VAUGHAN, Thomas (by 1479-1543), of Dover, 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 1479. m. 2da.3

Offices Held

Jurat, Dover for every year for which records survive from 1500 to d., bailiff 15 Dec. 1503-d., mayor 1515-16, 1518-19, 1527-8, 1532-3; bailiff to Yarmouth 1519.4


In his pardon of 28 June 1510 Thomas Vaughan is described as ‘of Dover, Crick in lordship of Chepstow, and London, soldier of Calais, bailiff of Dover, yeoman or waterbailiff’, but of his background in Monmouthshire and London or his previous service at Calais nothing has come to light. To his 40-year tenure of the crown office of bailiff of Dover he was to add a variety of martial and municipal services. During the French war of 1513-15 he both provided and captained ships and received gunpowder for the defence of the town; between 1519 and 1521 he performed similar services and in 1520 he saw the King embark for the Field of Cloth of Gold; in June 1524 he took the muster of the lord warden’s retinue on its departure for France. The onset of war in 1542 found him a captain under the command of the warden; he had earlier been one of those charged with viewing the works at Dover harbour. The owner or tenant of property in various wards of the town, Vaughan represented Dover at several Brotherhoods between 1502 and 1528 and took part in such missions as that of 1516 to the warden about Sandwich’s dispute with the other ports over a sum of £44 and another of 1521 in connexion with a quo warranto inquiry. In September 1536 the Brotherhood chose him to administer the oath to the new warden, Sir Thomas Cheyne, if Thomas Wingfield was not present to do so.5

Save in the unlikely event of his having been the Member in 1510 whose name is lost, Vaughan was first elected for Dover in 1523. The writ, issued on 23 Jan. and received by the town from the warden on 20 Feb., was accompanied by a royal letter requiring the election of ‘discreet, expert and sufficient persons’ who were resident and had held municipal office. These criteria were fully met by both Vaughan and his fellow-Member Robert Nethersole, but their attendance was to prove less satisfactory: they did not leave Dover until 19 Apr., four days after Parliament opened, and Nethersole alone appears to have attended the second session after the three-week prorogation in late May and early June. Vaughan’s absence, which may have been excused by a call to share in the preparations for the invasion of France, relieved the town of part of its burden of wages. Given 3s.4d. when he set out (on a hired horse for which the town paid 20d. and accompanied by one John Fuller, whose journey cost the town a further 4s.), and welcomed home with 16d. worth of wine, he was eventually paid £3 15s., the sum due for his 35 days of attendance and travel, against twice that amount paid to Nethersole. Even so, Dover was compelled to levy a tax to recoup this expenditure, after fruitless appeals to Folkestone, Faversham and the Isle of Thanet, as ‘limbs’ of the port, for contributions. Vaughan was to achieve a better attendance at his only other Parliament, that of 1539. Elected with John Payntor on 23 Mar., he was present for 36 days out of the 56 of the first two sessions, for which he was paid £4 4s., and for 63 out of the 73 of the third, receiving £6 6s.6

By his will, made on 22 July 1543 and proved on the following 2 Oct., Vaughan left his lands and the residue of his goods to his brother William, who was to have the custody of his daughters Catherine and Christian until they came of age. To them and to a certain Thomas Vaughan he left 5 marks a year for life. His brother was to be his executor and the vicar of Northbourne the overseer. As one of the witnesses was the vicar of Ripple, which like Northbourne lies nearer to Deal than Dover, Vaughan appears to have ended his life in that neighbourhood.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. Add. 29618, f. 187.
  • 2. Ibid. f. 316.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Canterbury prob. reg. A23, f. 96.
  • 4. Add. 29617-18 passim; Egerton 2092-4 passim; CPR, 1494-1509, p. 335; LP Hen. VIII, i; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 176.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, i, iii, iv, vii, xv, xvi, xviii, xix, add.; Stowe 146, f. 86; Add. 29618, f. 139; Egerton 2093, ff. 4-18 passim, 49, 146v; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. 128-205 passim.
  • 6. Add. 29618, ff. 187-92v, 199v, 312v; Egerton 2092, ff. 461, 538.
  • 7. Canterbury prob. reg. A23, f. 96.