HULL, Thomas (by 1528-75/76), of Devizes, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. 1528. m. 5s. 1da.2
Mayor, Devizes 1554-5, dep. mayor in Oct. 1557, 1560.3
Thomas Hull was a clothier who was presumably born in Devizes, since he asked to be buried near his father in St. Mary’s church there. He first appears when assessed for subsidy in the parish of St. John’s in 1549; his goods were then valued at £20, but only at £12 in 1553, £8 in 1560 and £6 in 1571. The decline is probably to be explained by the acquisition of property outside the town, for Hull was styled a gentleman when informed against in the King’s bench in 1555 and a ‘clothman, late of Devizes’, when he sued out a pardon in 1559. He must none the less have continued to spend much time there as he remained active in its affairs in the 1560s. Quarrels occurred between Hull and three prominent townsmen in 1559-60, one of them being over the unsuitability for office of one John Burd.4
Hull’s own term of office as mayor expired at Michaelmas 1555 so that he must have attended Mary’s third Parliament during its early months. It was for his alleged ‘secession’ from this Parliament that Hull was one of the Members informed against in the King’s bench in the Easter term of 1555. Proceedings continued during the autumn, when he failed to appear and was distrained 40s., and in the following Hilary term he was fined 53s.4d., one of his sureties being his fellow-Member Edward Heynes. Hull had not ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, Protestantism, in Mary’s first Parliament and he was not to oppose a government bill in her fourth. The omission of his name, and that of his partner Henry Morris, from a surviving copy (although they appear on the original) of the Crown Office list of Members in 1558 may be no more than an administrative lacuna.5
Hull’s will of 20 Feb. 1575 mentions five sons; the first had left to him all debts owed to the testator by Sir James Stumpe, the second received £5, and the three others leases of property, all apparently in Devizes. There is no sign that Hull still held a farm called ‘Nockhouse’ in Hampshire, his title to which had been examined by the mayor’s court in December 1560. The residuary legatee and sole executrix was a daughter Margaret, and the overseers were John Hull, clerk, George Reynolds, Robert Norris and Stephen Flower. Although probate was not granted until 19 May 1576, Hull may have died shortly after making the will, which he had done as a sick man.6