BASKERVILLE, Sir Thomas (d.1597), of Goodrest, Warws.
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Family and Education
Yr. s. of Henry Baskerville of Hereford by Anne, da. of John Ratford of Gloucester. m. Mary, da. of Sir Thomas Throckmorton of Tortworth, Glos., 1s. Kntd. 1588.
?J.p. Herefs. from c.1569-c.85; ?escheator, Herefs. 1580; capt. in Netherlands 1585-8, in France 1589-90; sergt.-maj. in Brittany 1591-2, 1593-4; col. gen. land forces with Drake and Hawkins 1595; col. gen. in France 1597.
Baskerville may have owed his advancement to a connexion with the Cecils of Allt yr Ynys, Herefordshire, from whom Burghley was descended. The conjecture is strengthened by the young Robert Cecil being put in Baskerville’s charge in the Netherlands in the 1580s, and by Burghley’s own comment on Baskerville’s ‘covetousness’. Some of the family appear on a list drawn up in the interests of Mary Queen of Scots, but Baskerville himself spent his life fighting in the protestant cause, serving under Lord Willoughby in the Netherlands, being knighted by him after the capture of Bergen-op-Zoom in 1588, and afterwards fighting beside him in France. Having been sergeant major of foot under the Earl of Essex in 1591 Baskerville returned to England in 1592 and was returned to the 1593 Parliament for Carmarthen Boroughs through the influence of Essex and against opposition from the lord keeper, Puckering. Baskerville served on committees dealing with the poor law (12 Mar.) and maimed soldiers (30 Mar.). He subsequently returned to his military duties in Brittany and the Netherlands. In 1595 he commanded the land forces accompanying Drake and Hawkins on their last expedition to the Indies, frequently mediating between the two admirals, and, on Drake’s death, succeeded to the command and brought the expedition home. He then returned to France where he died of a fever in June 1597. He was buried in St. Paul’s cathedral. His nuncupative will, drawn up on his deathbed, contained legacies to a number of servants, a preacher, and a relation, John Tomkins. ‘For thee, Jack’, the testator declared, ‘I am most sorry that I cannot do as I would, for I meant to make thee as my child’. His wife and executrix was to enjoy his estate during her lifetime. The Earl of Essex, he trusted, ‘will have a care of ... my young son’; this was Hannibal Baskerville, the antiquary.
DNB; Williams, Parl. Hist. Wales, 52; Lansd. 121, f. 65; Gent. Mag. 1825(a), p. 315; HMC Hatfield, iv. 167, 169, 295, 550, 563; v. 240, 286, 297, 318-19, 331, 357-8; vi. 141, 152, 172, 196, 315, 393; vii. 30, 200, 232; viii. 288, 553; CSP For. 1584-5, p. 636; 1588, p. 207; Cath. Rec. Soc. Misc. viii. 112, 114; HMC Ancaster, 76, 184, 246; CSP Dom. 1591-4, pp. 57, 74, 252, 315, 513, 529; 1595-7, pp. 219, 435; APC, xx. 329; xxiii. 38; xxvi. 16-17; xxvii. 203; W. B. Devereux, Lives of the Devereux, i. 279; D. Mathew, Celtic Peoples and Renaissance Europe, ch. xviii; Neale, Commons, 238; D’Ewes, 499, 512; T. Maynarde, Sir Francis Drake (Hak. Soc. iv), 6; J. Corbett, Drake and the Tudor Navy, ii. 400; Hakluyt’s Voyages (1903-5), x. 226-65.