PRIDEAUX, Thomas (by 1532-59 or later), of London.
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Family and Education
Apart from his service in Parliament, very little has come to light about the career of Thomas Prideaux. Sprung from a family of gentle standing in south Devon, Prideaux received a small bequest under the will made in 1549 by his father who 12 years earlier had settled several leases on him and two other children in survivorship. Presumably he sought election to Parliament after his father’s death with a view to promoting his career. For his return in the spring of 1553 as the junior Member for Barnstaple, where his name was inserted on the indenture in a different hand, he was doubtless indebted to his brother Roger, who in 1549 had purchased with an uncle some former chantry property in the town, later sold to Roger Apley and another townsman acting for the municipal authorities. A year later Prideaux seems to have been returned for three Cornish boroughs; his brother had business dealings with Richard Chamond and many other leading figures in the county, and he may have been favoured by the steward of the duchy, the 1st Earl of Bedford. He evidently preferred to sit for one of the two Launceston constituencies and was replaced at Bodmin by John Sulyard and at Grampound by Sir Thomas Cornwallis. In 1557 he acquired a 21-year lease from the crown of property in Cornwall, and a year later he took the senior place for another Cornish borough. Early in Elizabeth’s reign he assigned this lease to Walter Kestell who in 1567 replaced it by a lease of his own. By then Prideaux may have been dead—in March 1566 Roger Prideaux had substituted the names of two of his own children for those of his brother and sister in their father’s settlement of 1537—or he could have been the Mr. Prideaux known to have been in Spain between 1563 and 1572 and the Thomas Prideaux who wrote from that country in 1574 commending his wife and daughter to his brother Richard.2