MANSELL, Sir Thomas (c.1555-1631), of Margam, Glam.

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.1555, 1st s. of (Sir) Edward Mansell of Margam, and bro. of Sir Robert. m. (1) 1582, at Chelsea, Mary, da. of Lewis Mordaunt, 3rd Baron Mordaunt, 3s.; (2) Jane, da. of Thomas Pole of Bishop Hall, Mdx., wid. of John Fuller and John Bussey, 2da. suc. fa. 1585. Kntd. c.1591; cr. Bt. 1611.

Offices Held

J.p. Glam. from c.1583, q. from c.1592, sheriff 1593-4, 1603-4, 1622-3; commr. piracy 1586, dep. lt. 1595; dep. lt. Pemb. 1590; member, council in the marches of Wales 1601; chamberlain, S. Wales; steward, royal manor of Penkelly; steward, Swansea.2


Mansell was the heir of one of the wealthiest families in South Wales. They had settled in Gower during the reign of Edward I, but in the second half of the sixteenth century the nucleus of their estates was land that had once belonged to Margam abbey. There is no evidence that Mansell himself received any formal education, but he did travel abroad in his early twenties, writing to his father from Pisa in 1578. Once he had returned he married a daughter of the Bedfordshire peer, Lord Mordaunt, who brought with her a portion of £2,000, and subsequently he began to play a part in the affairs of his home county. Even before his father’s death he was appointed to the commission of the peace. During Elizabeth’s reign Mansell was a country gentleman rather than a courtier. In 1590 he was one of four appointed temporary deputy lieutenants in Pembrokeshire, the two permanent deputy lieutenants being continually absent from the county about their own affairs. The four chosen were to divide into pairs and reside for one month alternately in Milford Haven to see to its defences. In 1592 he was one of the Glamorganshire justices instructed to see that all members of the commission of the peace for the county had taken the requisite oaths. That he took his responsibilities seriously is shown in a letter to his cousin (Sir) Edward Stradling, written when he was about to set out for London:

And because I would, as near as I can, do my endeavour to prevent that no inconvenience or disorder may happen in my neighbourhood during my absence, these are right heartily to pray you that you will take upon you the protection of my poor neighbours and friends in preventing that the rich shall not oppress the poor, and that the poor injure not the wealthy. In doing whereof you shall do a charitable deed, cause them to be bound unto you, and find me not only thankful, but also ready to be employed in case like by you or any of yours.3

Elected knight for Glamorganshire in 1597, Mansell was qualified to attend committees concerning enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5 Nov.; named to the committee 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), the penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), the subsidy (15 Nov.) and the bridge at Newport (29 Nov.). In James I’s reign he was more at court, purchased a baronetcy in 1611, and was placed third in precedence in the new order. In 1612 he was one of the six baronets who carried the canopy over the effigy of the prince at the funeral of Prince Henry. Mansell died 20 Dec. 1631. His will, which was proved by his son-in-law Sir John Stradling on 10 Mar. 1632, had been drawn up some time in 1631. He desired to be buried in the vault where his father, his mother, and his two wives were already interred.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. C142/209/35; Baronetage, i. 4; Clark, Limbus, 495; E. P. Statham, Hist. Fam. Maunsell, ii(1) p. 1; Royal, 18 D. 111, f. 104; Lansd. 737, f. 166; 111, f. 50; E163/14/8, f. 46; APC, xiv. 144; xix. 248, 287-8, 309, 335; xxv. 14-15, 18; P. H. Williams, Council in Marches of Wales, 352-3; W. S. K. Thomas, Glam. Historian, ed. S. Williams, i. 29.
  • 3. DWB, 611; HMC Hatfield, ii. 173; Statham, 77; APC, xix. 248, 287-8, 309, 335; xxiii. 260; Stradling Corresp. ed. Traherne, 317-18.
  • 4. D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 565; Statham, 1-2; Lansd. 111, f. 50; 152, f. 16 seq.; Nichols, Progresses Jas. I, ii. 498; C142/490/179; PCC 31 Audley.