POWTRELL, Thomas (by 1514-57), of West Hallam, Derbys.

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



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1514, 1st s. of John Powtrell of West Hallam, and bro. of Nicholas. educ. G. Inn, adm. 1528. m. (1) Dorothy, da. and coh. of William Bassett of Muskham, Notts., 2da.; (2) by June 1544, Elizabeth, da. of Walter Rodney of Stoke Rodney, Som., 2s. 1da. suc. fa. Nov. 1543.1

Offices Held

J.p. Derbys. 1537-d.; commr. musters Derbys. 1539, benevolence 1544/45, array 1546, relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; escheator, Notts. and Derbys. 1549-50.2


The insignificant career of Thomas Powtrell’s father was offset by the careers of his two sons. Both Nicholas and Thomas Powtrell were educated at Gray’s Inn, but whereas Nicholas rose to become a serjeant and judge, Thomas combined the roles of landowner and magistrate, serving on the bench continuously from 1537 until his death and on many other commissions in the county. Both brothers inherited land in Nottinghamshire, but whereas Nicholas chose to consolidate his position in that county Thomas extended his holdings in neighbouring Derbyshire; in June 1544 he purchased for £102 the former monastic properties of Stanley Grange and lands in Dale and Spondon.3

Although Thomas Powtrell enjoyed the local standing without which he could scarcely have hoped to represent the shire in Parliament, his choice in 1547 may well have owed something to his legal connexions and in particular to the rising importance of his brother Nicholas, who had sat for the borough of Nottingham in 1545 and accompanied him in the same capacity to the Parliament of 1547. Powtrell’s only other appearance in the Commons, in the first Parliament of 1554, need not have reflected any special sympathy with the Marian regime, since although his son and daughter-in-law and their descendants were to become recusants, his own career was apparently unaffected by the religious upheavals of his own day and his will, drawn up in June 1557, gives no indication of enthusiasm.4

Thomas Powtrell died on 12 Aug. 1557. He had appointed as executors his wife Elizabeth, his brother Nicholas, in whom he placed his ‘especial trust’, and Sir John Chaworth, who was to have his second best gelding. Bequests to relatives and servants included ‘my chain and one half of all my plate’ to his son Walter, £xoo to his daughter Frances, £100 to his daughter Mary, and a black coat to each of his yeoman servants. The wardship of his heir Walter, aged 12 years, was purchased by his wife for £100.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: C. J. Black


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education. The Gen. n.s. viii. 68; Wards 7/1/118; E150/765/1.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xii-xviii, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 82; 1550-3, p. 394; 1553, pp. 352, 414; 1553-4, p. 18.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xix; CSP Dom. 1601-3, Add. 1547-65, p. 458.
  • 4. J. C. Cox, Derbys. Churches, iv. 220; Lichfield consist. ct. will 109.
  • 5. E150/765/1; Lichfield consist. ct. will 109; Index 10217(1), f. 66.