PERROT, Sir Thomas (1553-94), of Haroldston and Narberth, Pemb.
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Family and Education
b. Aug./Sept. 1553, 1st s. of Sir John Perrot by his 1st w. Anne, da. of Sir Thomas Cheyne(y)† of Shurland, Kent. m. 3583, Dorothy, da. of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, 1s. 1da. Kntd. 1579; suc. fa. 1593.
J.p. Pemb. from c.1575, dep. lt. 1586-90; commr. musters, Haverfordwest 1581, mayor 1586.3
Capt. under Leicester in the Netherlands 1586.
Perrot was a soldier, first employed on his father’s voyage of 1579, for which he was knighted on landing at Waterford. Back from Ireland, he was put in the Fleet for a week to restrain him from fighting a duel with Walter Ralegh. In 1581 Perrot was one of 20 ‘defendants’ of the Castle of Beauty at a pageant staged in the Tilt Yard before the Queen and the French ambassadors. Before long he was back in the Fleet for secretly marrying one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting.4
Next Perrot campaigned in the Netherlands, taking part in the battle of Zutphen. In the following year his father, now lord deputy of Ireland, tried to have him appointed master of the ordnance, in competition with Sir George Carew, who, with the support of Burghley and Leicester, gained his point, and Perrot was left to his local duties in Pembrokeshire.5
These, at the time of the Armada, soon acquired a more than local importance. Already in April 1588 he had joined with his fellow deputy lieutenant George Owen of Henllys, and other local gentry, in reporting on measures to be taken to defend Milford Haven against a Spanish landing, and in October he was detailed to review there 1,500 to 2,000 levies from all Wales, and to supervise their equipment as musketeers instead of bowmen to meet a Spanish landing in Ireland. The original intention that he should command them in person with the rank of colonel was abandoned as the crisis abated, and the suggestion that he should instead lead a company of 200 was apparently declined. Letters from Perrot in 1587-9 to the Privy Council and to Julius Caesar, the Admiralty judge, show a concern with piracy which suggests that he may have combined with his deputy lieutenancy the duties of deputy vice-admiral. Another preoccupation of the same period was an attempt to upset in Chancery the will of his maternal grandfather, Sir Thomas Cheyne(y), whose heir died without male heirs in 1587. The case dragged on until Perrot became involved in his father’s disgrace, but it was renewed by his daughter in 1619.6
In 1590 Sir Christopher Hatton, Perrot’s unremitting foe, had him removed from the commission of lieutenancy, and he was in prison (without charges being preferred against him) before the end of 1591. Within a few months of his father’s attainder and death in 1592, Egerton, the attorney-general, was reporting on Perrot’s claims to the estate. The matter was settled by an Act of March 1593 (rushed through both Houses in four days) restoring him in blood, though not in name. He owed his restoration to the efforts of his brother-in-law the 2nd Earl of Essex. He thus inherited Haroldston and much of the rest of the paternal estate, but not Carew castle, which reverted to the Crown. His right as steward of Cilgerran to appoint town officials was disputed in the Exchequer by his father’s old ally John Garnons, who claimed that the town was incorporate and could appoint its own officials.7
In the 1581 session of the 1572 Parliament, the journals record Perrot as sitting on two committees, for supply (as Jan.) and for the preservation of game (18 Feb.). His constituency remains uncertain; but, John Wogan having died 4 May 1580, Pembrokeshire suggests itself as offering a suitable vacancy at a by-election for that session. He entered the 1586 Parliament as knight for Cardiganshire at a by-election on the death of Griffith Lloyd and so would have been entitled to attend the subsidy committee to which all the knights of shires were appointed on 22 Feb. 1587. His election for Pembrokeshire in February 1593 while still under the cloud of his father’s attainder no doubt reflects the strength of the Earl of Essex at that time. Perrot is not mentioned by name in the journals but he could have attended the subsidy committee 26 Feb. and a legal committee 9 Mar. 1593. By this time, however, Perrot was ill. His will, dated 12 Feb. 1594, dividing his estates (in default of male heirs) between his wife and daughter, was proved three days later.8
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
- 2. Ibid. Hatfield CP 244/4.
- 3. C142/119/114, 121/102; Arch. Camb. (ser. 3), xi. 129-32; (ser. 5), xiii. 195; LJ, ii. 182-3; Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 140, 213; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 251; G. Owen, Taylors Cussion, f. 36; APC, xii. 364.
- 4. Arch. Camb. (ser. 3), xi. 112; APC, xi. 384, 388-9; Wallace, Raleigh, 14; Nichols, Progresses Eliz., ii. 132-5; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 114; Lansd. 72, f. 4; Strype, Aylmer (1821), 130, 217-19.
- 5. CSP For. 1585-6, p. 333; 1586-7, p. 165, 244; Cal. Carew Pprs. ii. 456-7; iii. 21, 42, 44-5, 52-3.
- 6. Arch. Camb. (ser. 3), viii. 18; Cal. Wynn Pprs. 37; CSP Dom. 1581-90, pp. 554-5, 558, 648; APC, xv. 166; xvi. 319-20; HMC Ancaster, 199-200; Add. 12507, ff. 124, 188, 221; Lansd. 55, f. 31; 62, f. 5; CP, iii. 192-3; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, ii. 272.
- 7. Lansd. 72, ff. 6, 15; 73, f. 21; D’Ewes, 510-11; Spurrell, Carew, 40; Exchequer, ed. E. G. Jones (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. iv), 124, 304.
- 8. Hatfield ms 244/4; Lansd. 76, f. 9; D’Ewes 288, 409, 474, 496; CJ, i. 119, 128; PCC 14 Dixy.