WINGFIELD, Thomas Maria (?1516-57), of Stoneley, Hunts. and London.
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Family and Education
b. ?1516, 2nd s. of Sir Richard Wingfield of Kimbolton by 2nd w. Bridget, da. and h. of Sir John Wiltshire of Stone Castle, Kent; bro. of Jacques. educ. Oxf. BA 1534. m. (1) Margaret (d.1546), wid. of James Cole and William Sabine (d. Apr. 1543) of Ipswich, Suff.; (2) by 1550, Margaret, da. of Edward Kaye of Woodsome, Yorks., at least 2s. inc. Edward Maria†.1
Rector, Warrington, Lancs. 6 Dec. 1527-8 Nov. 1537; j.p. Hunts. 1554, commr. sewers, Cambs., Hunts., I. of Ely, Lincs., Northants., Notts. 1555.2
The herald who registered the Wingfield pedigree in 1613 enshrined the legend that Thomas Maria Wingfield had been ‘so christened by Queen Mary and Cardinal Pole’. Unacceptable as it stands, since Mary was a near-contemporary of Wingfield, the derivation was not wholly fictitious: Wingfield’s godmother was almost certainly Mary, Queen of France, a relative of Sir Richard Wingfield both through his marriage to her great-aunt and through hers to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and the cardinal-godfather was doubtless Thomas Wolsey, the elder Wingfield’s diplomatic chief.3
Wingfield’s widowed mother married in succession (Sir) Nicholas Harvey and Sir Robert Tyrwhitt I, whose standing at court was matched by her own as an intimate of Anne Boleyn; the ‘young Wingfield’ who served at the coronation of 1533 was either Thomas Maria or his elder brother. At that time Wingfield was in the midst of what looks like a false start in his career: in December 1527 he had been made rector of Warrington. It was his uncle Humphrey Wingfield and a clerk named Robert Brown who had presented this 11 year-old to the benefice, and they had done so in virtue of a grant from his father, the former chancellor of the duchy who had been dead two years. Wingfield was to retain the rectory, which was doubtless intended to finance his education, until December 1537, when his resignation of it may have marked his coming of age and his decision to forgo the ecclesiastical career planned for him. He had by then taken his degree at Oxford and he is not met with again until 1545, when he was assessed for subsidy at 20s. on landed property at Ipswich; his uncle Sir Humphrey, who died in that year, had long been a leading figure in the town, and Wingfield’s marriage to William Sabine’s widow may have been a cause or an effect of his own sojourn there. One consequence of the marriage was a rift with his stepson Ambrose Cole, whom he accused in Chancery of slander and robbery.4
By 1552 Wingfield had remarried and returned to Huntingdonshire, where he settled at Stoneley, near Kimbolton, on property which he bought from Oliver Leder. Kimbolton itself was in the custody of his stepfather Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, one of the two lords lieutenant of the county. Wingfield’s election to four of the next five Parliaments argues an interest in politics and religion of which there is no earlier trace in his career. First returned for Huntingdon, a duchy of Lancaster borough, with his cousin William Tyrwhitt, at a time when Sir Robert Tyrwhitt stood well with the Duke of Northumberland’s confidant Sir John Gates, the chancellor of the duchy, he twice retained the seat after Mary’s accession and the advent of a new chancellor in Sir Robert Rochester. His brother Jacques was a faithful servant of Stephen Gardiner, and Wingfield did not compromise himself by opposing the restoration of Catholicism, but his association with the leading dissidents in the shire could not have commended him to the court, and he was probably one of those whom the government sought to exclude, and in his case successfully, by the directive of October 1554 for the election of resident Catholics. If on this occasion Wingfield hoped for promotion to the knighthood of the shire he was disappointed, although his brother-in-law William Lawrence II was more fortunate, but in the following year he took the senior place; his stepfather Tyrwhitt attended the election which was presided over by his neighbour Sir Oliver Leder as sheriff. Wingfield’s parliamentary swansong was the vote which he gave against one of the government’s bills.5
During these years Wingfield engaged in several small property transactions around Stoneley, prosecuted a chancery suit concerning a parsonage in Bedfordshire, and joined with his stepfather to buy more than 5,000 acres at Woodwalton, Huntingdonshire. Like his father and elder brother, Wingfield died prematurely and suddenly. The will which he made on 14 Aug. 1557, the day before he died, is known from its citation in the inquisition post mortem of the following 7 June. His wife was to have two thirds of his lands during the minority of the heir Edward Maria.6
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: T. M. Hofmann
- 1. Date of birth estimated from elder brother’s in 1514 and from his resignation of Warrington rectory in 1537. Vis. Hunts. (Cam. Soc. xliii), 33, 131; Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 16; PCC 16 Alen; Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 632; CP 40/1142, f. 471.
- 2. Emden, 632; CPR, 1553-4, pp. 20, 35; 1554-5, p. 109.
- 3. Vis. Hunts. 131.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, vi; VCH Lancs. iii. 311 and n; C. Haigh, Ref. and Resistance in Tudor Lancs. 24-25; E179/181/270; C1/1391/88, 89.
- 5. VCH Hunts. ii. 365; iii. 81; C219/24/80; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2.
- 6. Cal. Feet of Fines, Hunts. ed. Turner, 143, 146; CPR, 1550-3, p. 271; 1553-4, p. 349; C1/1482/104; E150/102/3, 315/222/10.