CROMPTON, Sir Thomas (c.1558-1609), of London and Cresswell, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1558, 1st s. of William Crompton, mercer, of Stafford, Staffs. and London, and Elizabeth, da. and h. of Thomas Boughton of Mardyke, Hornchurch, Essex.1 educ. Shrewsbury 1567; St. Alban Hall, Oxf. 1577, aged 19, BA (Merton) 1579, MA 1581, DCL 1589; adv. 1590; L. Inn 1606.2 m. Barbara (d. 4 Mar. 1642),3 da. and h. of Richard Hudson, LLD, of London, 3s. 3da.4 suc. fa. 1582;5 kntd. 23 July 1603.6 bur. 5 Feb. 1609.7
Commr. piracy, Dorset 1601-5, London and home counties 1603-6, Devon 1606, Exeter 1607, Cornw. 1607;13 member, Doctors’ Commons 1605;14 chan. London dioc. 1605-d.;15 vic.-gen. Canterbury prov. 1605-d.;16 commr. sewers, London and Mdx. 1606,17 oyer and terminer, the Verge 1606-7, London and Mdx. 1608,18 policies and assurances, London 1607-8;19 j.p. Mdx. by 1608-d.;20 commr. gaol delivery, Newgate 1608.21
Crompton inherited a leasehold at Cresswell, near Stafford, but does not appear to have been closely related to the Staffordshire gentry family seated at Stone.22 His advancement as a civil lawyer was delayed by suspicion over his religion, although he later conformed. In 1598 he went, as an expert on maritime law, with Sir Robert Cecil† on a diplomatic voyage to France, together with Sir Robert Wroth I*.23 In 1602 Crompton was recommended by lord treasurer Buckhurst (Sir Thomas Sackville†) for Crown employment in an Admiralty case, prior to his appointment four years later as judge of the Admiralty.24
At James I’s accession Crompton was appointed advocate-general, and knighted a month later. He was present at the Hampton Court Conference in January 1604, and in the same year edited Ecclesiae Anglicanae by Richard Cosin†, which he dedicated to the new king.25 To Cecil he expressed his eagerness to participate in the peace negotiations with Spain, ‘rather to grind colours to so great a work and serve as a second to some purpose than wholly to be neglected’.26 Crompton’s links with Buckhurst, the chancellor of Oxford University, may account for his return at the general election to the first Stuart Parliament. On the opening day of business, 23 Mar. 1604, Crompton seconded ‘with some length of speech’ Wroth’s officially inspired motion concerning grievances, and was appointed to the resulting committees for these and further grievances raised by Sir Edward Montagu*.27 He ignored the challenge thrown out by Thomas Wentworth I* over the right of the University Members to sit.28 He was named to bill committees for the liberties of the subject (29 Mar.), infant marriage (7 June), and to attend conferences with the Lords on the Union with Scotland (14 Apr.) and wardship (22 May).29 On 16 Apr., offering to speak in justification of commissaries’ courts, he revealed that he had conferred with some of the bishops on the matter. This was at first ‘taken to be a disclosing of the secrets of the House’, but he explained that ‘he did it as a committee, in the general cause of the grievances of the House’, and was pardoned.30
In the second session Crompton’s eight committee appointments included those to consider bills against married dons and cathedral clergy (25 Jan. 1606), against pluralities and non-residence (5 Mar.), for the restoration of deprived ministers (7 Mar.), and for Oriel College, Oxford (18 March).31 He was added to the committee to consider a bill for trade with Russia (20 Mar.), and was among those appointed to manage the conference of 11 Apr. 1606 on ecclesiastical grievances.32 The main business of the third session was the Union with Scotland; Crompton was named on 29 Nov. 1606 to the committee for the articles of the Union, and he was one of five civilians ordered to manage a conference of 25 Feb. 1607 on the status of the post-nati.33 His other committees included those to consider a bill ‘for the better continuance of the fame and memory of noble and worthy persons deceased’ (25 Nov. 1606); the restraint of canons (11 Dec.); the petition of the London merchants ‘touching the cruelties and wrongs of the Spaniard’ (28 Feb. 1607); and bills against pluralism and non-residence (4 Mar.), maritime abuses (1 May), merchants’ debts (5 June), and for the reforming the High Commission (26 June).34 Both in and out of the House he seems to have been regarded as exclusively concerned with the Civil Law, for which he was satirized in the ‘Parliament Fart’ poem.35 In a paper on the fraught question of impositions, Crompton took the line that the king was ‘more absolute in his dominions than the emperor’, a viewpoint certain to antagonize common lawyers such as Sir Edward Coke*, who was rebuked by James in November 1608 for having ‘by way of exception, used some speech against Sir Thomas Crompton’.36
Crompton drew up his will on 27 Jan. 1609, acknowledging the blessings of God which had brought him ‘even from nothing almost to that which I now have’. He desired that his debts might be ‘truly and honestly paid that I be not scandalized when I am dead’.37 He was buried on 5 Feb. 1609 in St. Gregory by Paul’s.38 His widow, Dame Barbara, remained an influential figure in Stafford, although she fell into dispute with some of the townsmen in 1613 and tried unsuccessfully to thwart their bid for a new charter; at her death in 1642 she left substantial charitable endowments to be administered by the corporation, and was commemorated with an elaborate monument.39 Two of Crompton’s sons settled as country gentlemen in Staffordshire, but no later member of the family sat in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Alan Davidson / Rosemary Sgroi
- 1. Grantees of Arms ed. W.H. Rylands (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 66; PROB 11/64, f. 234.
