HILTON, Thomas (by 1508-58 or later), of Shoreditch, London.
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Family and Education
b. by 1508, ?s. of William Hilton of London. m. by 1549, Elizabeth, prob. da. of John Malte of London.1
Groom, the chamber by 1538-40 or later.2
Thomas Hilton was probably the son of the William Hulton or Hilton who had been tailor to the King and a groom of the chamber in 1512. (No connexion has been found between him and his namesake who was under clerk of the Parliaments until January 1510.) William Hilton and his brother Alexander were both Merchant Taylors and they may have been related to a family of that name with members in the Skinners’ Company. A paternal connexion with the Household would account for Thomas Hilton’s entry into the royal service where, about July 1538, he is listed as a messenger and groom of the chamber. In April 1539 he carried letters between Cromwell and the 3rd Duke of Norfolk (including the duke’s summons to the impending Parliament), and in October and December of the same year he was a messenger for the Council, but it is not known whether he continued as such after 1540: by 1545, as is mentioned below, he was in the service of (Sir) John Harington I of Exton. William Hilton’s fellow Merchant Taylor John Malte was to become tailor and supposed confidant to Henry VIII. The Elizabeth Malte whom Thomas Hilton married was probably a daughter of this John Malte. In 1545 Hilton was mentioned in a Star Chamber case as the servant and tenant of Harington in Rutland, so that he may have introduced Harington’s young ‘cousin’ and namesake into the Malte family circle.3
Although Thomas Hilton is not known to have been a Household official before about 1538, when among his fellow grooms of the chamber was a Christopher Lambert, he was presumably returned for Old Sarum in 1529 because of his own or his family’s position in the royal service: his election may have owed something to Sir Edward Baynton, as was probably the case with his fellow-Member William Lambert. Although John Harington II his patron appears to have been the 1st Earl of Pembroke, and no earlier connexion between the Haringtons and Old Sarum or its Members has been found. Hilton was probably returned again to the Parliament of 1536, in accordance with the King’s general request for the re-election of the previous Members, and he may have sat again in those of 1539 and 1542, for which the names of the Old Sarum Members are unknown: he does not, however, appear to have held further office. In September 1549 he and his wife were named executors in the will of John Malte’s widow Anne, and thereafter they seem to have lived until at least 1558 in London, where they acquired a number of properties in the parish of St. Leonard, Shoreditch. No will has been found for either, but Thomas Hilton was probably dead by the fiscal year 1565-6, when one of his former leaseholds was let to another tenant.4