmorland who rose to be a justice of the King’s bench. He both inherited and acquired property in Westmorland but his main theatre of action in the north was Lancashire. In 1536 his uncle Sir James Leyburn asked for Cromwell’s help in obtaining a lease from Cartmel priory for himself and Carus. What came of this is not known, but within two years Carus had been named to the Lancashire bench. By 1547 he held the vice-chancellorship in the duchy at Lancaster, and presumably this post and his own standing in the county explain his successive elections: he may also have had the backing of his kinsmen the Stanleys, and in 1547 the personal support of the new chancellor of the duchy Sir William Paget, who was to retain, or was even already retaining, his services in matters relating to property. Carus’s name is inserted in a different hand from the rest of the document on the indenture for Lancaster in the autumn of 1553 and over an erasure two years later. Early in 1549 he was one of several lawyers approached by Thomas Jolye to defend hereditary shrievalties which were then under review in Parliament, and on 30 Oct. 1555 a bill regulating the attendance of Members was committed to him after its first reading.3

Carus was employed in the dissolution of the chantries and his appointment to e