WILLIAMS, Thomas II (1513/14-66), of Stowford in Harford, Devon.

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. 1513/14, 1st s. of Adam Williams of Stowford by Alice, da. and h. of Thomas Prideaux of Ashburton. educ. I. Temple, adm. 14 Nov. 1539, called. m. Emmeline, da. and coh. of William Cruwys of Chudleigh, at least 2s. 3da.2

Offices Held

Attendant on reader, I. Temple 1556, 1557, 1560, Lent reader 1558, 1561.

Attorney, Plymouth 1546-d.; feodary, Devon and Exeter in 1559; j.p.q. Devon 1558/9-d. 3

Speaker of House of Commons 1563.


Thomas Williams followed in his father’s footsteps and became a lawyer whose council was retained by the principal towns in south Devon. His father, who obtained a grant of arms in 1538, had enjoyed the favour of the Edgecombe family and Williams, ‘a man of rare gifts and excellently learned in the laws’, was probably indebted for his return to the last two Parliaments of Mary’s reign to (Sir) Richard Edgecombe. Edgecombe owned property in the neighbourhood of Bodmin, Saltash lay between his two houses at Mount Edgcumbe and Cotehele, and in 1555 the sheriff Sir John Arundell was his brother-in-law. Unlike Edgecombe’s son Peter, a Member for Totnes, the Protestant Williams followed Sir Anthony Kingston in opposition to a government bill in the Parliament of 1555. Possibly he enjoyed the support of