PINNOCK, Thomas (by 1523-56 or later), of Sandwich, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1523, 4th s. of Thomas Pinnock of Sandwich.2

Offices Held

Common councilman, Sandwich (St. Clement’s parish) 1544-7, jurat 1547-56, mayor 1548-9, keeper of the common chest 1548-9, of the orphans 1548-9, 1550-2, auditor 1550, 1551, 1553.3


Thomas Pinnock was perhaps a draper, the trade followed by his father and other members of his family. He and John Seer were elected jurats at Sandwich on 7 Mar. 1547, although it was more usual for new jurats to be chosen at the annual election of officers in December. On the same day a servant of Archbishop Cranmer was made a freeman of the port at the suit of the archbishop. In November 1546 another of Cranmer’s servants had also been made free at his master’s suit, and his sureties had included Seer. It is possible, therefore, that the election of Pinnock and Seer to the juratship was promoted by Cranmer. (On the day of the election, for some unknown cause Pinnock came to blows with John Lee III in the council chamber.) In the following September the same pair were chosen Members of the forthcoming Parliament, with wages of 2s. a day each, but their election was set aside by the mayor who proceeded to hold another and to return Thomas Patche and Thomas Ardern as Members. After an appeal, the Privy Council decided in favour of the first election and ordered that Pinnock and Seer should be allowed 20s. for being ‘put to business and charges without reason’. Late in 1551 they were instructed to solicit for the furthering of the work on the haven when they went up to London for the session due to open on 23 Jan., but if the Parliament were prorogued to a later date it was Pinnock and the mayor who were to do this. It was during this session, which began on the day expected, that the validity of Pinnock and Seer’s election was again raised; they were asked to absent themselves from the House until it had been settled, but the outcome is not known.4

During Edward VI’s reign Sandwich tried to obtain help for the improvement of its harbour, and the intermediary chosen to further its suit with the Protector was Cranmer and not, as was customary, the lord warden of the Cinque Ports, Sir Thomas Cheyne. Pinnock played a leading part in the campaign, to which, as he reported early in 1548, Cranmer ‘like an honourable prelate granted his aid and help’. In the spring he and several others were appointed to solicit the cause; a petition was laid before the Protector and in August a commission of inquiry was issued to the archbishop and others. In the following December Pinnock was elected mayor, and as such he attended the Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports at Romney in July 1549. It was undoubtedly as a ‘solicitor’ that his services were most in demand. In March 1551 he and the then mayor moved Cheyne and other Privy Councillors for an answer ‘touching as well the payments of the workmen working upon the haven, and victuallers of the town, as also for the proceedings thereof’. The last instructions given to him in the matter appear to have been those he shared with John Seer during the final session of the Parliament of 1547.5

Within a year or two this spate of activity was brought to an end. In October 1554 Pinnock was an unsuccessful candidate in the election at Sandwich for the third Parliament of Mary’s reign. Two months later he was ordered to be committed to ward, as soon as he could be found, for assaulting Nicholas Peake, while Peake was on the bench with the mayor and jurats. After this he is not recorded as attending any assembly of the mayor and jurats, nor does he appear on the list of jurats for December 1555: it was not until the following 13 July, however, that he was deprived of his juratship ‘for divers urgent and necessary’ (but unspecified) causes. In view of Pinnock’s association with Cranmer, the coincidence in time between Cranmer’s downfall and Pinnock’s demotion is suggestive, but the connexion cannot be documented. The last reference found to Pinnock comes in a letter from the Council to the mayor and jurats on 18 Nov. 1556 restoring to him goods committed to a townswoman on (Sir) John Guildford’s instructions.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Sandwich old red bk. ff. 197v, 251.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxv), 108.
  • 3. Sandwich old red bk. passim; little black bk. passim.
  • 4. Sandwich old red bk. ff. 21v, 187, 194v, 195, 197v, 207; Canterbury prob. reg. A6, f. 70; 8, f. 74v; APC, ii. 536-7; CJ, i. 17.
  • 5. Sandwich old red bk. ff. 204, 206v, 208, 209, 211v, 243, 251; W. Boys, Sandwich (1792), ii. 732-5; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 240.
  • 6. Sandwich little black bk. ff. 55v, 61-62, 92v; APC, vi. 18.