CROMPTON, Thomas I (c.1558-1609), of London.

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

b. c.1558, 1st s. of William Crompton of Stafford and London by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Thomas Boughton of Mardyke in Hornchurch, Essex. educ. ?Shrewsbury 1567; St. Alban Hall, Oxf. 1577; Merton, BA 1579, MA 1581, BCL, DCL 1589. m. Barbara, da. and h. of one Hudson of Yorkshire, 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 1582. Kntd. 23 July 1603.2

Offices Held

Commr. for debts 1590; adv.-gen. for foreign causes 31 May 1603, for eccles. causes 8 July 1603; judge of Admiralty ct. c.1606; chancellor of diocese of London and vicar-gen. to abp. of Canterbury 1608; master in Chancery 1608.3

Biography

Crompton’s father was a Stafford mercer who moved to London, owning property in both places, of which Crompton’s eventual share was a leasehold estate at Cresswell near Stafford. The boy must have shown early signs of promise, for, though the eldest son, he was sent to Oxford instead of being apprenticed to his father’s trade. He obtained his doctorate only after a delay. Having performed the exercises ‘with good commendation’, he was ‘suspected for backwardness in religion’, and in a tumultuous meeting, congregation refused his application for leave to proceed to the degree. On 27 June 1589, convocation agreed to the chancellor’s suggestion that the matter should be referred to men ‘in religion known sound, to the present government loyally affected’. Three days later, Crompton admitted his views, but stated that he was now willing to take the oath of supremacy and to conform to the established church: he was granted the doctorate on 11 July.4

It is not certain that it was this Thomas Crompton who sat in the Parliament of 1589 for the and Earl of Pembroke’s borough of Shaftesbury, but as he was the brother-in-law and contemporary at Oxford of Arthur Massinger, one of the Earl’s servants, he is likely to have been the man. During the next decade, Crompton served as a commissioner in cases between prisoners and their creditors and became an authority on maritime affairs. This brought him to the notice of Sir Robert Cecil who, as chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, presumably nominated him to Parliament for a duchy borough in 1597. In the course of the session, Crompton served on a committee concerning monopolies on 10 Nov. and on four concerning legal reforms. The following year he accompanied Cecil on a mission to France.5

He also specialized in ecclesiastical law and came to know Richard Bancroft, bishop of London, and later archbishop of Canterbury, for whose help he always felt grateful, and to whom he left a small token in his will, acknowledging that ‘I would have accounted sufficient recompense to have engaged the best part of my estate in his service’. Bancroft, for his part, must have been glad to have the services of an able man at a time when the church was under attack. In 1601 Crompton sat in Parliament for Whitchurch, doubtless through the influence of the ecclesiastical authorities, and in the course of the session dutifully opposed a bill against pluralities in the church on 16 Nov. He seems to have regarded the bill as an exhibition of anti-clerical prejudice and retorted by a counter-attack on the laity, which incensed several Members. He also served on a legal committee on a Nov.6

Crompton was granted arms in 1596 and was knighted shortly before the coronation of James I. He died between making his will 27 Jan. 1609, and its proof, 1 Mar. His brother Anthony was imprisoned for recusancy, and his sister Anne Massinger is stated to have been a Catholic.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler

Notes

  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 66; Staffs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxiii), 66; PCC 28 Dorset, 31 Tirwhite.
  • 3. APC, xx. 49; CSP Dom. 1603-10, pp. 11, 14; HMC Hatfield, xviii. 167; Haydn’s Book of Dignities, 395, 421-2; PRO Index 16818.
  • 4. Reg. Univ. Oxf. (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), passim.
  • 5. PCC 31 Tirwhite; APC, xx. 49; xxvii. 143; xxviii