CAVE, Thomas (c.1540-1609), of Baggrave, Leics.

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.1540, 1st s. of Francis Cave by Margaret, da. of Thomas Lisle. educ. M. Temple 1561. m. (1) c.1565, Catherine, da. and coh. of Thomas Colt of Newhall, Essex, 1s.; (2) Isabella Wake, s.p.; (3) Anne, da. of (?James) Lany, 2s. 5da. suc. fa. 1583. Kntd. Apr. 1603.

Offices Held

J.p. Leics. by 1574, sheriff 1579-80, 1592-3, dep. lt. by 1588, commr. musters 1596; commr. subsidy, Leicester 1590.1


Possibly through his father’s influence, Cave was specially admitted to the Middle Temple 29 Oct. 1561. In February 1563 he and two other students were allocated a chamber in the new buildings. However, Cave abandoned the law before being called to the bar, becoming an active local official in Leicestershire even during his father’s lifetime, and so continuing for 35 years. His connexion with the town of Leicester, for which he was returned to the 1571 Parliament, was close, the chamberlain’s accounts referring on several occasions to gifts of wine or oysters sent to him, and when a difference of opinion arose about the musters in June 1592 the mayor was advised to accept Cave’s suggestions, ‘for that the gentleman is a favourer of the town’. Cave wrote to the mayor in July 1592 about the local troops needed for Ireland, and his name is on the commission for musters appointed in 1596 after the death of the lord lieutenant, the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, with whom Cave had been on friendly terms. In 1598 Cave’s servant, Thomas Browne, was made a freeman at his request.2

Most other references to Cave show him carrying out the Privy Council’s orders in Leicestershire, and he was one of those on a list of local gentlemen drawn up in September 1586 when Mary Stuart was being removed to Fotheringay. But all this time he was disposing of his estates, and by the beginning of James I’s reign his finances were in poor shape. Still, he lent the Earl of Rutland plate for use when James visited Belvoir Castle on his way south, and it was there that Cave was knighted on St. George’s day 1603. In November 1604 he asked to be discharged of two privy seals which had come ‘very unfitly’ for him while he was trying to negotiate a marriage settlement for one of his daughters. He was over £1,000 in debt, and had not yet been repaid £50 which he had lent to the late Queen. Cave looked back to Elizabeth’s reign also in the following January when he signed a letter from the Leicestershire gentlemen asking that the godly ministers there might be allowed to continue to preach as in her reign. This is the only indication of Cave’s religious views. He died at Baggrave, his only remaining estate, 6 Oct. 1609, and an inquisition post mortem was taken three months later.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. C142/318/176, 204/145; Vis. Leics. (Harl. Soc. ii), 126-7, 196; APC, xxvi. 56; HMC Hatfield, xvii. 603.
  • 2. Leicester Recs. iii. 208, 246, 265, 271, 280-1, 288, 293, 312; Leicester Freemen, 95.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1581-90, pp. 185, 354; APC, xx. 165, 187, 266-7; xxi. 187; xxii. 63; xxiii. 258; xxv. 216; xxvi. 460; xxviii. 559; Leicester Recs. iii. 265, 284; HMC Hatfield, xvi. 368; xvii. 7-8, 603; HMC Rutland, iv. 440; C142/318/176.