MONSON, Sir Thomas (1564-1641), of South Carlton, Lincs.

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. 1564, 1st s. of Sir John Monson of South Carlton by Jane, da. of Robert Dighton of Little Sturton; bro. of Sir William. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1579. m. July 1590, Margaret (d.1630), da. of Sir Edmund Anderson, l.c.j. common pleas, 4s. 5da. suc. fa. 1593. Kntd. c.1597; cr. Bt. 1611.1

Offices Held

J.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) from c.1592, (Kesteven, Holland) from c.1601, sheriff 1597-8, col. of horse 1599; surveyor of royal lands, Lincs. and Lincoln Feb. 1599; master falconer to James I; chancellor to Queen Anne of Denmark 1603; keeper of the armoury at Greenwich; master of the armoury at the Tower June 1611; rem. from all offices 1615; jt. gent. usher of privy chamber; steward of duchy of Lancaster 1618; clerk of the King’s letters bef. the council in the north 1625.2


The Monson family, resident in Lincolnshire since the fourteenth century, became established at South Carlton during the lifetime of John Monson, who died in 1542. Three succeeding generations increased the family property and in 1593 Monson himself succeeded. A justice for the Lindsey division of the shire within a year of his father’s death, he was ‘sufficient’ and impartial, and in October 1596 was recommended to Robert Cecil for the office of sheriff of Lincolnshire by Lord Sheffield, who had some lawsuits awaiting trial in the county. Though neither his father nor his grandfather had sat in Parliament, Monson was of sufficient standing to take a turn as knight of the shire. He was named to a committee concerning corn on 3 Feb. 1598, and as knight for Lincolnshire he was entitled to attend the following committees: on enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5, 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), the penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), the subsidy (15 Nov.) and land reclamation (3 Dec.). His later career he owed to the patronage of Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, whose cousin was Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham, the lord admiral, under whom Monson’s brother had served at sea. With Northampton’s spectacular rise to favour at the court of James I, Monson obtained a number of court offices. His close attachment to the Howards implicated him in 1615 in the murder of Thomas Overbury, and he was imprisoned in the Tower for nearly a year. He died in May 1641 and was buried at South Carlton 29 June.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: R.C.G.


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 682; Collins, Peerage, vii. 228-32; DNB.
  • 2. PRO Index 4208; APC, xxx. 74; E315/309/122; Lodge, Illus. iii. 64-5.
  • 3. APC, xxv. 132; HMC Hatfield, vi. 458; D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 592; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 124; Naval Tracts of Sir William Monson, ed. Oppenheim (Navy Recs. Soc. xxii), pp. vii-xxxiii; DNB (Howard, Henry); HMC Hatfield, xvi. 449; xvii. 594; Letters of George Lord Carew (Cam. Soc. lxxvi), 17, 20, 37, 44; HMC 1st Rep. 47.