HUSSEY, Thomas I (by 1509-58), of Halton Holegate and Caythorpe, Lincs.
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Family and Education
b. by 1509, 1st s. of Sir Robert Hussey of Linwood in Blankney by 1st w. Anne, da. and coh. of William Saye of Liston, Essex. m. da. of Sir William Hopton, d.s.p. suc. fa. 20 May 1546.1
Steward, Belvoir priory, Leics., treasurer to 3rd Duke of Norfolk by 1543; commr. relief, Lincs. (Kesteven) 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; j.p.q. Lincs. (Holland, Kesteven, Lindsey) 1554.2
Thomas Hussey belonged to a cadet branch of the Lincolnshire family. His father, a landowner in the county, was pricked sheriff in 1542. Through his mother, coheir to a small estate, Hussey was enabled to set up his own establishment in 1531. The date of his entry into the Duke of Norfolk’s household is unknown but by 1537, when Norfolk was active in the north, Hussey was one of his most prominent servants and a go-between with Cromwell. Although the duchess called him one of her ‘especial enemies’, perhaps because of his own fondness for gaming and riot he was an intimate of the Earl of Surrey, for whose sake he did not scruple to mislead his master by concealing some of Surrey’s debts. As one of Surrey’s circle he was imprisoned in 1543 for eating flesh in Lent, and in the following year, when he led a contingent of Lincolnshire foot, he may have served under the earl in the French war.3
Hussey’s election for Grimsby to the Parliament of 1545 may be ascribed to one or other of his connexions. Norfolk could have commended him to the 4th Earl of Westmorland, who had served with the duke in the north and who was perhaps responsible for the return of Hussey’s fellow-Member Richard Goodrich. Hussey was also related to the Askew family of Stallingborough, which had furnished one of Grimsby’s Members in 1529 and in the person of Francis Askew was to retain a close interest in Grimsby elections. While Hussey was a Member he became involved in an episode which illustrated the limitations of parliamentary privilege. On 10 Dec. 1545 the Privy Council again committed him to the Fleet for a fray with one Lewknor (probably Edward Lewknor), one of Norfolk’s gentlemen, behind the old palace in Tothill Fields, Westminster, which arose out of certain words ‘for a question of playing at Primero at Domyngo’s house’; the offence was all the more serious in that Parliament was then sitting. A month earlier Hussey had written to Surrey that whereas the King’s debts were 400,000 marks, the Parliament would not raise £200,000.4
Hussey seems to have escaped serious implication in the fall of the Howards, and after Norfolk’s condemnation he was one of those employed to dissolve his household and render account to the crown. Whether he continued to serve the duke during his imprisonment is unknown, although he was to witness Norfolk’s will in 1554, but during Edward VI’s reign he was in assiduous attendance at court or at Somerset House, and by the summer of 1549 he was writing to Cecil in terms of some familiarity about the suppression of Ket’s rebellion: in this year and again in 1550 and perhaps also in 1551 he was nominated sheriff of Lincolnshire but never pricked. In February 1553 Cecil asked the townsmen of Grantham for the nomination of both their Members in the forthcoming Parliament. The corporation granted Cecil one seat but had to refuse the other, which had already been promised to the previous Member, Sir Edward Warner, at the request of the and Earl of Rutland. In replying to Cecil the corporation implied that Thomas Hussey was his second choice, but in the event Hussey was returned and Cecil’s other nominee, whose identity is not known, was passed over. In the following October Hussey attained the knighthood of the shire. To the support of Cecil he could have added that of the restored Duke of Norfolk. In this Parliament Hussey was not among the Members who ‘stood for the true religion’ against the initial measures to restore Catholicism. Six months later he was elected at both Grantham and Grimsby. At Grantham, for which he chose to sit, Cecil had probably again recommended him, while his nomination at Grimsby was the work of the sheriff Sir Francis Askew; he was replaced there by his nephew Ambrose Sutton. That was the end of Hussey’s parliamentary career, for it was almost certainly his cousin and namesake who was returned for Peterborough to the last Marian Parliament; he may have been excluded by the crown’s declared preference for resident Members.5
The date of Hussey’s death has not been found but his will of 14 Nov. 1558 was proved on the following 28 Dec. He left a silver salt to the young 4th Duke of Norfolk in remembrance of his ‘poor goodwill towards his grace’ and various bequests to his sisters and coheirs and to their children, including Ambrose Sutton, but he made no mention of his nephew Richard Thymbleby, to whom he had once promised to leave some lands in Devon and Cornwall on condition that Thymbleby married at his direction. After Hussey’s death Thymbleby sued for these lands in the Exchequer. Hussey left lands in several Lincolnshire parishes to his half-brother Charles Hussey and named another, John Hussey of Gray’s Inn, executor with Sir Francis Askew. In November 1560 his sisters had licence to enter on their inheritance.