SHOYSWELL, Thomas (by 1506-33), of Hastings, Suss.

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 1506, prob. 2nd s. of John Shoyswell of Shoyswell.1

Offices Held

Jurat, Hastings 1527-d., bailiff 1530-1; bailiff to Yarmouth 1527.2


Thomas Shoyswell was a younger son in a family long settled at the manor of that name on the Sussex-Kent border north of Hastings. He is missing from the pedigree included in the Sussex visitation, the namesake appearing there at this time being the son and heir of Roger Shoyswell, the Member’s elder brother who died in 1524-5.3

It may be presumed that Shoyswell made a career in trade at Hastings, where in 1528-9 he is found importing salt. He was a jurat by 1527 and in that year he first attended the Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports. His return to Parliament in 1529, after only a few years’ municipal experience, marked his rising status, as did his election as bailiff in the following year: both may have owed something to his gentle birth and resulting connexions. Although nothing is known of his role at Westminster, there are glimpses of his activity nearer home: the choice of him as one of the auditors of the ‘book of Sandwich’ on the occasion of a dispute between that port and Sir Edward Ryngeley, its powerful bailiff, may not have been unconnected with Ryngeley’s concurrent Membership of Parliament.4

Shoyswell attended the Brotherhood at its Easter meeting in 1533: he was asked to tell the new lord warden, Lord Rochford, that he could have a third of all ‘findals’ for life but that he was to keep the grant secret so as not to create a precedent in a matter which nearly always provoked dispute. Three months later Shoyswell was appointed deputy to the bailiff, Richard Lane, but thereafter he disappears from the scene. That this connotes his death is shown by the advent, on a list of Members of Parliament of later compilation, of the names of John Durrant and John Taylor as representatives of Hastings. Shoyswell’s fellow-Member Richard Calveley had died soon after the Parliament began and was perhaps already replaced; his own death, occurring after the close of its fifth session in April 1533, created the further vacancy. In the absence of a will it is not known whether Shoyswell was married.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), iii. 185.
  • 2. Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 202-3, 205, 210-11, 213, 215-16.
  • 3. VCH Suss. ix. 215; PCC 38 Bodfelde.
  • 4. E122/200/5; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. 202, 211, 214.
  • 5. Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. 215-16; Add. 34150, f. 137.