MARKHAM, Thomas (by 1523-1607), of Ollerton, Notts. and Kirby Bellars, Leics.

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



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1523, s. of Sir John Markham of Cotham, Notts. by 3rd w. Anne, da. and coh. of Sir John Strelley of Strelley, Notts.; bro. of William. m. by 1565, Mary, da. and h. of Sir Rice Griffin of Braybrooke and Dingley, Northants., 7s. 4da.; 7 other ch. d. inf.1

Offices Held

Gent. waiter to 2nd Earl of Rutland by 1549; bailiff, manor of Mansfield, Notts. Nov. 1550, Clipston, Notts. 1568; keeper, Lyndhurst and Normanswood within Sherwood forest Nov. 1550, Sherwood forest 1564; member, household of Princess Elizabeth by 1558; standard bearer of gent. pens. 1559-72; j.p.q. Notts. 1561-91, steward, lordship of Newark, Notts. 2 Apr. 1568; sheriff, Notts. 1577-8; commr. to administer oath of supremacy 1592.2


On his father’s death in 1559 Thomas Markham inherited Ollerton, which he made his chief residence, and leases of Bothamsall and Elkesley manors in north Nottinghamshire; his marriage brought him considerable property at Chipping Warden in Northamptonshire; and he purchased the site of the priory of Kirby Bellars in Leicestershire, where he was to spend much of his time after he retired from court.3

As a young man Markham fought in France and Scotland, witnessing the capture of Boulogne in 1544 and the sack of Haddington three years later. It was doubtless his father’s adherence to the Earl of Rutland which had obtained for him a place in the earl’s household and a combination of noble and paternal support which procured his election for Nottingham to Mary’s first Parliament. Both influences are also to be discerned in Markham’s conduct in the Commons: he was one of those who opposed the initial measures to restore Catholicism. His religion may have either deterred or helped to debar him from being re-elected under Mary, but with the accession of Elizabeth both he and his father resumed their seats.4

Long afterwards Markham was to remind Elizabeth of his response to her summons when her sister lay dying. He was at Berwick in command of 300 footmen when he received a message from (Sir) Thomas Parry asking him to come with all possible speed to Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, leaving his men under trustworthy captains; he did so at once, bringing with him the captains’ names and signatures ‘by which they vowed their dutiful forwardness to adventure their lives in her Majesty’s service with 10,000 men’. Happily, nothing of the kind was necessary, but Markham received the new Queen’s thanks and was promptly made a gentleman pensioner. He was to spend many years at court and to survive the troubles provoked by his wife’s and his son’s recusancy. He was buried at Ollerton on 8 Mar. 1607 and administration of his property was granted at York on 30 Apr. following.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: C. J. Black


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Notts. (Thoroton Soc. rec. ser. xiii), 21; Vis. Notts. (Harl. Soc. iv), 24-25; C. Brown, Newark, i. 41; C.R. Markham, Markham Memorials, i. 39, 87, 93, 98; NRA 5783, p. 97.
  • 2. HMC Rutland, i. 294; iv. 363; CPR, 1549-51, p. 210; 1563-6, pp. 73-74, 309, 319; 1566-9, pp. 127, 323; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, pp. 31, 49; HMC Middleton, 160; HMC Hatfield, x. 328; LC2/4(3), p. 96; E179/69/84; E407/1/6, 7 ex inf. W. J. Tighe.
  • 3. PCC 50 Chaynay; N. Country Wills, ii (Surtees Soc. cxxi), 15-16; Markham, 87.
  • 4. HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot, i. 73-74; Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 5. HMC Hatfield, iv. 189; CSP For. 1559-60, p. 600; Cal. Border Pprs. i. 393, 441; Markham, 128 seq.; York admon. act bk. 1607.