LICHFIELD, Thomas (d.1586).
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Family and Education
m. 1573, Margaret, da. of Sir Thomas Pakington by his w. Dorothy, ?s.p.
Gent. of privy chamber by 1579, ?by 1562.1
Nothing has been ascertained about this Member’s parentage. He may have been one of the Lichfields of Suffolk or, more probably, descended from the Bedfordshire family of that name. He owed his return at Aylesbury to his future mother-in-law, Dame Dorothy Pakington, owner of the borough, who in 1572 stated that she had chosen, named and appointed her ‘trusty and well-beloved Thomas Lichfield’ and his colleague George Burden as ‘my burgesses of my ... town of Aylesbury’.2
Most of the surviving information about him is concerned with a lucrative grant he received from Elizabeth in June 1568 (confirmed in December 1570), by which he was to have a substantial proportion of any sums of money he could recover in the Exchequer for the Queen’s use. He was probably already a gentleman of the privy chamber, able to forward his suits in person, but no doubt the grant was made with the approval of Sir William Cecil, if not at his suggestion. There was originally a time limit of five years for Lichfield’s exercise of his powers. This was officially extended to last until 1578, but in 1584 he was still carrying on disputes with Exchequer officials over his activities, and he was paid sums owing under the grant at least up to August 1585. Exchequer procedure over finance had been nominally reformed in 1554, but there was still confusion over the duties and privileges of different officials, such as led to the chronic feud between Vincent Skinner and Chidiock Wardour. Lichfield became unpopular over the manner in which he exercised his powers. At one time he accused the auditors of the Exchequer of taking £20 a year more in fees than they ‘gave warrant for’. Richard Stoneley who converted public funds on a large scale was one of the officials who fell foul of him. Towards the end of his life Lichfield was in financial difficulties and trying to get new grants