HEBBS, Thomas (by 1534-85/94), ?of Corton in Portisham, Dorset and Salisbury, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. by 1534, yr. s. of William Hebbs of Corton. m. Elizabeth.1
William Hebbs of Corton, Dorset, had two of his sons christened Thomas. Thomas ‘the elder’ was certainly dead by 1567, and probably by 1557 when the father made his will mentioning only one son Thomas. It seems likely therefore that the Thomas Hebbs, gentleman, who was returned to the Parliament of 1555 by Weymouth, was the younger of the two. He was left the lease of Corton by his eldest brother Owen in 1567, although for years he fought a legal battle with his nephew, who claimed the inheritance under a remainder in Owen Hebbs’s will: the passage did not in fact appear in the will and the prerogative court decided in Thomas Hebbs’s favour in 1576. Two years later, however, the dispute was still going on, Thomas Hebbs accusing one of his nephew’s supporters of having procured perjured evidence in the ecclesiastical court and another of breaking into his house and ejecting his wife and maidservants.2
Thomas Hebbs did not (at least towards the end of his life) live at Corton, but at a house which he leased in Crane Street, Salisbury. The remaining years of the lease he bequeathed to John Gifford, the son of his servant William Gifford, when he made his will on 9 Apr. 1585. He left his wife an annuity of 100 marks out of the lease of Corton and gave all his goods there to his kinsman, Christopher Payne—probably his sister’s son—whom he made his executor. The will was proved on 30 Jan. 1594.3
Corton is six miles to the east of Weymouth, but Hebbs’s own standing as a local gentleman would not have sufficed to ensure his election by the borough without the backing of a more powerful man. Not far from Corton is Abbotsbury whose lord, Sir Giles Strangways II, was senior knight for Dorset in 1555: Hebbs’s fellow-Member John Buller I was a connexion of Strangways and it is therefore possible that Hebbs was Strangways’s nominee. If so, he may have disappointed his patron by not voting with him and Buller against one of the government’s bills in this Parliament.