AVERY, Thomas (d.1576), of Berden and Colne, Essex.

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



Family and Education

?s. of John Avery, steward of duchy of Lancaster lands, Carm. and officer of the King’s cellar. m. Mary, da. of Thomas Thacker, servant of Thomas Cromwell, d.s.p. legit.1

Offices Held

Servant of Thomas Cromwell by 1529; gent. pens. 1543-68; commr. to raise troops in Netherlands and Germany 1545; steward, surveyor and receiver, duchy of Lancaster lands in Kidwelly, Carm. Nov. 1546; j.p. Essex from 1558/9.2


The first known reference to Avery occurs in the early will made by Thomas Cromwell in July 1529, which bequeathed £6 13s.4d. to ‘Thomas Avery my servant’. He was probably only a boy at the time, as Cromwell’s friend and commercial agent Stephen Vaughan, an educated man and successful merchant, was asked to undertake his upbringing. Writing from the Continent in February 1532 Vaughan referred to Avery as in Zeeland on his way back to England.

As you were pleased to put him to me to be taught and brought up in the knowledge of things meet for his age, receive him again as the first-fruit of my rude education. If he were neglected, the sap would be spilt, and the flowers lost that might spring hereafter.

After his return to England Avery possibly spent some time in the service of Gertrude, Marchioness of Exeter, who told Cromwell in November 1533 that she had received a letter from the King ‘by my fellow Avery’. By September 1535, however, he was working regularly for Cromwell, perhaps as his private purse-keeper. Very large sums passed regularly through his hands during the next few years, and in August 1538 he was associated with Walter Williams, Cromwell’s nephew, in a large land grant at Wimbledon, Putney and Roehampton. In the same year he was made master of the hunt in Bushley Park, Worcestershire, an office which carried with it a cottage and some land.3

It was probably after Cromwell’s fall in 1540 that Avery entered the King’s service, becoming a