CHESEMAN, alias BAKER, Thomas (c.1488-1536 or later), of Rye, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. c.1488, 1st s. of John Cheseman alias Baker of Rye. suc. fa. June/Aug. 1504.2

Offices Held

Jurat, Rye 1514-9, 1520-3, 1525-6, 1527-9, mayor 1518-19; bailiff to Yarmouth 1516, 1522.3


Thomas Cheseman alias Baker was a minor when his father died in 1504 leaving him a share of the family property and the sum of 10 marks on coming of age. It is not clear whether he followed either of the trades whose names he bore, the only clue found to his occupation being the debt to him of 26s.8d. by a London stockfishmonger for which the corporation of Rye solicited the help of the mayor and aldermen of London in January 1536: the Londoners replied that they were doubtful of their right to intervene and would do nothing unless Rye’s Members could convince those for London at the next session of Parliament. Cheseman’s service as a jurat was interrupted three times, in 1519 when his successor as mayor, Nicholas Sutton, promptly dropped him and Thomas Basseden, and in 1523 and 1526 when incoming mayors again demoted him; each time he was restored within a year or two until in 1529 his name finally disappears from the list. By contrast, he was sent regularly to the Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports, at which he appeared 17 times between 1516 and 1529 as well as being deputed, but unable to attend, at Easter 1523 when he was sitting in Parliament. It was with Basseden that he left Rye on 13 Apr. to attend this Parliament, which opened two days later. His total payment of £9 for this duty, of which he received £2 on setting out, 33s.4d. while in London, £3 on his return and 46s.8d. a year later, looks like an agreed reduction from the £10 and more due to him at the standard rate of 2s. a day normally paid by Rye. One of the few other references to Cheseman’s role in the port’s affairs relates to a mission which he undertook with the mayor, John Fletcher, to solicit outside contributions towards its quota of a loan required by the King in 1928; they raised 20s. from the abbot of St. Augustine’s, Canterbury, and 9s. from Sir John Norton, but at a cost of 7s.10d. in expenses for the six days they were away.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Add. 34150, f. 136; Rye chamberlains’ accts. 4, f. 118v.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from father’s death when Cheseman was under age and from first office. PCC 14 Holgrave; HP, ed. Wedgwood, 1439-1509 (Biogs.), 34.
  • 3. Rye chamberlains’ accts. 4 passim; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 163, 185;
  • 4. City of London RO, Guildhall, jnl. 11, f. 474v; Rye chamberlains’ accts. 4, ff. 73, 118v, 121, 122 and v, 124, 140, 159, 167, 168v, 173; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. 160-207 passim.