CROMPTON, Thomas II (d.1601), of Bennington, Herts., Hounslow, Mdx. and Farringdon, London.
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Family and Education
?Surveyor of crown lands, Cumb. 1575; chirographer of common pleas by 1580; steward, Beverley, Yorks. by 1592, of Little Munden, Herts. 1597.3
Crompton’s father came from Lancashire and married into one of its ancient landed families; Crompton himself worked as chirographer of the common pleas, in the fines office building, in the grounds of the Inner Temple. In November 1580 he began, ‘to his great charge’, the erection of a new office with ‘divers chambers, lodgings and rooms over it and to the same adjoining’ and was in consequence specially admitted to the Inn at the request of Thomas Rysden, Lent reader for 1578, being granted a right of veto on admission to these chambers.4
It was probably at the Inner Temple that he met Robert Devereux, and Earl of Essex, who was admitted in October 1588. In the following year Essex sent him to Burghley to explain his plans for parting with some lands to the Queen to satisfy his debts. From then onwards Crompton became one of the Earl’s agents and ‘faithful followers’, acting in numerous land transactions with his servants, Robert Wright, Gelly Meyrick and Henry Lindley. On some occasions Essex preferred that the land should pass in one of their names rather than his own: for example, when he bought the manor of Little Munden in Hertfordshire, he particularly asked that the names of either his ‘friend’ Crompton, or his ‘servant’ Lindley, should be used. Crompton was one of the trustees appointed by Essex’s will, made in 1591, to sell lands to pay outstanding debts.5
Crompton almost certainly owed his seats in Parliament for Steyning and Radnor to Essex: the former was controlled by (Sir) Thomas Shirley I of Wiston, who must have done Essex the favour of returning Crompton, and the latter was no doubt secured through the influence of Essex’s agent Gelly Meyrick. The procedure in 1597 (when Essex made a greater effort than usual to secure the return of his followers) is more puzzling because a Thomas Crompton was returned for both Leominster, of which Essex was high steward, and Beverley, where Crompton himself was steward. The most likely explanation is that Crompton was returned for both places. If so it is not known whether he chose between them.6 The possibility that another Thomas Crompton was involved cannot be ruled out.7
Although, unlike his son, Crompton played no part in the 1601 rebellion, he and the Earl’s other agents were left in serious financial difficulties. As the Countess of Essex explained to Sir Robert Cecil, her husband’s whole estate was made over to the agents for the payment of his debts, and there was a danger that they would have to sell all their interests were the Queen to insist on the forefeitures to which she was entitled by the attainder.8
When Crompton made his will, on 24 Oct. 1601, he gave as his residence Bennington in Hertfordshire, which had apparently been granted to him by Essex in 1590, but was, in 1603, in the hands of the 4th Earl of Claoricarde in the right of his wife, Essex’s widow. He had also bought property in Berkshire, Durham and Yorkshire, most of which he later sold, except lands at Bishop Burton, Walkington, Skerne and Killithorpe in Yorkshire, which he left in trust for eight years with remainder to his eldest son Thomas, who was to provide an annuity for his three younger brothers from the profits of the fines office. After bequests of personal effects, he left his Hounslow residence, which he had purchased in 1596, to his wife, £1,000 to his eldest daughter, and 1,000 marks to each of the other surviving six, ‘a bowl that was Sir Chirstopher Hatton’s’ to his son John, and small sums to servants and to the poor of Bennington, Hounslow and Christ’s Hospital. Crompton forgave his brother, John, debts totalling £500, and asked him to renew their joint patent for the stewardship of Beverley in the names of himself and Crompton’s eldest son. Finally, he appointed as executors his son Thomas and son-in-law William Gee and, as overseers, (Sir) Henry Lindley and Thomas Paget. He evidently died within a few days of making his will, John Chamberlain reporting his death 31 Oct. 1601.9
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: Patricia Hyde
- 1. Probably returned for Leominister and Beverley.
- 2. Mdx. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxv), 164; Genealogist, (n.s. xxxi), 254.
- 3. Lansd. 19, f. 208; E315/309, ff. 24, 79; Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 310.
- 4. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxi), 28; Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 312-14.
- 5. Lansd. 60, f. 198; 69, f. 177; HMC Hatfield, iv. 132, 340; v. 218; vii. 303; viii. 222; ix. 149; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 696; 1591-4, pp. 9, 180; 1595-7, pp. 61-2, 74; St. Ch. 5/C29/12; PRO Index 6800, ff. 264d, 522, 524, 550, 586; VCH Herts. iii. 131; PCC 70 Cope; Ancestor, vii. 100-7.
- 6. The Folger ms. V. b. 298 styles the Beverley MP ‘junr. arm. de Inner Temple’. This might suggest that Thomas Crompton III was meant. But he is unlikely to have been ‘armiger’ so early. In any case it is highly likely that Thomas III sat for Newtown, I.o.W. in 1597.
- 7. Staffs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 64-6; Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 159; APC, xv. 258-9; xxiv. 486.
- 8. HMC Hatfield, xi. 87, 157; xiii. 171; APC, xxxi. passim.
- 9. Clutterbuck Herts. ii. 282; PCC 18 Montague; PRO Index 6800, ff. 19d, 215, 368, 451d, 499d; VCH Yorks. N. Riding, ii. 304, 375-6; VCH Mdx. ii. 107; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 133.