PARKER, Thomas II (by 1527-80), of Ratton, Willingdon, Suss.

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 1527, 1st s. of John Parker of Ratton by 1st w. Joan, da. of Richard Sackville of Withyham. m. by 1547, Eleanor, da. of William Waller of Groomsbridge, Kent, 3s. inc. John and Sir Nicholas 1da. suc. fa. 9 Nov. 1557.1

Offices Held

J.p. Suss. 1558/59-?70; commr. for survey of bpric. of Chichester 1559, sewers, Suss. 1564, piracy 1565.2


Two of Thomas Parker’s forbears had sat in Parliament for Lewes in 1417 and 1453, but he was the next of the family to do so. His election for East Grinstead, a duchy of Lancaster borough, Parker clearly owed to his family connexions: he was first cousin to (Sir) Richard Sackville II, whose son Thomas was returned with him (although choosing to sit for Westmorland), and his sister married Sir John Gage’s eldest son Sir Edward. Shortly before the election, and perhaps in anticipation of it, Sir Edward Gage and Sir Richard Sackville visited Parker’s father at Willingdon. John Parker had bequeathed the greater part of his property to his younger sons, and the object of the visit was to persuade him to entrust their ‘rule and order’ to their elder half-brother. The father explained that he did not mean to disinherit his eldest son, but ‘only to bridle him and his wife withal, because of their stout stomach’, and it was agreed that Thomas Parker should pay annuities of £20 and £40 to his younger half-brothers until they came of age, and an annuity for life of £20 to his stepmother.3

His father’s depiction of Parker is borne out by the sobriquet of ‘Parker the Wild, as he is counted in all Sussex’, given him in the account of his capture of a Sussex heretic. Put on the bench at the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign he was adjudged in 1564 a ‘misliker of religion and godly proceedings’ and the Thomas Parker who appears as a justice in 1569 and 1570 may have been his half-brother. Parker died on 16 Apr. 1580. No will or inquisition survives.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv. 177. Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 22; J. E. Mousley, ‘Suss. country gentry in the reign of Eliz.’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1956), 644-7 where Parker’s mother is mistakenly given as a daughter of Sir Richard Sackville.
  • 2. SP12/74, f. 107; CPR, 1558-60, p. 31; 1563-6, pp. 37-38, 40; APC, vii. 283.
  • 3. Mousley, 644; Suss. Arch. Colls. lxxx. 137-9; Barbican House, Lewes, F.B. 143. Gage mss 21/11, 12; PCC 31 Noodes.
  • 4. Foxe, Acts and Mons. viii. 337; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 10; Mousley, 646; R. B. Manning. Rel. and Soc. in Eliz. Suss. 245.