FITZHERBERT, Thomas (1513/14-91), of Norbury Padley, Derbys. and Hamstall Ridware, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. 1513/14, 1st surv. s. of Sir Anthony Fitzherbert of Norbury by Maud, da. and coh. of Richard Cotton of Hamstall Ridware; bro. of William. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1533. m. by Oct. 1537, Anne, da. of Arthur Eyre of Padley, s.p. suc. fa. 26 May 1538. Kntd. 22 Feb. 1547.1
J.p. Staffs 1540-7, q. 1554-62; sheriff 1543-4, 1554-5; commr. array, Derbys. 1546, relief, Staffs. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553.2
Thomas Fitzherbert’s father, the eminent judge, inherited Norbury as a last surviving son in 1531, and Thomas Fitzherbert succeeded him there seven years later. Norbury lies on the Staffordshire border and it was with that county, where he inherited Hamstall Ridware from his mother, that Fitzherbert was to be chiefly identified; his brother William was to marry into the leading Staffordshire family of Swynnerton.3
Fitzherbert’s early years in public life did not foreshadow his later ostracism. His election to the last Henrician Parliament was a natural sequel to his first term as sheriff, and the knighthood and continued employment brought by the new reign implied that he was as capable of adjusting to change as his father had been. Retained on the Staffordshire bench under Mary, and again pricked sheriff, he neither reappeared in Parliament nor received any further mark of favour. Yet his rejection of the Elizabethan settlement, and the subversive activities of some of his younger kinsmen, were to bring him 30 years of persecution, long spells of imprisonment and finally death in the Tower on 2 Oct. 1591. He was succeeded by his nephew and namesake, a Member in 1593, who with Archbishop Whitgift’s consent destroyed his uncle’s will disinheriting him.