Thirsk

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Elections

DateCandidate
1558/9THOMAS EYNNS 1
 FRANCIS WILSTROP 2
1562/3THOMAS EYNNS
 CHRISTOPHER LASCELLES
1571JOHN DAWNEY
 THOMAS LAYTON II
18 Apr. 1572JOHN DAWNEY
 EDWARD GATES
1584(SIR) JOHN DAWNEY 3
 ROBERT BOWES II 4
2 Oct. 1586(SIR) JOHN DAWNEY
 HENRY BELLASIS
1588/9(SIR) JOHN DAWNEY
 HENRY BELLASlS
1593(SIR) JOHN DAWNEY
 HENRY BELLASIS
19 Sept. 1597GEORGE LEYCESTER
 THOMAS BELLASIS
8 Oct. 1601HENRY BELLASIS
 JOHN MALLORY

Main Article

A borough by prescription, Thirsk’s government comprised a bailiff, elected annually, and, at the beginning of the sixteenth century and probably later, two constables. Returns were made by the burgesses and ‘boroughmen’.

The manor of Thirsk was held throughout the century by the Stanley family, earls of Derby, but it was not until the 6th Earl succeeded that attempts to influence elections became evident with the return of George Leycester (1597) and, in all probability, John Mallory (1601). Otherwise the local families were prominent: a Bellasis or Dawney had at least one Think seat in most Elizabethan Parliaments, and Lascelles and Wilstrop owed their return to local standing. Thomas Eynns certainly, Edward Gates probably, and perhaps Thomas Layton II were brought in by the council in the north. Possibly Robert Bowes II also comes into this group—his election is unexplained except by reference to his late father’s position as a member of the council in the north and generally in Yorkshire.5

Author: P. W. Hasler

Notes

  • 1. E371/402(1).
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Browne Willis; Add. 38823, ff. 17-21.