COLLES, Thomas (by 1519-67), of Northampton.

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. by 1519, yr. s. of Peter Colles of Preston Capes. m. (1) Alice; (2) Jane, da. of William Clerke of Potterspury; (3) Joan; 6s. 4da.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Northampton 1541-2, chamberlain 1558-9, mayor 1561-2, j.p. by 1564.2


Thomas Colles, a younger son in a family which held land of the Knightleys of Fawsley, Northamptonshire, settled at Northampton, where his relatives the Manleys were prominent merchants. He became a grocer but like many other freemen he did not confine himself to trade and was eager by 1540 to lease valuable pasture land. One such lease, held jointly with Robert Harrison from (Sir) William Newenham, involved him in a lawsuit with the bailiff over the loss of some sheep. He built up a medium-sized estate in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and held on lease several messuages in Northampton itself.3

Frequently employed as a trustee and feoffee, Colles had to bring a chancery suit in an attempt to justify his making two subsidy payments out of a legacy of £100 entrusted to his care by George Vincent, later his brother-in-law. On other occasions he was accused in the court of requests of using his office to pervert the course of justice and in Chancery of unlawfully seizing a considerable quantity of the movables of one Richard Reve. Of greater significance for his standing in the borough was his assistance to John Balgye in the dispute with William, 3rd Earl of Worcester, over Duston manor. In 1564 Balgye and Colles were described by the bishop of Peterborough as ‘earnest furtherers of religion’.4

In his will of 1 Aug. 1567 Colles made generous provision for his younger children but, subject to his wife’s life interest, left the bulk of his estate to his eldest son Francis, then an apprentice. The will was proved on 6 Sept. 1567. Ten years later Francis Colles was executed for robbery.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Northampton archdeaconry wills, bk. S, f. 33; Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 14; E315/345, f. 6.
  • 2. Recs. Northampton, ed. Cox and Markham, ii. 551, 560, 566.
  • 3. Northants. RO, Catalogue of Knightley chs. 296, 298, 308, 311; C1/1208/45-48; 3/29/33; PCC 6 Populwell; Northampton ass. bk. 26, 257, 300, 350.
  • 4. C1/1292/43-44; 3/182/51, 194/7; Northampton ass. bk. 28, 121, 315; E315/345, f. 10; Req.2/134/19; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 36.
  • 5. Northampton archdeaconry wills, bk. S, f. 33; Harl. 756, p. 115.