WARD, Thomas II (by 1499-1563), of Derby.

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 1499. m. (1) Joan, 2s. prob. inc. Richard II; (2) 3s. 4da.1

Offices Held

2nd bailiff, Derby 1528-9, 1536-7, 1st bailiff 1544-5, 1552-3; commr. goods of churches and fraternities 1553.2


Thomas Ward of Derby is readily distinguishable from his namesake who sat for Windsor in the Parliament of 1529 but less readily from those others who lived nearer him. There was a Ward family, which included more than one Thomas, in the neighbourhood of Bingham, near Nottingham, and another at Carlton Curlieu in Leicestershire: in the absence of information on his parentage and early life it is fruitless to try to link him with, or separate him from, any family in the region.3

Ward was elected to Parliament towards the close of his first term as a bailiff of Derby. The junior of the two officers so styled who exercised the functions of mayor, he was presumably a townsman of standing, although nothing has come to light about his earlier life save his participation as feoffee to a use which may have been set up shortly before 1520; if this transaction is correctly dated, Ward was at least 30 years old when he took his seat in the Commons. At such an age, and occupying such a place in municipal life, he was a natural choice for this service, and there is less call to speculate about his election than there is about his fellow-Member Henry Ainsworth’s. Both were to see this Parliament through to its end, and having done so they were probably re-elected to its brief successor of June 1536 in accordance with the King’s general request for the return of the previous Members: either or both may even have reappeared in 1539, when again the names of the Members for Derby, in common with those for nearly all boroughs, are lost. Of Ward’s part in the proceedings of the Commons there is only a single, and dubious, glimpse. The name ‘Thomas Warde’ occurs in a list of some 50 Members written by Cromwell on the back of a letter of December 1534, but without indication which Member is intended. The make-up of the list does not help. Believed to denote Members having a particular connexion with the treasons bill then passing through Parliament, perhaps as belonging to a committee, the list comprises men likely to have taken varying attitudes towards that measure: it contains an ‘official’ element into which the Windsor Member would have fitted easily but also an assortment of representatives of provincial towns which could have included his namesake from Derby. Which of the two was involved it seems impossible to determine.4

Ward’s career after he ceased to sit in Parliament is relatively well documented. In 1552 he appears as a tenant of ex-monastic property in the town, and in 1546 and 1549 as holding ex-chantry lands at Kirk Hallam (where his name is also inscribed on a church bell) and elsewhere, as a member of a group which included his parliamentary colleague Henry Ainsworth. He also figures in litigation in both a personal and a public capacity. In 1545 he was one of the objects of a ‘seditious attempt’ by John Sharpe and a number of other freemen of Derby to disfranchise him, his fellow-bailiff William Buckley, and the recorder Thomas Sutton, and to make Sharpe a freeman. In May 1546 Sharpe launched another attack on Ward, this time in the Exchequer: Ward appeared by attorney to deny the charge, one of keeping a dicing house, but after a jury had been summoned no further process is recorded. Ward was perhaps not guiltless in this or another matter for the same charge had been brought against him in the previous year and in July 1546 he was accused of forestalling. Ward was also taken to Chancery for his action as bailiff in arresting a London vintner for alleged failure to pay for some lead he had bought of a Derbyshire man. Finally, he was one of the defendants in a suit brought before the court of requests by George Liversage of Warwickshire, who claimed that Ward had dispossessed him and sought to disinherit him of property in Derby which Ward held as a feoffee to a use created by his father, a dyer in the town.5

The Thomas Ward of Derby who died in 1563 was almost certainly the Member. He appointed two of his sons, John and Richard, as his executors and his two sons-in-law, John Heather and Thomas Brockhouse, as his overseers. William Buckley was one of the Derby men who compiled the inventory of his goods, which were valued at £251.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: C. J. Black


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Lichfield consist. ct. will 48.
  • 2. W. Hutton, Derby, 79-80; Stowe 5(141), ff. 59-69.
  • 3. Test. Ebor. vi (Surtees Soc. cvi), 20; Old Notts. ii. 95-96, 100; Vis. Leics. (Harl. Soc. ii), 83, 87.
  • 4. Req.2/59/3; LP Hen. VIII, vii. 1522 (ii) citing SP1/87, f. 106v.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xx; CPR, 1549-51, p. 92; 1550-3, p.366; 1553, p 246; APC, i. 304; St.Ch.2/25/11, 129; E159/324/rec. Hil. r. 37, 325/rec. East. r. 32, rec. Trin. r. 27; C1/1118/51; 2/L8/17; Req.2/59/3.
  • 6. Lichfield consist. ct. will 48.