BECKINGHAM, Thomas (b.c.1511), of Southampton.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1511. m.

Offices Held

Steward, Southampton 1540-1, water (junior) bailiff 1541-2, court (senior) bailiff 1544-5, sheriff, Southampton 1545-6, mayor 1547-8, alderman to at least 1576; capt. of musters.


This Member may have been a relative of John Beckingham, of Salisbury, who married Alice, daughter of Thomas Twickener of Altham, Hampshire. The only Thomas given in the published Elizabethan pedigrees of the family was living in 1596, and was presumably too young to have held civic office in 1540. Beckingham’s name appears in the Southampton records from about 1540 as a trader in pepper and other commodities. In December 1545 he took recognizances of 300 marks from two men who had bought goods from him, the mayor and other members of the corporation witnessing the transaction. About 1553 he owed the town over £30, and had apparently not paid off his debt by 1559, when his parliamentary wages of 2s. a day, amounting to £11, were set against it. Nothing is known of his religious views, but in September 1559 the ecclesiastical commissioners wrote to him and others in Southampton about the need for persuading the townsmen to recant ‘papistical tenets’.

The last reference found to him is dated 1576. The corporation, then drawing up new instructions about the clothes to be worn by local officials, asked for his opinion. Though still an alderman, he had apparently retired to live outside Southampton. He knew what had been ‘time out of mind’ the ‘ancient apparel of the mayor, sheriff and bailiffs and their wives’, since he had been ‘a dweller and trader to the said town of Southampton by the space of 45 years’.

Ct. Leet Recs. i (Soton Rec. Soc.), 143; Third Remembrance Bk. i. (Soton Rec. Ser.), 63, 64; ii. passim; Vis. Essex(Harl. Soc. xiii), 149; Black Bk. iii. (Soton Rec. Soc.), 72; J. S. Davies, Hist. Soton, iii. 81; Soton Civic Centre, bk. of debts 1525-1602, ff. 45, 46; HMC 11th Rep. III, 94.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge