WROTH, Thomas (1518-73), of Durants, Enfield, Mdx. and London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. 1518, o.s. of Robert Wroth, and half-bro. of Francis Goodere. educ. St. John’s, Camb., G. Inn, adm. 1536. m. 1538, Mary, da. of Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, 7s. inc. John, Richard and Robert 7da. suc. fa. 11 May 1535. Kntd. 22 Feb. 1547.2

Offices Held

Gent. usher, the chamber to Prince Edward 1541-7; gent., the privy chamber 1547-9, principal gent. 1549-53; standard bearer Jan.-Nov. 1549, commr. relief, Mdx. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553, subsidy 1563, musters 1569, benevolence, Essex, Mdx. 1564, eccles. causes 1572; other commissions 1540-70; bailiff, manors of Enfield 1550-d., Ware, Herts. 1551-3; jt. ld. lt. Mdx. 1551, 1552, 1553; keeper, Syon house and steward, lordship of Isleworth, Mdx. 1552-3; steward, manors of Elsing and Worcesters in Enfield 1553-9, Edmonton, Mdx. 1553-d.; master forester, Enfield chase 1553-9, woodward 1564-6; j.p.q. Mdx. 1558/59-d., Essex 1561-d.; keeper, manor of Elsing 1560-d.; special commr. to consult with ld. dep. on govt. of Ireland 1562; custos rot. Mdx. by 1564-d.3


In October 1536 the wardship of Thomas Wroth was granted to Cromwell who had been a friend of his father. He was then 18 years old and negotiations for his marriage opened in the following year with an offer by Sir Brian Tuke of one of his daughters. This came to nothing, but in 1538 Cromwell sold the marriage to Sir Richard Rich for 300 marks and Wroth married Rich’s third daughter Mary. In April 1540 he was granted livery of the lands which had descended to him from his father: a month later he increased this substantial inheritance by purchasing lands in Hertfordshire and Middlesex from Cromwell and Rich, the commissioners for the sale of crown lands. After the fall of Cromwell he obtained a lease of the minister’s manor of Highbury, Middlesex, and in 1544 he bought a manor in Hertfordshire.4

Wroth was appointed a gentleman usher to Prince Edward in October 1541 and began a career in the royal service which presumably accounts for his earlier appearances in Parliament and for his knighthood. In 1547 he was sent north to congratulate the Protector Somerset on the victory at Pinkie and two years later he was appointed standard bearer during the minority of Sir Anthony Browne. On the fall of Somerset he was promoted to be one of the four principal gentlemen of the privy chamber, of whom at least two were to be continually attendant upon the King: their salaries were raised from £50 to £100 ‘in consideration of the singular care and travail that they should have about his majesty’s person’. Besides his duties about the King he was employed on special commissions for the better execution of penal laws, for the recovery of outstanding debts to the crown and for the reform of the revenue courts. He was rewarded for his services by appointment to a number of offices in the administration of crown lands and by the grant of four manors in Essex, three in Middlesex, one in Somerset and two in Sussex; the reversion to two monastic houses, which he also received, he re-sold within two or three years.5

Although Wroth signed the letters patent of 7 June 1553 devising the crown to Jane Grey and also attended the King on his deathbed, he took no part in the attempt to force the King’s supposed will upon the country. He helped to proclaim Mary Queen in Cheapside on 19 July but a week later he was sent to the Tower: he was not held in prison for long and on 9 Oct. 1553 he was granted a general pardon. Early in the following year he was suspected of complicity in the rising of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk. He was approached by the conspirators and although he refused to join them Stephen Gardiner advised his arrest. He fled overseas, arriving at Padua with Sir John Cheke in July 1554, and remained abroad for the rest of the reign, first in Italy and from 1555 at Strasbourg. In August 1556 a messenger from the Queen arrived to recall him to England, but Wroth managed to hide from him and when the messenger had left he applied to the magistrate of Strasbourg for a residence permit. This was renewed in 1557, when he declared that he was an exile for the sake of religion, and again in 1558. Directly the news of Mary’s death reached him Wroth set out for home, leaving Strasbourg on 20 Dec. 1558.6

The ascendancy which Wroth and other exiles had hoped for in the England of Elizabeth was not vouchsafed them. Wroth recovered few of his lost offices and became a country gentleman rather than a courtier until his death on 9 Oct. 1573.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Aged 17 and more at fa.’s death, C142/57/7, 33, and 32 or thereabouts at Gardiner’s trial in 1551, Foxe, Acts and Mons. vi. 148. PCC 36 Hogen, 16 Pyckering; D. O. Pam, Protestant Gentlemen: the Wroths of Enfield and Loughton (Edmonton Hundred Hist. Soc. occasional ppr. n.s. xxv), passim; DNB; C142/171/97.
  • 3. W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 470; LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xvii, xxi; APC, ii-iv passim; CPR, 1549-51 to 1569-72 passim; Somerville, Duchy, i. 612-13; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 40; CSP Ire. 1509-73, pp. 230, 246.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xi, xii, xiv-xvi, xix; M. L. Robertson, ‘Cromwell’s servants’ (Univ. California Los Angeles Ph.D. thesis, 1975), 593.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; W. K. Jordan, Edw. VI, ii. 20; Lit. Rems. Edw. VI, 224, 403, 469, 499-501; Rep. R. Comm. of 1552 (Archs. of Brit. Hist. and Culture iii), pp. xxvi, 76, 82; Richardson, 198; Elton, Tudor Rev. in Govt. 230; VCH Mdx. ii. 30-31; iii. 103; iv. 114.
  • 6. Jordan, ii. 519; Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 100, 182, 184; Grey Friars Chron. (Cam. Soc. liii), 81; Pam, 6; CPR, 1553-4, p. 436; D. M. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies, 27, 263; CSP For. 1553-8, p. 112; Cam. Misc. x(2) 116-19; C. H. Garrett, Marian Exiles, 345-6; Zurich Letters 1558-79 (Parker Soc.), 3-6.
  • 7. C142/171/97.