LANGTON, Sir Thomas (1496/97-1569), of Newton and Walton-le-Dale, Lancs.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 1496/97, 2nd s. of Ralph Langton of Newton and Walton-le-Dale by Joan, da. of Sir Christopher Southworth of Samlesbury. m. (1) Elizabeth, (?illegit.) da. of Edward Stanley, 1st Lord Monteagle, 8s. 5da.; (2) Anne, (?illegit.) da. of Thomas Talbot of Salesbury, 3s. 1da. suc. bro. 1511. Kntd. 8 June 1533.1
Commr. subsidy, Lancs. 1523, 1524, 1563, tenths of spiritualities 1535, relief 1550; other commissions 1532-7; j.p. 1531/32-d.; sheriff 1533-4, 1555-6, 1566-7; gov. Blackburn g.s. 1567-d.2
Langton’s father died in 1503 and his elder brother died eight years later when Thomas was 14. Their mother had obtained the wardship of her sons but granted it on 11 Nov. 1506 to Sir Edward Stanley, later 1st Lord Monteagle, who married his ward to his daughter, sometimes said to have been illegitimate. On 4 Aug. 1558 Langton conveyed his considerable estates to his brother-in-law, the 2nd Lord Monteagle, Bishop Stanley of Sodor and Man, and William Fleetwood, in a settlement of questionable legality designed to exclude the children of his second marriage from the inheritance. Fleetwood was the nephew of John Fleetwood of Penwortham who had married one of Sir Thomas Langton’s daughters: the Fleetwoods were later to inherit the Langton estates.3
Langton held the advowson of Wigan where the rector, acting through a steward or bailiff, was lord of the manor. In 1519 he presented the physician Thomas Linacre and during 1532-3 his own son Richard. Richard Langton died almost immediately, whereupon Langton presented Richard Kighley, from whom the rectory was leased by John Kitchen, who also purchased the right to the next presentation from Langton. This was one of a number of such sales or grants by Langton: thus, his kinsman Bishop Stanley was presented on 10 Aug. 1558 by John Fleetwood and others, and Fleetwood presented again in 1569. As lord of Newton, Langton was the chief lord of Wigan, but he aspired to be the rector’s steward as well. Balked of this office he acted as if he had secured it and interfered in the mayoral election of 1539. In or about 1546 he even appointed the 3rd Earl of Derby his deputy, but when Derby sued him for his fees of £5 6s.8d. a year Langton blandly replied ‘that he was never seised of the said office’. Early in Elizabeth’s reign, when Derby was suing Langton on this score, Bishop Stanley as rector of Wigan and Sir Thomas as deputy to the then steward, William Fleetwood, appeared in the duchy court against William Gerard II and others in a dispute over the title of the parsonage to certain liberties. An ardent litigant, Langton fought one case against Thomas Fleetwood and in at least one other employed William Fleetwood.4
Langton was knighted at the coronation of Anne Boleyn. He led over 100 men in helping the Earl of Derby to suppress the Pilgrimage of Grace. During the 1540s and 50s he was repeatedly called upon to serve in the border fighting against the Scots and twice during the period he had difficulty in raising as many soldiers as were expected of him. His experience in local management and in war well qualified him for election to Mary’s second Parliament when his fellow-knight was his kinsman Sir Thomas Stanley. The Journal does not mention Langton. He may have promoted the enfranchisement of his borough of Newton in 1559, but this is more likely to have been the work of William Fleetwood, then counsel to the duchy of Lancaster and steward of the borough. In a will of 4 Apr. 1569 he recounted a settlement made 11 years previously and, besides naming the manors involved, enumerated his ‘600 messuages, 200 tofts, 12 mills, 20 dove houses, 600 gardens, 600 orchards, 6,000 acres of land, 2,000 [acres] of meadow, 5,000 acres of pasture, 1,000 acres of wood, 6,000 [acres of] heath, 6,000 acres of moor [and] 1,000 acres of marsh’. As executors he named his friends Sir Richard Sherborn, Alexander Rigby of Arley and Edmund Winstanley of Wigan, and his servant John Woodcock, and as supervisors Thomas Carus and John Walshe. He died in the same year, when his grandson and heir was eight years old.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. Date of birth estimated from age at brother’s i.p.m., E. Baines, Lancs. ed. Croston, iv. 383. J. B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 397 seq.; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxi), 24; (xcviii), 12-14; LP Hen. VIII, vi.
- 2. Watson, 398, 538; Lansd. 8, f. 79; LP Hen. VIII, v, viii, xii; Somerville, Duchy, i. 291n; CPR, 1553, p. 360; 1566-9, p. 90.
- 3. Chetham Soc. li. 246n, 249-50n; VCH Lancs. vi. 292; CPR, 1558-60, p. 77.
- 4. VCH Lancs. iv. 59, 62-63, 72; Chetham Soc. n.s. xv. 108, 114; Ducatus Lanc. ii. 184, 198; iii. 210, 217, 239, 261-2, 267, 325.
- 5. LP Hen. VIII, vi, xi; HMC Bath, iv. 59, 67, 72; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, iii(2), 92; Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. xxxv. 183 seq.; xl. 89-90; Chetham Soc. li. 246-53; Ducatus Lanc. i. 50.