- 2. Reg. Shrewsbury Sch. ed. E. Calvert, i. 26; Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.
- 3. Le Neve, Mon. Angl. i. 198.
- 4. Staffs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxiii), 66.
- 5. PROB 11/64, f. 234.
- 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 114.
- 7. Boyd’s London Burials, Soc. Gen. transcript, MX/R235, p. 227.
- 8. APC, 1590-1, p. 49; 1596-7, p. 13; 1599-1600, p. 644.
- 9. CSP Dom. 1603-10, pp. 11, 14; C66/1609.
- 10. HCA 1/32/1, ff. 59, 61, 66, 90; HCA 30/1035, pt. 1, f. 3; HMC Hatfield, xviii. 167, 224; Lincs. AO, Worsley MS 1/30; B.P. Levack, Civil Lawyers, 222-3.
- 11. T.D. Hardy, Principal Officers of Chancery, 89.
- 12. C66/1787.
- 13. C181/1, ff. 12v, 62v, 67, 114; 181/2, ff. 12, 25v, 52, 56.
- 14. G.D. Squibb, Doctors’ Commons, 168.
- 15. Levack, 222.
- 16. Ibid. 222.
- 17. C181/2, f. 20; Lansd. 168, f. 151v.
- 18. C181/2, ff. 13v, 57v, 71v, 72v.
- 19. C181/2, ff. 51v, 70.
- 20. SP14/33, f. 42v; J.H. Gleason, JPs in Eng. 254.
- 21. C181/2, f. 73.
- 22. PROB 11/64, f. 234.
- 23. N and Q, ccxiii. 256-8; Reg. Univ. Oxf. ed. Clark, ii. (1), p. 38, 157; N. Tyacke, ‘Wroth, Cecil and the Parl. Session of 1604’, BIHR, l, 124; APC, 1597-8, p. 235.
- 24. HMC Hatfield, xii. 492.
- 25. J. Strype, Whitgift, ii. 496; R. Cosin, Ecclesiae Anglicanae (1604), STC 5824.
- 26. HMC Hatfield, xvi. 244.
- 27. CJ, i. 151a, b.
- 28. HMC Buccleuch, iii. 81.
- 29. CJ, i. 157a, 172a, 222b, 234a.
- 30. Ibid. 173a; Stowe, 354, f. 41.
- 31. CJ, i. 260a, 277b, 279a, 286a.
- 32. Ibid. 287b, 296b.
- 33. Ibid. 326b, 340a.
- 34. Ibid. 325b, 329b, 344b, 347b, 366a, 379b, 1054b.
- 35. Add. 34218, f. 20v.
- 36. Cott. Titus F.IV, f. 242v; Levack, 97; Illustrations of Brit. Hist. ed. E. Lodge, iii. 248.
- 37. PROB 11/113, f. 225.
- 38. Boyd’s London Burials, Soc. Gen. transcript, MX/R235, p. 227.
- 39. Staffs. RO, D(W)1721/1/4, ff. 16, 18-19; VCH Staffs. vi. 267.