KERRY (CARY), Thomas (by 1533-1607), of Hereford; London and Sherfield, 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 1533. m. at least 3s. 4da.1

Offices Held

Common clerk and prothonotary, Brecon 20 Mar. 1556; clerk of the privy seal by 1559-d.2


Born in Hereford, Thomas Kerry was almost certainly related to John Kerry, mayor of Hereford in 1555-6 and Member for the city in 1559, and both were presumably members of the family living at Putson, about a mile outside Hereford. The Thomas Kerry of Putson admitted in 1560 to the Inner Temple (the inn of Kerry’s fellow-Member James Warnecombe) may thus have been either the Member or his eldest son, whereas both can be distinguished from the citizen and salter of London, perhaps one of the Kerrys of Worthen, Shropshire, who purchased lands in Montgomeryshire and Shropshire.3

Kerry’s early peregrinations are glimpsed only in the description with which he sued out a pardon in 1554 as late of Hereford alias of Micheldever, Hampshire, alias late of Wellow, Somerset, alias of London. The inclusion of Micheldever, and his later domicile at Crendon, Buckinghamshire, suggest a connexion with the widow of Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton; born a Cheyne of Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire, she could have been the patron who secured him the reversion of a clerkship of the privy seal in December 1554, It was probably Kerry’s son and namesake who by marriage to Susan, daughter of Thomas Hulse of Sutton Courtenay, Berkshire, became a distant relative of the Wriothesleys. Susan Hulse’s sister married a Wollascot, of a family related to the Plowdens, and Kerry’s will was to reveal his friendship for Edmund Plowden’s son Francis and brother-in-law Ralph Sheldon. In 1555 Edmund Plowden could have helped Kerry to a seat at Leominster but nothing has been found to show that the two men were then acquainted. It may have been by coincidence that one of Kerry’s precursors as a Member for Leominster was William Crowche, who held the manor of Wellow.4

Before his return on 14 Oct. 1555, Kerry already had plans for getting the Act through Parliament for the rebuilding of some mills on the river Wye near Hereford (2 and 3 Phil. and Mary, c.14). On 28 Sept. he wrote from London to the mayor of Hereford, explaining that he had been

persuaded to erect the same by Parliament, whereunto I must pray your aid, whereof almost I count myself assured, for that I know the earnest good wills you owe unto it, and therefore am the bolder to pray you, good master mayor and the rest of my masters your brethren, to consider the particulars of a bill herein enclosed, which I have caused to be done by advised counsel; and yet I know it cannot be so well perfected here as by you, unto whom every branch thereof is apparent; which considered by you at good length and corrected where need requireth, my petition is that if the same shall seem to you all convenient and requisite I may receive by your burgesses [Hugh Gebons and Morgan Owgan], whom I trust you will instruct deeply on this case, the same fair written in parchment under your hands and common seal to the intent the said burgesses, and such as I shall require to be my good lords and masters herein, may the bolder and rather exhibit the same to the Parliament House and overthrow such as shall blindly object any matter against it.

There may have been equal goodwill towards the project at Leominster.5

Kerry was not among those Members who followed Sir Anthony Kingston’s lead in opposing one of the government’s bills and although he was not to sit again it may have been as a reward for his support that in 1556 he was appointed first clerk and prothonotary of Brecon. In the previous year he had obtained a 21-year lease in Breconshire and in 1557 he joined with Gregory Price in the purchase for £950 of the manor and priory of Monmouth and four other manors in Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and Suffolk. Seven years later, in partnership with John Somer, he bought for £1,300 the reversion to various lands and rents in five counties, including Buckinghamshire and Herefordshire, and in 1574 he secured a 21-year lease of the manor and rectory of Sidmouth, Devon.6

Kerry remained active as one of the four clerks of the privy seal but in June 1599, being old and sick, he asked Sir Robert Cecil for permission to employ a deputy. He survived a further eight years, making a will on 16 Apr. 1607 to which he added a codicil on 24 May. He was then living at Sherfield and he asked to be buried at the chapel of the Holy Ghost, Basingstoke. After making final arrangements for the almshouse which he had founded at Hereford, he provided for his three sons, Thomas, John and William, and his two surviving daughters. He left memorial rings to 20 friends, including several Members of Parliament, and named as executors Thomas Lake and John Winchcombe the elder of Henwick, Berkshire. The will was proved on 15 July 1607.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. PCC 63 Hudleston.
  • 2. CPR, 1554-5, p. 147; 1555-7, p. 78; 1558-60, p. 174.
  • 3. PCC 63 Hudleston; LP Hen. VIII, xix, xxi; CPR, 1548-9, pp. 417-18; 1553, p. 376; Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 286.
  • 4. CPR, 1553-4, p. 447; 1554-5, p. 147; 1558-60, p. 174; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 33-34, 146; VCH Berks. iv. 373-4.
  • 5. HMC 13th Rep. IV, 322-3.
  • 6. CPR, 1554-5, pp. 340-1; 1557-8, p. 269; 1563-6, pp. 11-12; 1569-72, p. 358; 1572-5, p. 287.
  • 7. HMC Hatfield, ix. 85, 94, 117, 209; HMC Laing, i. 98; PCC 63 Hudleston.