VACHELL, Thomas II (by 1528-1610), of Coley, Berks.

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 1528, 1st s. of Thomas Vachell I of Coley by Agnes, da. of William Justice of Southampton, Hants and Reading, Berks. m. 5 Sept. 1546, Catherine, da. of Thomas Rede of Barton Court, nr. Abingdon, Berks., 1da. suc. fa. 9 Dec. 1553.1

Offices Held

J.p.q. Berks. 1554; commr. to survey lands taken by crown, diocese of Salisbury 1560, sewers, Bucks. Oxon. and Berks. 1567.2


Either Thomas Vachell or his father was awarded an annuity of £10 for services to Queen Mary at Framlingham, and when in May 1554 the son had licence to enter on his inheritance he had already been appointed to the quorum on the commission of the peace. In the following year he was returned for the borough which his father had long dominated. He may also have enjoyed the patronage of Sir Francis Englefield, whose father had named the elder Vachell an executor of his will and who was now chief steward of Reading. Vachell’s Catholicism, however, meant the virtual end of his career on the accession of Elizabeth.3

In 1585 Vachell was summoned in Oxfordshire (where his wife had brought him two manors at Ipsden) to furnish two light horse or £50 and replied that ‘he hath always been charged in Berkshire in all services towards the queen’s majesty’. In August 1588 Michael Blount of Mapledurham, Oxfordshire, where Vachell owned land, was ordered as sheriff of that shire to arrest Vachell after vestments and apparently also books belonging to him had been found at Tilehurst, Berkshire. At about this time also his goods and chattels and two thirds of his lands in Berkshire and Oxfordshire were seized. On 16 July 1599 Sir Francis Knollys and others raided Ufton Court, Berkshire, home of Francis Perkins, son-in-law of another Reading Member, Edmund Plowden, and seized £1,484 in gold, plate valued at £200 and precious chains and other valuables belonging to Vachell. Vachell was one of those to whom Plowden entrusted the control of his daughter Mary’s dowry, and he was involved in the quarrel between Plowden’s family and Sir Francis Englefield’s nephew and namesake and, although not apparently committed to either side, was described by Andrew Blunden, Plowden’s nephew, as one that ‘loveth the house of Englefield as his own house’.4

As late as 9 Feb. 1609 a grant was made of the profits of Vachell’s recusancy. By that time he had long been living at Ipsden in the care of his sister Anne, widow of Edmund Montague. He died there on 3 May 1610 but was buried in St. Mary’s, Reading. His wife had presumably long been dead and their only daughter, Anne, had in 1565 been buried in St. Mary’s at the age of 16. His heir was his nephew Sir Thomas Vachell, who had already in 1603 been granted the property seized by Knollys and who was later to marry Knollys’s daughter Lettice. Sir Thomas Vachell was licensed to succeed to his uncle’s lands in Burghfield, Mapledurham, Reading, Shinfield, Sulhampstead Abbot, Sulhampstead Banister and Tilehurst but in 1612 charged Anne Montague with exercising undue influence over her brother and with retaining a will. Members of the family continued to represent Reading into the 18th century.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/100/3; E150/820/6. Quarterly Jnl. Berks. Arch. Soc. iii. 32-34.
  • 2. CPR, 1553-4, p. 1558-60, p. 423; 1569-72, p. 219.
  • 3. Lansd. 156(28), f. 93; CPR, 1553-4, p. 377; PCC 11 Dyngeley.
  • 4. Recs. Eng. Catholics, ed, Knox, 300; SP 12/183/33; APC, xvi. 214, 218; Lansd. 61, art. 30; Cath. Rec. Soc. xviii. 7, 252; lvii. 2, 121; lxi. passim; CSP Dom. Add. 1580-1625, p. 424; Recusant Hist. xii. 102 seq.; PCC 54 Brudenell; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), ix. 137.
  • 5. Add. 34765, f. 29v; C142/325/172; Churchwarden’s Accts. St. Mary’s Reading, 1550-1662, ed. Garry, 93, 110; Register St. Mary’s Reading, ed. Crawfurd, i.4.