HUNT, Thomas (by 1517-60), of Great Yarmouth, Norf.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1517. m. prob. at least 2s.1

Offices Held

Chamberlain, Great Yarmouth 1538-9, auditor 1541-2, 1543-4, 1550-1, bailiff 1553-4, July-Sept. 1559, j.p. 1554-5, 1559-60, member of the Forty-Eight by 1543, the Twenty-Four by 1549.2


Thomas Hunt’s parentage has not been established. The landed family of Hunt of Hindolveston, Norfolk, which had at least one Thomas living at the time, had no known connexion with Yarmouth. Hunt himself certainly lived there at least throughout his adult life: it was in or about the year of his death that Henry Hunt, ‘son of Thomas Hunt, free burgess’, was admitted to the freedom.3

The first probable reference found to Hunt is as executor of the will made on 3 Oct. 1532 by John Ladde. A shipowner by the time he became chamberlain of Yarmouth, Hunt may have been engaged in the Bordeaux wine trade: about 1538 a man of his name was one of a consortium who between them brought in more than 550 tuns. In April 1540 he and William Burgh were prosecuted in the Exchequer for exporting wheat and other goods without paying duty, and in January 1546 the Council ordered him to restore to an Italian money arising from his seizure of two ships laden with salt, ‘which prize was now by the Council thought not good’. Early in Mary’s reign Hunt was in financial difficulties and the assembly lent its bailiff-elect £40, but by the time of his election to Parliament he appears to have been prosperous enough. In October 1554 he bought the house of the Black Friars in Yarmouth from Sir William Woodhouse: he may have been acting for the town or speculating, for by the end of the reign the property had changed hands at least twice more.4

During his 20 years’ career on the Yarmouth governing body Hunt carried out a variety of duties, many of them concerned with the town’s unsuccessful attempts to build a new harbour, a project for which he sat on several committees and to which in January 1550 he contributed £4 for the replacement of timber and other materials destroyed by Ket’s followers. He was often chosen to ride on town business, to the high steward, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, to Sir Thomas Clere and Sir Thomas Woodhouse about moneys they claimed to have spent on its behalf during ‘the commotion time’ and to one of the Gawdys for advice over the vexed question of admiralty jurisdiction. On 13 July 1553 he went to Queen Mary’s Norfolk headquarters ‘with certain instructions to be declared unto her grace’s Council’. Soon after his election to Parliament the assembly advanced the date of the general audit so that he could be present when it was taken. Of his part in the proceedings of the Commons it is known only that he was not among the Members prosecuted in the King’s bench for quitting the Parliament prematurely. Later he gave advice on the storing of the town’s wheat and, during the French war, on fortification and the provision of ships; he was also one of those chosen to carry on the government of the town if the assembly was unable to meet. The last mention of him in the town books is during the period November-December 1559, and he must have died within a year of that as letters of administration were granted to his son Thomas on 25 Nov. 1560.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first certain reference. Cal. Freemen Gt. Yarmouth, 33; PCC admon. act bk. 1560, f. 22.
  • 2. Gt. Yarmouth roll 1538-9; ass. bk. A, ff. 5, 31v, 102, 203v, 216; information from P. Rutledge.
  • 3. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 167-8; Norwich consist. ct. 217 Marten; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 339; Cal. Freemen Gt. Yarmouth, 33.
  • 4. Norwich consist. ct. 204 Platfoote; Gt. Yarmouth roll 1538-9; Bronnen tot de Geshiedenis van den Handel met Engeland, Schotland en Ierland, ed. Smit, i. 494 n. 1; Gt. Yarmouth ass, bk. A, f. 88; LP Hen. VIII, xxi; APC, i. 310-11; CPR, 1554-5, p. 206; 1557-8, p. 443.
  • 5. H. Swinden, Gt. Yarmouth, 398n; Gt. Yarmouth roll 1538-9; ass. bk. A, ff. 11-217v passim; B, f. 1; PCC admon. act bk. 1560, f. 22.