FASSHYN, Thomas (by 1511-57), of Southampton, Hants.

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 1511, s. of Nicholas Fasshyn. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Walter Baker of Southampton, 5s. 7da.; (2) Elizabeth, sis. of Thomas Carter.1

Offices Held

Water bailiff, Southampton 1539-40, ct. bailiff 1540-1, sheriff 1541-2, mayor 1545-6, alderman by 1554.2


Although his father and his son styled themselves gentlemen, Thomas Fasshyn was proud to be a merchant. He provided in his will for the erection of a family tomb in St. Michael’s church bearing his ‘picture in the form of a merchant’, and further stipulated that his daughter should have double raiment on her wedding day ‘as the daughter of a merchant’: his attitude was prophetic, for the right of his descendants to bear arms was to be disclaimed in 1576. His father had sought to strengthen a claim to gentility by acquiring the lordship of Auneville in his native Guernsey, with other lands there and in Jersey, from the 2nd Lord Willoughby de Broke, but contention about the sale ended in his being accused of detention of deeds: Nicholas and Thomas Fasshyn eventually bought Auneville in 1545 from Willoughby’s granddaughter Elizabeth, wife of Sir Fulke Greville. Nicholas Fasshyn died three years later.3

The trade between Southampton and the Channel Islands made it useful to have at least one member of an Islands family at Southampton and this was Thomas Fasshyn’s role. Made a freemen of the town by his father-in-law, Walter Baker, during Baker’s mayoralty of 1531-2, he rented several houses from the town, including one on the west quay. He and his father traded in a variety of goods, canvas among them. It was a business not without risk: in 1536 Nicholas Fasshyn was said to have been nearly strangled to death by Spanish pirates and in the following year his son suffered losses at Sluis for which he was still seeking compensation in 1541, when Henry VIII wrote on his behalf to the Queen of Hungary. In April 1544 the Earl of Hertford obtained a licence for Fasshyn and others to export 1,000 tons of woollen cloth to Jersey, of which Hertford was governor. This episode was perhaps a contributory cause of the campaign against Channel Islanders which came to a head during Fasshyn’s mayoralty in 1545-6: it was presumably against his wishes that an order was then made, with the consent of ‘the most part of the aldermen and burgesses’, that in future no islander should be made a burgess ‘without the assent of the more part of the aldermen and burgesses of the said town’. His own position in the town, strengthened by marriage alliances with other leading figures there, was reflected in his election to the Parliament of 1555 with the recorder James Brande. Of Fasshyn’s part in the proceedings of this turbulent assembly the only indication is that his name does not appear on the list of Members who opposed one of the government’s bills. His earlier suing out of a general pardon is thus probably to be regarded as a conventional piece of insurance.4

Before the next Parliament met Fasshyn was dead. On the outbreak of war with France in 1557 he had been entrusted with a sector of the Southampton defences but he died in November of that year, perhaps a victim of the current epidemic. By his will made on 6 Mar. 1556 he left money to churches in Hampshire and Guernsey, and arranged for masses to be said for his soul. To his second wife he gave £420, and in part payment of this money the lease of the King’s Arms, Cheapside, despite the fact that her brother ‘did naughtily and like a villain arrest me ... in my bed at Guildford as if I had been a vagabond or thief’. His elder surviving son Thomas, who married the daughter and heiress of John Huttoft, was to have the lordship of Auneville and other lands in Jersey and Guernsey, a house at Milbrook and eight houses in Southampton, and the younger, Walter, who was still a minor, four houses in Southampton and all lands bought of George Samaurez, if these could be recovered. The rest of the lands in Jersey and Guernsey were to be shared by Walter and his five surviving sisters, who were to have £100 each at marriage. The remainder in all these lands, if his children died without heirs, Fasshyn left to the town of Southampton to provide for an annual service and banquet. He also left 20 nobles to help pay for the repair of the town walls. He made his sons executors and named Edmund Cockerell and several leading figures in Southampton and the Channel Islands as overseers.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 66; PCC 17 Noodes.
  • 2. Third Bk. of Remembrance, i (Soton Rec. ser. ii), app. i; CPR, 1553-4, p. 464.
  • 3. C. Platt, Med. Southampton, 212; PCC 17 Noodes; Vis. Hants, 66; The Gen. vii. 236; C1/178/40; Black Bk. iii (Soton Rec. Soc. vii), 83-85.
  • 4. Platt, 216; Soton RO, bk. of oaths and ordinances, f. 15; bk. of debts 1525-1602, f. 2v; Black Bk. iii. 74n; LP Hen. VIII, xii, xvi, xix; Ct. Leet Recs. (Soton Rec. Soc. i), 14.
  • 5. Third Bk. of Remembrance, ii (Soton rec. ser. iii), 57; Black Bk. iii. 150-2; PCC 17 Noodes.