SANDS, Thomas, of Askham, Cumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1390

Family and Education

m. by c.1395, Margaret.1

Offices Held

J.p. Cumb. 1 Dec. 1385-Nov. 1399.

Commr. to survey the King’s estates, Cumb., Lancs., Westmld. Mar. 1387; of inquiry, Westmld. June 1388 (raid on Sir John Derwentwater’s* manor of Bolton) Cumb., Westmld. May 1398 (extortions); gaol delivery, Carlisle castle Mar. 1390;2 array, Cumb. Dec. 1399.


Not much is known about Sands’s early life, although by November 1377 he was in a position to offer £10 a year in rent for the lease of a royal fishery on the river Eden near Carlisle. He took on the farm of a second fishery (at 26s.8d. p.a.) in the following year, only to be informed soon afterwards that the original lease was defective. Further problems occurred in June 1385, when Richard II inadvertently granted the first tenancy to two other local men, so Thomas was left without either of the properties. He had by then gone surety at the Exchequer for (Sir) Peter Tilliol* as farmer of holdings in the same area, but after this date he understandably tended to avoid such commitments.3 In December 1385 Sands was appointed to the Cumberland bench; and he served on his first royal commission two years later. Although not a landowner of particular note, his experience was such as to ensure his return to the Parliaments of 1390 (Nov.) and 1395, his colleague on both occasions being William Stapleton. His other friends and associates included Sir Clement Skelton* and William Osmundlaw*, with whom he acted in about 1392 as a trustee of land for the impecunious Sir Robert Muncaster*. According to a petition heard in the court of Chancery at some point during the 1390s, Thomas’s wife was the cousin of an unnamed sheriff of Cumberland and sister of his deputy. Her impressive connexions, reinforced by his own position as a j.p., gave him great influence in the county, where he could rely upon a sizeable body of supporters. These he led on an armed raid against the prior of Gisburn’s tenants at Bridekirk, killing one man and wounding several others. Such a flagrant breach of the peace may well have led to the issue of orders in September 1399 for his appearance, along with Sir William Curwen*, John Monceaux* and six other northerners, before the royal council, although nothing seems to have been done to enforce these instructions, which were repeated exactly one year later. Sands was removed from the county bench in November 1399, but his crimes cannot have been viewed too seriously as he was included on a commission of array a few weeks later. He and Curwen remained close, and in 1401 he witnessed a release made to the knight by Henry, earl of Northumberland.4

In 1406 Thomas and his wife were granted a rent of ten marks a year from the manor of Redmain by one William Sands, who was almost certainly a kinsman. Two years later they were arraigned on one assize of novel disseisin at Carlisle and another at Penrith, but the actions were evidently collusive as they soon disappear from record. Sands is last heard of in November 1414, when he witnessed the parliamentary elections for Cumberland at Carlisle.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


  • 1. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. vii. 245; C1/7/313.
  • 2. C66/330 m. 30v.
  • 3. CFR, ix. 35, 92-93, 196-7; CCR, 1377-81, p. 263; 1389-92, p. 154.
  • 4. C1/7/313; Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. vii. 243; xiv. 406; CCR, 1396-9, p. 520; 1399-1402, p. 105.
  • 5. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. vii. 245; C219/11/4; JUST 1/1517 rot. 63, 63v.