HOYLE, Thomas (1587-1650), of St. Martin-cum-Gregory, Micklegate, York; later of Broad Sanctuary, Westminster
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Family and Education
bap. 29 Jan. 1587, 1st s. of Thomas Hoyle, clothier, of Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, Yorks.1 educ. appr. York c.1603. m. (1) 1611, Elizabeth (d. 9 Dec. 1639), da. of William Maskew, innholder, of York, 7s. d.v.p. 6da. d.v.p.;2 (2) by 1643, Susanna (bur. 24 July 1668), 2s. (1 d.v.p.).3 suc. fa. 1607.4 d. 30 Jan. 1650.5 sig. Tho[mas] Hoile.
Freeman, York 1612;8 churchwarden, St. Martin-cum-Gregory, Micklegate 1613-15;9 chamberlain, York 1614-15, sheriff 1621-2;10 commr. Palatine Benevolence 1622;11 member of the Twenty-Four, 1622-6, alderman 1626-d.;12 capt., militia ft. 1626-42;13 ld. mayor 1632-3, 1644-5;14 commr. recusants, Northern counties 1635, 1638, subsidy, York 1641-2, Poll Tax 1641, assessment, York 1642-d., N. Riding 1647-d., Irish Aid, York 1642, levying money, York 1643, sequestration, York 1643, Northern Assoc. 1645, revenues, Westminster Abbey 1645, militia, Yorks. 1648.15
The son of a West Riding clothier, Hoyle was apprenticed to the York cloth merchant Matthew Topham, and like his master played a prominent part in the commercial and municipal life of the city. Regarded as the power behind the pulpit in his parish, Hoyle’s sister married the godly rector, Philip Nesbitt, in 1616, while Hoyle later acquired the advowson and augmented the value of the living.19 ‘A stiff fanatic’, he refused to kneel for prayers, stand for the creed, or bow at the name of Jesus, and opened his shop ‘on holy days, being fair days and market days’. During the 1630s Hoyle’s chaplain, John Birchall, held unlicensed prayer meetings at his house, which were investigated by the ecclesiastical authorities.20
Hoyle was not a particularly prominent member of the York corporation during the 1620s, although he was involved in the settlement of a trading dispute with Hull in 1623, and was sent to petition the Privy Council about demands for a ship for naval service in 1626-7, during which time he was elected alderman.21 Prior to the 1628 parliamentary election, alderman Robert Hemsworth canvassed for Sir Thomas Savile*, but at the hustings the freemen put forward Hoyle and William Robinson instead. This challenge may have been mounted on the spur of the moment, as support for Hoyle was initially thin. However, his following grew rapidly, alarming sheriff Henry Thompson, who pre-empted calls for a poll by declaring Savile elected and closing the proceedings. Following an appeal to the Commons, 150 of Savile’s supporters, including lord mayor Robert Belt and alderman Topham, signed a petition defending this outcome, but after a six-hour hearing before the privileges committee on 22 Apr. Savile was unseated in favour of Hoyle, while the city’s sheriffs were required to make submission to the Commons and pay £20 in costs.22
Once seated, Hoyle left little trace on the parliamentary records. On 7 May 1628 he reported the capture of ten northern ships by Dunkirk privateers, and moved for a speedy order to guard the coasts. Five weeks later, on 13 June, he was named to a committee to examine complaints against the patent for the exchange of foreign coin. He was subsequently appointed to help draft a petition against the interference of London interests in the Hull whaling trade (25 June), and to consider a complaint against the duchy of Lancaster (added 18 June). This last grievance resurfaced during the 1629 session, when Hoyle was again added to the investigating committee (20 February). He was also added to the committee hearing complaints against Tunnage and Poundage from John Rolle* and other merchants (3 Feb.); and included on another committee for the bill ‘for increase of trade’ (11 February). He experienced considerable difficulty in securing any parliamentary wages, which in the end had to be raised by a special rate.23
Hoyle played a prominent role during the plague outbreak which struck York in the summer of 1631. In the following year he was elected lord mayor: during his tenure the city secured a new charter; while the corporation ordered that in future, only citizens should stand at parliamentary elections. Hoyle was returned to the Long Parliament following a contest at York with Wentworth’s nominees.24 A parliamentarian in the Civil War, he was appointed lord mayor of York by Parliament following the city’s capture in July 1644. He joined the regicides in the Rump only after some hesitation, but, haunted by headless phantoms (according to royalist propaganda), he hanged himself on the first anniversary of the king’s execution. The coroner ruled him to have been unbalanced at the time of his suicide, which permitted him to be buried in consecrated ground at St. Margaret’s, Westminster, and allowed his widow to administer his estate. His only surviving son, a lawyer who combined republican politics and Epicurian philosophy, also met a violent end. No other member of the family sat in Parliament.25
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Lynn Hulse / John. P. Ferris / Simon Healy
- 1. Soc. Gen. Huddersfield par. reg.
- 2. Yorks. Arch. Jnl. v. 61; xii. 158; St. Martin, York par. reg. ed. E. Bulmer, 41-49, 53-61, 65-66.
- 3. St. Martin, York par. reg. 70-71; Memorials of St. Margaret’s, Westminster ed. A.M. Burke, 188; J. Hunter, S. Yorks. i. 204.
- 4. Borthwick, Pontefract Deanery Act Bk. 5, f. 555.
- 5. The Rebells warning-piece ... by Alderman Hoyle (1650); Memorials of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, 624.
- 6. York Merchant Adventurers ed. M. Sellers (Surtees Soc. ccxxix), 324.
- 7. Acts and Ordinances of Eastland Co. ed. M. Sellers (Cam. Soc. ser. 3. xi), 67.
- 8. Freemen of York ed. F. Collins (Surtees Soc. cii), 60, 62, 82.
- 9. St. Martin, Micklegate par. reg. ed. E. Bulmer, 41.
- 10. York City Archives, House Bk. 34, ff. 25v, 229v.