STRICKLAND, Thomas I, of Whinfell, Westmld.
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Family and Education
Steward of the estates of his mother, Westmld. c.1378.2
Shortly after the marriage of his eldest son, (Sir) Walter, in 1366, Sir Thomas Strickland decided to make provision for his three younger boys, John, Thomas and Peter. John was promised the reversion of land in Sedgwick, while Thomas and Peter were to share an estate in Grayrigg, Lambrigg and Whinfell for the rest of their lives. Sir Thomas may well have favoured his third son and namesake more than the others, since he made him the executor of his will. In June 1376 Thomas obtained a discharge from the abbot of St. Mary’s, York, for a debt of £4 owed by the deceased, whose affairs were soon put in order. Some two years later, his widowed mother, Cecily, entrusted him with the stewardship of her not inconsiderable dower lands in Westmorland, so he clearly inspired confidence in both his parents, perhaps because he had acquired some training in the law. It was also in 1378 that John Marche, the vicar of Dalston in Cumberland, appointed him as one of his executors, bequeathing a cow and a calf to his young daughter, Joan. Thomas had already joined with one of his kinsmen in acquiring land in Penrith, thus extending his sphere of influence across the county border, but he still continued to manage his mother’s affairs as well. In April 1381, for example, Roger, Lord Clifford, entered an agreement with him to write off an outstanding debt of £8 which she had originally owned Ralph, Lord Dacre, for Sir Walter Strickland’s marriage.3
Following the example of his eldest brother, who had already twice sat as a shire knight for Westmorland, Thomas was elected to the Merciless Parliament of 1388. He cannot have returned very promptly to Westminster for the beginning of the second session on 13 Apr., however, as he was still staying on Sir Walter’s estates at Hincaster 12 days later, when the two men witnessed a local property transaction. He had, even so, resumed his seat before the Commons finally rose on 4 June, the date of an order to the constable of the Tower of London allowing the release on bail of four royal clerks, who, along with other members of the King’s household, had suffered the wrath of the Lords Appellant. Together with other northern MPs, Thomas offered sureties on behalf of Richard Clifford, a canon of St. Stephen’s chapel, Westminster, who was destined to become bishop of Worcester (1401-7) and then of London (1407-21), but whose association with the unpopular royal favourite, Sir Simon Burley, had temporarily brought about his disgrace. Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth, may already have been involved in litigation with Henry Warcop over the ownership of an estate in Warcop, Westmorland, although the verdict, which was given against them in the Michaelmas term of 1390, suggests that the action was possibly collusive. At the same time, Thomas was attempting to recover a very real debt of £17 from the executors of Sir Hugh Hastings. His efforts were doomed to failure, as in October 1392 the defendants obtained royal letters of pardon for the sentence of outlawry which had been passed against them because of their failure to appear in court. Since no further evidence about Thomas appears to have survived, we may assume that he died shortly afterwards.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Test. Karleolensia ed. Ferugson, 124-5; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 185; H. Hornyold, Stricklands of Sizergh, 39-40. Hornyold confuses Thomas I with his nephew, Thomas II*, a mistake commonly made by local historians.
- 2. HMC 10th Rep. IV, 225.
- 3. Recs. Kendale ed. Farrer and Curwen, i. 206, 224; Hornyold, 37-40; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 225-6; Test. Karleolensia, 124-5; CPR, 1374-7, p. 242.
- 4. Recs. Kendale, ii. 173; CCR, 1385-9, p. 414; CPR, 1391-6, p. 253; Peds. Plea Rolls, 185.