THYNNE, Charles (c.1568-1652), of Cheddar, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1568, 6th s. of Sir John Thynne† (d.1580) of Longleat, Wilts. being the 3rd s. with his 2nd w. Dorothy, da. of Sir William Wroughton† of Broad Hinton, Wilts.; half-bro. of Sir John*.1 educ. Blandford Forum sch. Dorset 1580; Broadgates Hall, Oxf. 1583, aged 15.2 unm. bur. 9 Oct. 1652.3

Offices Held

Freeman, Lymington, Hants 1612.4


The sixth son of the builder of Longleat, Thynne’s inheritance was limited to a small estate at Cheddar and an annuity of £20 p.a. during his minority.5 Obliged to make his own way in the world, he went to university but not to the inns of court. He seems not to have prospered, for as late as 1600, by which time he was in his early thirties, he was so hard up that he had to beg his elder half-brother Sir John to send him ‘some stuff to make Nan a gown for I have no money to buy her anything’.6

Shortly after his father’s death, Thynne’s widowed mother married Sir Carew Ralegh† of Downton. Thynne thereafter became a ‘fastest friend’ of Carew’s brother, Sir Walter†. He pleaded for Sir Walter’s release from the Tower in November 1605, and was to be at Sir Walter’s side on the evening of his execution.7 By 1611 Thynne, though he paid tax at his residence in Cheddar, was living at Lymington,8 where he evidently became involved in the production of sea salt, the town’s principal industry. Returned to Parliament for Lymington in March 1614, after having attended the election meeting in person,9 he played little part in the Commons. He made no recorded speeches, and his only committee appointment concerned the petition of Michael Sparkes, a printer charged by High Commission with publishing unlicensed tracts (3 June). In August 1614, two months after the dissolution, Thynne, John More II* and two other men were granted, for 21 years, the profits from the sale of salt produced by a new method of drying sea water by the sun, and became suppliers to the Navy and the royal Household.10 However, in May 1626 this grant was judged a grievance by the Commons, which ordered that it be suppressed.11

By September 1624 Thynne had entered the circle of the former royal favourite Robert Carr, earl of Somerset, at which time he was ‘troubled with an indisposition in his ears’. In April 1625 he sought re-election to Parliament, but Sir John Holles*, 1st earl of Clare, on whose patronage he now relied, proved unable to help, as several other notables ‘engross all’ in those boroughs ‘where my provision lay’.12 Thynne proved more successful in 1628, when he was returned to Parliament for Westbury, thanks, no doubt, to the influence of his relation (Sir) Thomas Thynne*, whose status in the county, and estate at nearby Longleat, gave him some influence over the borough’s patron James Ley*, 1st earl of Marlborough. In his only recorded contribution to the work of this Parliament, on 4 June, he was named to the committee to consider the bill for the restitution in blood of Sir Walter Ralegh’s son, Sir Carew, a measure in which he doubtless had an interest.13

Thynne was the subject of a complaint to the House of Lords in June 1641. An aggrieved clerk named William Hobson protested that he was unable to prosecute Thynne regarding possession of a house at Chelsea because Thynne had been granted parliamentary protection by the earl of Somerset. However, both Somerset and Thynne denied placing any such impediment in Hobson’s way.14 Thynne made his will on 18 Sept. 1652, at which time he described himself as ‘aged and sick and weak in body’. He died shortly thereafter, and, though he gave London as his address, was buried in St. Margaret’s, Westminster. In the absence of children, having never married, he bequeathed his entire estate to his kinsman Sir James Thynne† of Longleat and one Mistress Jane Dove, spinster, whose relationship with the testator has not been established.15

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Henry Lancaster / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. R.C. Hoare, Hist. Wilts. ‘Heytesbury’, 60. One contemporary visitation shows him to have been the 5th rather than the 6th son: Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv-cvi), 192.
  • 2. Longleat, Thynne Pprs. TH/BOOK/161, f. 13; Al. Ox.
  • 3. Memorials of St. Margaret’s, Westminster ed. A. Burke, 632.
  • 4. E. King, Lymington, 187.
  • 5. PROB 11/62, f. 349; J. Collinson, Hist. Som. iii. 575.
  • 6. Longleat, Thynne Pprs. v. f. 101.
  • 7. HMC Hatfield, v. 17; Mems. Holles Fam. ed. A.C. Wood (Cam. Soc. ser. 3. lv), 102; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 591.
  • 8. E115/371/7.
  • 9. Hants RO, 27M74A/Dbe1, p. 108.
  • 10. Procs. 1626, ii. 215n; C66/2018/3.
  • 11. JOHN MORE II.
  • 12. Holles Letters ed. P.R. Seddon (Thoroton Soc. rec. soc. xxxv), 294, 304.
  • 13. CJ, i. 908a, 909a; CD 1628, iv. 59, 83.
  • 14. HLRO, HL/PO/JO/10/1/59; HMC 4th Rep. 73.
  • 15. PROB 11/223, f. 223.