TASBURGH, Thomas (c.1554-1602), of Hawridge; later of Beaconsfield, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1554, 4th s. (?posth.)1 of John Tasburgh of Flixton, Suff. by his 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of John Davy of Norwich, Norf., wid. of John Tracy of Norwich. educ. G. Inn 1573. m. (1) aft. 1571, Dorothy (d.1577), da. of Sir Thomas Kitson of Hengrave, Suff., wid. of Sir Thomas Pakington of Hampton, Worcs., s.p.; (2) Jane, da. of William West, 1st Baron Delaware, wid. of Thomas Wenman and James Cressy, s.p. Kntd. 9 May 1599.
J.p. Bucks. from 1579, q. by 1590; sheriff, Bucks. 1581-2, commr. musters 1595, collector of the loan 1598; teller of the Exchequer 1598-1602.2
Tasburgh belonged to an old established Suffolk family, but as a younger son he was left to his own resources. He entered Gray’s Inn, and although there is no evidence that he was called to the bar, his name appears on a list of Gray’s Inn lawyers dated January 1600 who were required to help towards the payment of levies for Ireland. He purchased Hawridge in 1572, and consolidated his position in the county by his marriage into the family which owned Aylesbury itself and other estates in Buckinghamshire. Though there is no evidence that Tasburgh and his wife were on bad terms—in her will she left him all that the law allowed her to bequeath—he was not in fact returned for the borough until after her death. He remained friendly with Sir John Pakington, Dorothy Pakington’s son by her first husband, and joined with him in a number of land transactions.3
After twice being returned for Aylesbury, Tasburgh achieved a county seat for the Parliament of 1589. Next time he was returned for Chipping Wycombe, presumably through the patronage of Henry, 5th Lord Windsor, steward of the town, before returning to Aylesbury for his last appearance in Parliament in 1597. He served on committees concerned with highways and bridges (6 Mar. 1585), the poor (12 Mar.), returns (11 Nov. 1586), and a learned ministry (8 Mar. 1587). On 18 Mar. that year he was one of those who attended the Queen on the matter of the subsidy. He was a member of the subsidy committee of 11 Feb. 1589, and on the 15th of that month spoke on purveyors. On 24 Mar. he reported the bill concerning jurors and freeholders. Among his committees in 1593 were those on privileges and returns (26 Feb.), recusancy (28 Feb., 4 Apr.), the subsidy (1 Mar.) and jurors (10, 23 Mar.). He spoke on a privilege matter (2 Mar.) and moved the amendments of the jurors bill (7 Apr.). He did not speak in his last Parliament, when his committees included privileges and returns (5 Nov. 1597), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), monopolies and poor relief (10 Nov.), workhouses (18 Nov.), rogues and sturdy beggars (22 Nov.), husbandry and tillage (26 Nov.), tellers and receivers (5 Dec.), and alehouses and wine casks (3 Feb. 1598). As one of the Aylesbury burgesses he could have served on the committee discussing the roads of the district (11 Jan.).4
According to a seventeenth-century account, Tasburgh’s fortunate second marriage was contrived in the following fashion:
This person of the Exchequer knowing a lady that became Catholic in Queen Bess time ... found ways to trouble her in the Exchequer about her religion and took her off and troubled her again and took her off, at last she could find no rest and would be advised by him what to do, he advised her there was no way but to marry a protestant and he got her; she had a daughter [Lettice] by Cressy ... worth £10,000 and he married her to his nephew [and heir John].
Tasburgh’s crony Sir John Pakington was one of the few people of quality to attend the marriage, which brought Tasburgh, through her first marriage, the manor of Twyford and part of the manor of Eton Hastings, Berkshire, and, by her second, Wilton manor in Beaconsfield, where she and Tasburgh now resided. But another ambition of Tasburgh’s almost ruined him. In June 1595 Penelope Lady Rich wrote on his behalf to Cecil, pleading that Tasburgh had ‘long had cause to expect that the Queen would lay the grace of knighthood on him’. Eventually realising that she had no such intention, Tasburgh went without leave to attach himself to Essex in Ireland, where he persuaded that nobleman, always a generous distributor of the honour, to knight him at Dublin. Returning to England he was imprisoned at the end of May 1599, addressing appeal after appeal to Cecil:
The degree my lord gave me ... I sought not for it, and when I told him I thought her Majesty would be offended, he said he hoped not ...
Five weeks later:
It is no small heart’s grief here thus to dwell in her Majesty’s displeasure, therefore give me leave once again to importune you to be a happy suitor to her Majesty for my liberty.
He was lucky not to lose his tellership of the Exchequer.5