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