MARROW, Thomas (by 1516-61), of Redfern, Warws. and Hoxton, Mdx.

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 1516, 1st s. of Thomas Marrow of Wolston, Warws. by 1st w. da. of Baldwin Dowse of Balsall, Warws. educ. M. Temple. m. by 1541, Alice, da. of Richard Harry Young, 5s. 5da. suc. fa. 2 Sept. 1538.1

Offices Held

Escheator, Warws. and Leics. 1546-7; j.p. Warws. 1547-d.; commr. relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553.2


Thomas Marrow’s inheritance lay mainly in London and Middlesex, but his father had also held Warwickshire land on lease, and Marrow was related to many families in that county. He could also claim an ancestral link with Richard Rich, for his great-great-uncle William Marrow had married Catherine Rich, the future chancellor’s great-aunt. He followed his father into the law but did not emulate his great-uncle, the King’s serjeant and author of a treatise on the justice of the peace: at his inn he was several times amerced for his failure to read and to act as steward. He nevertheless made a sufficient reputation for Norden to call him ‘a famous lawyer’.3

Marrow’s aim in life was the creation of a coherent landed estate in Warwickshire. His first purchase, from John Butler II, was the manor of Elmdon, then probably on lease to his brother Edward who is always described as of Elmdon; in 1545 he bought from the crown the manor of Redfern, which his father had held on lease, and various smaller properties, and two years later he vested both Elmdon and Redfern in feoffees to his own use. After buying the manor of Stareton and lands in Bericote in 1549, Marrow engaged in a complex transaction in 1551 involving an exchange with Edward, 9th Lord Clinton of the reversion of the manors of Cotton on the Wolds and Wolvey for the reversion of Elmdon: to retain an interest in Elmdon, Marrow then leased it to his relative Richard Newport, who having granted the reversion of the lease assigned his interest to Marrow. Of the two manors thus acquired, Marrow immediately parted with Cotton and vested Wolvey in feoffees for his four younger sons. His last important acquisitions were the lordship of Birmingham and the manor of Berkswell from the crown in 1557, for which he exchanged the manor of Redfern and probably sold the rectory of Merton and the half manor of Over Whitacre. Although most of the properties in which Marrow had dealt lay in the same part of Warwickshire, the manors which he bequeathed to his son Samuel were more compact and valuable than those he had previously held; he had also disposed of much of his property in Devon, London, Middlesex and Somerset.4

It was presumably during the imprisonment of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk under Edward VI that Marrow incurred expenses which he hoped the 4th Duke would pay: in his will Marrow was to recall selling lands ‘to relieve and help his grace’s grandfather, the duchess his aunt, and to serve his grace also at that time, not doubting but of his grace’s goodness, conscience and honour he will satisfy and recompense the same again’. By the beginning of Mary’s reign, when he sat in his only Parliament, Marrow was a Warwickshire justice of several years’ standing and a man of consequence in the county; he was also allied to two families, Throckmorton and Wigston, which between them were to provide a knight of the shire in every Marian Parliament, his own fellow-Member being Robert Throckmorton. Among the attractions to Marrow of a seat in this Parliament his professional and personal interests doubtless ranked high, one of them being his role as a trustee, with Sir George Blount, (Sir) Henry Sidney, and the Warwickshire gentleman John Somerfield, under the will of Jane, Duchess of Northumberland; but as a Member he showed that he could rise above self-interest, for he was one of those who ‘stood for the true religion’ against the initial measures towards restoring Catholicism. It was perhaps the fact that he did so in company with three of his Throckmorton kinsmen (although not his fellow-knight) which spared him dismissal from the Warwickshire bench when it was reappointed early in the following year; he was to be little used, however, during the remainder of the reign, and if he sought re-election to Parliament he was passed over.5

Marrow made his will on 6 Sept. 1561, asking to be buried ‘without worldly pomp’. He provided for his children, relatives and servants and shared his books between his sons Samuel and Thomas. He left rings to, among others, Thomas Aldersey, John Astley, William Brooke alias Cobham* 10th Lord Cobham, Sir Thomas Cokayne, Dru Drury and John Lyttelton. To meet these legacies and debts he assigned the money owing to him by the Duke of Norfolk: he also recalled that Lord Clinton owed him £26 13s.4d. and Lord Cobham £10. Marrow died five days later and his will was proved on 10 Dec. following, when (Sir) William Cordell renounced his executorship and the administration was given to Thomas Hanford of London, the two other executors Sir Thomas Cokayne and John Lyttelton feeling unequal to the task. In 1565 Cokayne and Lyttelton were discharged of their responsibility and three years later Marrow’s eldest daughter complained unsuccessfully about Hanford’s administration. Neither the executors nor the administrator seem to have received settlement from Norfolk and they were reproached by the legatees until Norfolk’s fall in 1572 removed whatever hope remained of payment.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/60/100, 115. Vis. Warws. (Harl. Soc. xii), 69; Dugdale, Warws. 981; PCC 25 Dyngeley.
  • 2. CPR, 1550-3, p. 396; 1553, pp. 360, 415.
  • 3. M.T. Recs. i. 88, 94, 98, 103, 104; L. W. Abbott, Law Reporting in Eng. 279.
  • 4. C1/239/30, 251/21; 3/81/23; Warws. RO, Waller mss i(1), box 1 W32; LP Hen. VIII, xx, xxi; CPR, 1547-8 to 1560-3 passim; VCH Warws. iv. vi, vii passim; C. Gill, Birmingham, 32-47.
  • 5. PCC 37 Loftes; CPR, 1554-5, p. 122; Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 6. PCC 37 Loftes, 22 Morrison, 25 Babington; C3/81/23; 142/132/38; VCH Warws. iv. 68; vii. 59.