WENTWORTH, Sir Thomas II (by 1525-84), of Nettlestead, Suff., Westminster and Stepney, Mdx.

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 1525, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Wentworth I, 1st Lord Wentworth. educ. ?St. John’s, Camb. m. (1) settlement 9 Feb. 1546, Mary (d.1554) da. of Sir John Wentworth of Gosfield, Essex, s.p.; (2) by 1556, Anne or Agnes (d.1574), da. of Henry Wentworth of Mountnessing, Essex, 2s. 1da.; ?(3). Kntd. 28 Sept. 1547; suc. fa. as 2nd Lord Wentworth 3 Mar. 1551.2

Offices Held

Jt. ld. lt. Suff. 1552-3, 1560-1, Norf. and Suff. 1569; trier of petitions in the Lords, Parlts. of Mar. 1553, 1563, 1571; PC 21 Aug. 1553-8; dep. Calais Dec. 1553-Jan. 1558; j.p. Suff. 1554, q. 1558/59-?d., Mdx. 1561, q. 1577-?d. ; commr. goods of churches and fraternities Suff. 1553; other commissions, Essex, Suff., and eastern counties 1564-d.3


Thomas Wentworth is said to have been educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge, leaving without a degree, and to have shown early promise as a soldier. He may have served under his father in the campaigns of 1543 and 1544, but he is first certainly glimpsed in the army led by his kinsman the Protector Somerset against the Scots in 1547, when he was knighted in the camp at Roxburgh. His return to the Parliament which assembled a month-and-a-half later reflected his kinship with Edward VI, and was presumably abetted by his father, the most influential peer in Suffolk after the downfall of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Nothing is known about his part in the work of the Commons before the death of his father during the third prorogation left him heir to a peerage and a place in the Lords. His cousin Sir Thomas Cornwallis replaced him in the Commons as one of the knights for Suffolk during the last session of the Parliament.4

Wentworth attended 14 out of the 25 sittings of the Parliament of March 1553 and three months later he witnessed the device settling the crown on Jane Grey. As joint lord lieutenant of Suffolk he was expected to support Jane but in the event he joined Princess Mary, to whom he swore allegiance on 17 July. For his decisive part in securing Suffolk for her during the succession crisis Mary made him a Privy Councillor in August and deputy of Calais before the end of the year. The imperial ambassador Renard considered Wentworth ‘rather lightweight, young and inexperienced’, and his term at Calais was a testing and unrewarding time. Censured for failing to suppress Protestantism in the town he was not given adequate support to maintain its defences. He misjudged the seriousness of the French attack early in 1558 and on the fall of the town he was taken prisoner. While in captivity he was indicted on 2 July 1558 for his ineptitude and his estates were ordered to be sequestered. After his ransom and return to England in March 1559, he was arraigned for high treason on 22 Apr. but ‘quit himself, thanks be to God, and [was] clean delivered’. Although acquitted of treason and restored to his lands, he was not renamed to the Privy Council by Elizabeth, but many local issues were entrusted to him by the Queen. He bettered his father’s somewhat poor record of attendance in the Lords, but after being present for the prorogation on 20 Oct. 1580 he missed the short session in 1581. He died intestate at Stepney on 13 Jan. 1584 and administration of his goods was granted five days later to his son Henry.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., E150/648/18. DNB; CP; W. L. Rutton, Three Branches of the Fam. Wentworth, 39-52, 143-201.
  • 3. APC , iv. 50, 277, 323; vi. 85; J. Daus, A Hundred Sermons on the Apocalypse by H. Bullinger (1861), dedication; G. S. Thomson, Lds. Lts. 50; LJ, i. 430, 581, 667; P. T. J. Morgan, ‘The govt. of Calais, 1485-1558’ (Oxf. Univ. D. Phil. thesis, 1966), 294; CPR, 1553-4, pp. 24, 67; 1560-3, pp. 439, 442; 1563-6, pp. 130, 141, 221-2; 1569-72, pp. 217-18.
  • 4. Cooper, Ath. Cant. i. 484; M.A.R. Graves, ‘The Tudor House of Lords, 1547-58’ (Otago Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1974), ii. 357-8.
  • 5. LJ, i. 394-751; ii. 9-52; Lit Rems. Edw. VI, 371; CPR, 1550-3, pp. 141, 347, 395; 1553-4, p. 67; 1558-60 to 1566-9 passim; APC, iv-xi passim; xiii. 352; DKR, iv. 234-8, 259; Foxe, Acts and Mons. vi. 538, 540, 768; H. F. M. Prescott, Mary Tudor, 357, 360-9,; CSP For. 1553-8, p. 310, 321. et passim; CSP Span. 1554-8, pp. xxi-xxii, 144, 229, 320 et passim; CSP Dom. 1547-80, passim; CSP Ven. 1557-8, pp. 144-5; Zurich Letters (Parker Soc.) 99; C142/204/155(2); PCC admons. 1584, f. 91.