WARD, Thomas I (by 1488-1538), of Winkfield, 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 1488, 1st s. of Thomas Ward by Elizabeth, da. of William Cunnington of Hunts. m. c.1505, Maud, da. of Thomas More of Bourton, Bucks., 1s. Richard Ward I.1

Offices Held

Yeoman harbinger by 1509-d.; jt. porter, Wallingford castle Berks, 1511, sole 1520-d., porter of the outer gate Windsor castle 1515-d., comptroller of works, Nov. 1528-d., keeper of the butts and keeper of the armoury by 1532-d.; bailiff, manor of Amersham, Bucks. 1522; commr. subsidy, Berks. 1523, 1524; j.p. 1526-d.; escheator, Oxon. and Berks. 1531-2; steward, former lands of Wallingford priory 1531.2


Thomas Ward’s father and namesake was himself the third son of Sir Christopher Ward of Givendale, Yorkshire, whose pedigree has been traced back to the end of the 12th century. Nothing certain is known about Thomas the elder, who presumably moved south and may have been the gentleman and mercer of London who sued out a pardon on 6 June 1509. His son is first mentioned in the same year, when he attended both the funeral of Henry VII and the coronation of Henry VIII as a yeoman harbinger.3

Thomas Ward the younger prospered from the beginning of the reign. On 1 Mar. 1511 he was granted 13 tenements and gardens in Holborn, and on 3 Nov. 1514 he received an annuity of £5 for life out of the lordship of Denbigh. He was taxed as a member of the royal household, his goods being valued at £41 in 1524, and occasionally he received special gifts, such as a New Year’s present in 1533 and a ‘reward’ of £20 three months later. Ward’s main income, however, came from his numerous offices. In spite of these, there is little evidence of his investing in land. He is described as a resident of Winkfield only in a lease of November 1537, when he secured 150 acres of the manor of Holcombe in Oxfordshire, but he had leased the Berkshire manor of Hurst from Abingdon abbey in 1518 and he was granted Windsor Underour on the suppression of Reading abbey. An inquisition taken at Reading on 8 Oct. 1538 found that Ward had property at White Waltham, Windsor, Winkfield and Worth; when he spoke in his will of furnishings ‘in the chambers at Windsor’ he may have meant lodgings in the castle rather than a house in the town.4

With his ancestry, his royal offices and his country properties, Ward was more prominent in the county than in Windsor. A Robert Ward appears low down on the subsidy assessments for the town in 1524 and 1525, with goods valued at 20s., but the surname is not mentioned in any municipal records and Thomas Ward cannot be classed as a townsman. His return to the Parliament of 1529 therefore marked a change from earlier practice under Henry VIII, except perhaps in 1523 when it is not known who sat for Windsor. Ward was probably nominated by or on behalf of the King, who sent for several parliamentary writs while at Windsor castle in September 1529 and who can hardly have overlooked the town beside the castle. The choice was balanced by that of the townsman William Symonds. Windsor’s Members in the Parliament of June 1536 are again unknown but it would have been in accordance with the King’s wish for the men of 1529 to be returned again. Symonds was to sit in 1542, after Ward’s death, and Ward himself remained in favour, for in May 1536 the bishop of Lincoln urged Cromwell to appoint him a justice of the peace in Buckinghamshire as well as in Berkshire. Of Ward’s part in the proceedings of the House there is only one dubious glimpse. The name ‘Thomas Warde’ occurs in a list of Members compiled by Cromwell probably in December 1534 and believed to indicate those having a particular connexion, possibly as a committee, with the treasons bill then on its way through Parliament. Whether the Member thus designated was Thomas Ward of Windsor or his namesake of Derby it seems impossible to determine: either would have suited a list which included both ‘official’ names and those of Members without court connexion.5

Ward made his will on 20 July 1538, acknowledging the royal supremacy but making elaborate and traditional arrangements for his funeral and masses at Winkfield church. Numerous household servants were left sums ranging from 3s.4d. to 26s.8d., while among the recipients of black gowns were his chaplain Richard Gibson, and Thomas and Edward Weldon. He provided for his son Richard, made his wife residuary legatee and sole executrix and named John Norris supervisor. Ward died four days after making the will, leaving Richard to succeed to many of his offices and to start his own long parliamentary career.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 12, 57; PCC 21 Dyngeley.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, i-v, viii, xiii, xxi; The King’s Works, iii. 415.
  • 3. Yorks. Peds. (Harl. Soc. xcvi), 433; LP Hen. VIII, i.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, i. iii-vi, xii, xiii; C11086/12; VCH Berks. iii. 66; E150/809/1.
  • 5. E179/73/30, 137; LP Hen. VIII, iv; vii, 1522 (ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v; x.
  • 6. PCC 21 Dyngeley; E150/809/1.