THOMSON, John (1521-97), of Husborne Crawley, Beds. and Aldersgate, London.

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. 1521, s. of William Thomson, ?of Wellingore, Lincs. by Catherine, da. and coh. of Robert Smyth. m. by 1567, Dorothy, da. of Richard Gilbert of Suff., at least 1s. 2da.2

Offices Held

Auditor of the Exchequer by 1553; j.p. Beds. and Bucks. from c.1563; freeman, New Windsor Nov. 1568; sheriff; Beds. and Bucks. 1581-2; collector of loan, Beds. 1590.3


Of a Lincolnshire family—it was the bishop of Lincoln who classified him as earnest in religion in 1564—Thomson sought and found his fortune in London, obtaining by 1553 a lucrative post in the Exchequer, which he retained after the reforms of 1554. His area comprised Bedford, Berkshire, Buckingham, Kent, Oxford, Surrey and Sussex, and the honour and castle of Windsor. Well placed to acquire estates, Thomson joined with Roger Alford in January 1560 to purchase property in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire worth some £2,000. This brought him to the vicinity of Husborne Crawley, where in 1579 he obtained the manor once belonging to the priory of Dunstable, and in 1591 he purchased the rectory for £492. His return for New Windsor was no doubt connected with his job: in 1572 he audited the accounts of Humphrey Michell, clerk of the works in the castle. That year Thomson was returned as knight for Bedfordshire, when the original choice, Sir Henry Cheyney, was summoned to the Lords on the first day of the first session. ‘Auditor Thomson’ as such is recorded only in the committee of 14 Mar. 1581 on the bill against secret conveyances but it is possible that some of the committees attributed to Laurence Tomson might belong to him.4

Thomson died 3 Apr. 1597, leaving to his wife the contents of his house by Charterhouse churchyard. His son and heir, Robert, aged 30, received a gold chain of 1,164 links and all his ‘armour, artillery and munition of war’. He ‘steadfastly and faithfully’ trusted to be saved ‘by the merits of the passion and precious death of Jesus Christ’, and asked to be ‘buried in decent and godly order’. His sumptuous tomb survives in the church at Husborne Crawley.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Alan Harding


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Beds. N. and Q. ii. 50; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 959-60; Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 146, 170; C142/248/34; PCC 24 Cobham.
  • 3. SP10/18/69; Bodl. Ashmole 1126, f. 36; APC, xx. 187.
  • 4. Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 28; CPR, 1553-4, p. 6; 1558-60, pp. 311-12; VCH Berks. iii. 488; VCH Beds. iii. 286, 307, 395-8; Hope, Windsor Castle, 269; Cath. Rec. Soc. xxii. 164; Neale, Commons, 198; APC, x. 245; CJ, i. 133.
  • 5. C142/248/34; PCC 24 Cobham; Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 230; VCH Beds. iii. opp. p. 398.