HUNGERFORD, Thomas (1510/12-81/82), of Chelsea, Mdx.

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. 1510/12, yr. s. of Robert Hungerford of Cadnam, Wilts. by Eleanor, da. of John Yorke of Halthorp, Wilts.; bro. of Robert. m. aft. 1540, Ursula Maidenhead, ‘da. of Lady Sandys’, wid. of James Barnard, 2s. inc. Edmund 1da.1

Offices Held

Gent. at arms by 1546; gent. pens. by May 1558-Mar. 1564 or later.2


The Thomas Hungerford who sat for Heytesbury in 1555 may have owed his return to Robert Hungerford of Cadnam, the sheriff of Wiltshire at the time of the election. On the return his name is written in a hand and ink different from those of the rest of the document and it only partly fills the space into which it was inserted.3

There There were three men named Thomas Hungerford whose relationship to the sheriff could have evoked his favour. The first was a younger son of Sir Anthony Hungerford, head of the Down Ampney branch of the family, and thus the sheriff’s second cousin. The pedigrees are for the most part too confused to afford any indication of his age, but as it appears from Sir Anthony’s will that this Thomas Hungerford had a son by 1558 he was probably old enough to have sat in Parliament three years earlier: he may indeed have been the 19 year-old who accompanied Stephen Gardiner to France in 1538. By his father’s will he received a silver cup and by his mother’s, as Thomas Hungerford of Lea (and Cleverton), a black gown, 20s. and some corn. He married Edith Strange of Chesterton and is mentioned in her sister Anne’s will of 1580. A friendly relationship between this family and the Hungerfords of Cadnam is suggested by the fact that Sir Anthony and his son John were named overseers of the will which Robert Hungerford of Cadnam made in 1544.4

The second Thomas Hungerford was the sheriff’s own third son. In 1544 Robert Hungerford had nine children under the age of 21, and since he may have married in or soon after 1529, when a chancery case hinged on his marrying ‘himself at his own pleasure’, his third son is likely to have been of age in 1555, a view which would accord with his father’s statement in the previous year, in the course of examinations about the imprisonment and ill use of the parson of Woodborough, Wiltshire, that the parson had devised his rectory to the son. By Robert Hungerford’s will of 1544 he had received pasture land, £20 and two colts.5

It is, however, the third Thomas Hungerford whose career, as sketched in his epitaph, makes him the most likely of the three to have been the Member. Younger brother to the sheriff, he served four monarchs as a gentleman at arms or a gentleman pensioner and attended the funerals of the three he outlived. He had seen action at the winning of Boulogne and at Pinkie and had been granted an annuity of £10 for life for services to Mary at Framlingham. His name occurs on a list of gentlemen at arms who had remained loyal to Mary in July 1553. His standing in the royal household could have commended him to the lord of the manor of Heytesbury, Henry Wheeler, himself a gentleman of the privy chamber, although the coincidence of his election with his brother’s shrievalty implies that this was the decisive circumstance. Thomas Hungerford the pensioner died in the year ‘1581’ at the age of 70 and was survived by his wife. The will which she made two years later serves as a catalogue of their remarkable collection of pictures; it comprised portraits of all the Tudor monarchs, of the Earl of Leicester and Burghley, of the two Hungerfords themselves, and six others.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. L. Davids


  • 1. Aged 70 at death according to MI, Add. 33412, f. 112, Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 94; Add. 5524, f. 192; 33412, ff. 105v-6; R. C. Hoare, Hungerfordiana , 19-20 corrected by p. 89; C1/645/24, 1298/23-26; Devizes, Wilts. Arch. Soc. Lib. J. E. Jackson mss ‘Hungerford fam. coll. personal hist.’, iv. 12 where he is said to have had another elder brother John who died young; PCC 6 Butts.
  • 2. Add. 33412, f. 112; LC 2/2, f. 43; 2/4(1), f. 27; E407/1/1, 3, 4; E179/64/82, 69/81, all ex inf. W. J. Tighe.
  • 3. C219/24/190.
  • 4. Wilts. N. and Q. ii. 306-7; Wilts Vis. Peds. 91-92; Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 87-88; Hoare, 15-16; PCC 47 Welles, 12 Mellershe, 70 Noodes; LP Hen. VIII, xiii; Add. 33412, ff. 68, 70, 71.
  • 5. C1/645/24; 142/32/76; St.Ch.2/26/379; 4/10/64; PCC 70 Noodes.
  • 6. Add. 33412, f. 112; LC2/2, f. 43, 4/1, 2; E101/427/6, no. 16; E407/1/1; Lansd. 3(89), f. 197; 156(28), f. 92; PCC 6 Butts.