WYTHE, Thomas (by 1479-1521/22), of Wisbech, Cambs. and Lynn, Norf.

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 1479, s. of John Wythe of Eye, Suff. m. (1) by 1500, 3da.; (2) by 13 May 1510, Joan, wid. of John Palmer of Lynn, s.p.3

Offices Held

Chamberlain, Lynn 1507-8, jurat 1510-20, mayor 1510-11, 1511-12, j.p. 1512; commr. sewers, Fen districts of Ely and Norf. 1508, Cambs., Lincs. and Northants. 1515, Norf. 1517; dep. constable and clerk, Wisbech castle by 1509.4


Thomas Wythe was born at Eye in Suffolk but his forbears may have included the several burgesses of that name found at Lynn in the 14th and 15th centuries; his own connexion with the town perhaps sprang fron his second marriage, to the widow pf an ex-mayor. there is no reason to connect him with the family of Droitwich, Worcestershire, which was to produce Robert Wythe.5

Wythe was styled merchant or gentleman when sued out a pardon in 1509, but his association with Sir James Hobart, the attorey-general and Councillor, whose deputy he was at Wisbech castle by that time, may imply a legal training of which no trace has been found. Such a background could also have qualified Wythe for his concurrent service to the bishop of Ely as steward of the episcopal lands in freebridge and Wisbech hundreds. It was ‘by the service of the bishop of Ely’ that he excused himself from sitting for Lynn when first elected there on 2 Jan. 1510: the fact that the bishop was James Stanley, son of the 1st Earl of Derby and stepbrother of the late King, must have strengthened Wythe’s hand, although the townsman who had been elected with him also contrived to be discharged. Wythe was not to persist in his objection. Having begun his municipal career in 1507 in the customary office of chamberlain, he was made a jurat in August 1510 and immediately elected mayor. Re-elected in the following year, he was in office when chosen for the Parliament of 1512. Neither on this occasion, nor three years later when he was again returned in compliance with the King’s request for the re-election of the previous Members, is there any indication that he demurred. Both the bishop and Hobart, who received a writ of assistance, sat in the Lords in the first of these Parliaments, and Hobart in the second. No reference has been found to Wythe’s being paid parliamentary wages.6

In his will of 28 July 1521 Wythe mentions no property in Lynn but he appears to have had considerable lands in and around Wisbech, in Eye and in Norfolk. These he left for 20 years to two priests as feoffees and then to his grandchildren in tail; he named three daughters, each of whom had at least one son. He made bequests to a number of churches and, as befitted a servant of Bishop Stanley, showed a concern for education, leaving £5 a year for 20 years to provide a grammar master to teach poor children in Wisbech and making elaborate provision for the schooling of his grandchildren. After money had been left for obits and to the Trinity guild of Wisbech, the residue went to the executors, Dr. Thomas Pell, Thomas Dunbolt and Wythe’s son-in-law Thomas Prentyse, for the performance of the will, which was proved on 24 May 1522. Wythe does not appear on the jurat list of Lynn for September 1521 and was probably dead by that time.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Lynn congregation bk. 4, f. 115v.
  • 2. Ibid. f. 151.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from marriage. PCC 24 Maynwaryng; LP Hen. VIII, i.
  • 4. Lynn congregation bk. 4, ff. 80, 83v, 104, 112; LP Hen. VIII, i, ii; CPR, 1494-1509, p. 581.
  • 5. PCC 24 Maynwaryng; Lynn Freemen (Norf. Arch.), 8-45 passim; Lynn congregation bk. 2 passim.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, i; Lynn congregation bk. 4, ff. 97v, 98, 115v, 151.
  • 7. PCC 24 Maynwaryng.