JOHNSON, Thomas (d.1592), of Heather, Leics.
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Family and Education
?2nd s. of Thomas Johnson of Barkby-Thorpe by his w. Elizabeth. m. Anne, wid. of Richard Everard, 1s. 3da.
Serjeant at arms by 1578.
In 1559 one Thomas Johnson, a yeoman of the Queen’s chamber, brought a suit for the recovery of a house in St. Albans, which he had conveyed to John Kilbie in Mary’s reign ‘when he was in danger of being compelled for his religion to leave the country’. If this is, as seems probable, the same Johnson who was later serjeant at arms, it would account for the patronage afforded him by the Hastings family. The name is too common for certain identification, but it is possible that the same man was the surveyor of the melting house at the mint, and also the Thomas Johnson or Johnes who had long dealt in landed property and in 1585 or the following year obtained, at the suit of (Sir) James Croft, a considerable grant of scattered crown property. In 1581 Johnson had a commission to suppress unlawful games, and the corporation of Leicester paid him 20s. to refrain from pursuing his commission within the town. He held the manor of Heather in his wife’s right and had also bought an estate in Heather some time earlier, so he was well known to the townsmen by 1584 when he wrote to the mayor asking for nomination as burgess. The mayor refused on the grounds that the seats were already promised to the recorder and a townsman, but after pressure from Sir George Hastings he was eventually returned, agreeing to pay his own expenses. Returned again in 1586, he received payment from the town.
His will, made on 4 Feb. 1592, shows a man of modest means. His son George was to have the land in Heather purchased from Richard Smith, paying his sister Mary £40; if he refused, Mary was to have the land and George the money.
Leicester Mus., Rothley mss; APC, x. 350; cal. and index pat. rolls 1-16 Eliz. 14(2), p. 289; 17-30 Eliz. 22(3), p. 5, 27(1), p. 1, 28(14), p. 25; Req. 2/226/58; Lansd. 4, f. 218; 47, f. 176; CPR, 1563-6, p. 471; Leicester Recs. iii. 209, 210, 241; PCC 13 Nevell.