HORNER, Thomas (c.1547-1612), of Cloford, Som.
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Family and Education
b. c.1547, 2nd but 1st surv. son of Sir John Horner of Cloford; bro. of Maurice. m. (1) c.1566, Elizabeth (d.1573), da. of Sir Lewis Pollard, 1s. 3da.; (2) Jane (d.1591), da. of John Popham, 6s. 2da.; (3) prob. Aug. 1595, Lady Gabrielle Roberta Montgomery, wid. of Gawen Champernowne, 1s. suc. fa. 1587.
J.p. Som. from 1591, q. 1593, sheriff 1606-7.
Horner’s grandfather, of Stoke St. Michael, Somerset, purchased the manor of Cloford in 1544, settling it the next year on his son, the MP’s father, on the occasion of his marriage. Sir John Horner was presumably elderly when Thomas Horner was elected to county seats in 1584 and 1586, but it is still a little surprising that the son was considered to be of sufficient status. Perhaps it was because of his second marriage, rumour having it that the Homers had ‘a kind of alliance with Judge Popham that swayed all the temporal government’ in the county. On his father’s death, Horner inherited extensive estates including the manor of Mells, which the family had purchased on the dissolution of Glastonbury. His sister married John Still, bishop of Bath and Wells, in December 1594, the Queen observing ‘it was a dangerous name for a bishop to match with a Horner’. In 1603 Thomas acted as trustee, on behalf of his sister, in the purchase of Mourton Wroughton and other property.
His name is not mentioned in the parliamentary journals, but he may have attended the subsidy committee to which knights of the shire were appointed on 24 Feb. 1585. Active in local affairs, Horner served on several inquiries. In 1593 he and others were reproved for the dilatory handling of an unsettled Armada claim. In 1601 he was one of those required to provide a light horse, fully equipped for service in Ireland. Horner was buried at Cloford 20 June 1612, as he had requested in the will he made 15 Feb. the previous year. Provision was made for the widow, Lady Montgomery, and for his son by her, Edward. The executor and residuary legatee was his son by his second marriage, John, who sided with Parliament during the civil war.
Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. iv. 161-2, 165; Harbin, Som. MPs, 130; N. and Q. iv. 132; Collinson, Som. ii. 463; P. H. Hembry, ‘The Bishops of Bath and Wells 1535-1647’ (London Univ. PhD thesis 1959), pp. 262-3; Som. Rec. Soc. li. 166; APC, xvii, 415; xxiv, 219, 263; xxvii. 167; xxxii. 279; PCC 79 Penner; Lansd. 43, anon. jnl. f. 171.