WELDON, Thomas (by 1499-1567), of Cookham, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. by 1499, 3rd s. of Hugh Weldon. m. (1) by 1538, Cecily; (2) Anne, 5s. 2da.1
Cofferer’s clerk in 1520; third clerk of kitchen by Mar. 1526, second clerk by 1532, chief clerk by 1538-40; keeper of the houses in upper bailey, Windsor castle 1538-d. , of the butts by 1539-d., of leads 1540-d., of the keys by 1553; first master, the Household 1540, cofferer 1552-30 Sept. 1553, by 14 Dec. 1558-d.; steward, manors of Cookham and Bray, Berks. 1541-d.; j.p. Berks. 1543-d. q. by 1554, j.p. Wilts. 1558/59-d.; commr. benevolence, Berks. 1544/45, subsidy 1546, 1563, relief, Berks. and Windsor 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; other commissions 1541-64; high steward, Windsor Apr. 1548-Sept. 1563; keeper, the great wardrobe 1559.2
The Weldons, who claimed descent from a Northumberland family, rose by service in the royal household. Hugh Weldon, a sewer to Henry VIII, placed his second son Edward in the service of John Shirley, then cofferer, in 1509. A clerk of the green cloth by 1518, Edward Weldon was granted a lease of the manor of Swanscombe, Kent, in 1540 and was to be followed on the board of green cloth by his son Anthony who established his line at Swanscombe. Meanwhile, Thomas Weldon was leasing the demesne lands of Chertsey abbey in 1535 and is first mentioned as a clerk of the kitchen when licensed to shoot with a long bow at Bray, in Berkshire, on 7 Feb. 1536. By 1540 he had overtaken his brother, being first master of the Household with Edward as third master.3
Cromwell may have been responsible for this promotion, for his reforms of the Household in 1539 were aimed at unifying the administration of the court by making the four masters of the Household act as links between the cofferer and the clerks of the green cloth. The fall of Cromwell did not halt Weldon’s progress, which entered a new stage with his return to the Parliament of 1542 for Berkshire, a county in which he now held a great deal of property and to which he may have been drawn by Sir Richard Weston, chief steward of Chertsey abbey by 1534, whom he succeeded as steward of Bray and Cookham. It had a brief setback in March 1543, when he was summoned before the Council, found guilty of maintaining an offender against the Six Articles, Anthony Peirson, and sent to the Fleet; Peirson was one of the Windsor Martyrs, but his abettors in the Household were pardoned in September 1543. In 1544 Weldon was ordered to muster with the Berkshire gentry and went to France as a captain, and two years later he and John Norris were paid for conducting 40 men from Berkshire to Dover.4
When in 1552 he succeeded John Ryther as cofferer of the Household, Weldon became responsible for the day-to-day financing, and so for the smooth running, of that institution. The cofferer’s annual account ended in September, so that Weldon’s first full year of office was completed under Mary. He was then superseded, for Sir Richard Freeston’s accounts follow, but for a time the government still made use of him, perhaps to test his loyalty. His appointment as a commissioner of oyer and terminer on 2 May 1554 was followed at the end of the month by a letter to ‘Mr. Weldon’ and one John Dodge at Southampton, telling them to greet the Spanish Marques de las Navas on behalf of the Council; on 5 June, presumably as steward of Windsor, he was ordered to set a seditious slanderer in the pillory. After this Weldon lapsed into obscurity until at Elizabeth’s accession he was reappointed cofferer, being jointly responsible with Richard Ward I for the account of 1558-9. He was to remain cofferer until his death.5
Weldon had started to acquire property with a reversion of some London tenements in the parish of St. Giles without Cripplegate in 1538. At about the same time he received the rectory of Bisham, Berkshire, where Henry VIII had briefly contemplated resettling the monks of Chertsey, and in September 1538 he and his wife Cecily were granted the manor and advowson of White Waltham, also in Berkshire and once the property of Chertsey abbey. Ten years later he and his nephew Edward Weldon paid £963 for the site of the college of St. John the Baptist, Shottesbrook, Berkshire, with which came the manor and advowson there, the rectories of Ashampstead and Basildon, and lands at Cookham and in the parish of St. Edmund in Lombard Street, London, at a total rent of £49 10s.a year. In December 1551, a month after his nephew’s death, Weldon secured the manor of Woolstone, Berkshire, at a rent of £17 14s., and in July 1563 he and Thomas Gardiner paid £844 for the reversion of Pangbourne manor.6
Weldon’s Protestantism was therefore profitable. The only acquisition which brought him any trouble seems to have been Woolstone, which had belonged to St. Swithin’s priory, Winchester, and then to the Protector’s brother Admiral Seymour; an alleged lease by the prior forced Weldon to sue the occupants in the court of requests. Difficulty also arose over the only property which he is known to have inherited, from his eldest brother Hugh, who had a tenement in what is now Cannon Street, London: in 1546 Hugh Weldon’s son Edward had to promise to pay £20 arrears of rent to the court of augmentations and at about the same time Thomas Weldon was pursued for an annuity of 40s. assigned on the tenement to the nunnery of Ankerwyke, Buckinghamshire, and so now due to the crown.7
Weldon made his will on 6 Mar. 1566 and died on 2 Mar. 1567.8
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: T. F.T. Baker
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Northants. (Harl. Soc. lxxxvii), 234-8; Hasted, Kent, ii. 411; LP Hen. VIII, xiii; PCC 5 Babington.
- 2. R. C. Braddock, ‘R. household, 1540-60’ (Northwestern Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1971), 133-4 and additional information from Dr. Braddock; E179/69/23; 351/1795/6, 11-19; LC2/4/2; PCC 13 Jankyn; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 146; LP Hen. VIII, x, xiii-xvi, xvii, xx, xxi; Bodl. Ashmole 1176, f. 41v; Stowe 571, f. 59-59v; CPR, 1547-8, p. 81; 1550-3, pp. 142, 393-4; 1553, pp. 351, 362, 413, 416; 1553-4, p, pp. 17, 28; 1560-3, pp. 343, 443; 1563-6, pp. 20, 28, 39, 184, 488; Lansd. 8, f. 77.
- 3. Braddock, 133-4; Surr. Rec. Soc. xii. p. liv; LP Hen. VIII, x.