RADCLIFFE, Thomas (d.1586), of Elstow, Beds.

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

1st s. of Sir Humphrey Radcliffe of Elstow by his w. Isabel or Elizabeth, and bro. of Edward. suc. fa. 1566.

Offices Held

Steward, manor of Elstow 1566; j.p. Beds. from 1577, q. 1583-d.; gent. pens. 1573/7-d.1


After a possible stab at Bedfordshire in 1584, Radcliffe was brought in for Portsmouth by his cousin Sir Henry Radcliffe. Nothing has been found of any activities by him in this Parliament; indeed there is so little to relate about him that it is perhaps just worth mentioning a dispute in which he was engaged in the same year that he was returned to Parliament. He had borrowed £50 from a London grocer, William Ormeshaw, who complained to the Privy Council that the loan should have been repaid in 1581, but was not. Ormeshaw had judgment for £112 against Radcliffe, who still refused payment. Ormeshaw then appealed to Sir Henry Carey, 1st Lord Hunsdon, whereupon

Mr. Radcliffe, showing himself to be very much grieved for that I had complained to my Lord, came to my house in very great anger, and there gave me many ill words, threatening me if I durst cause any execution to be served upon him ... he would make me repent it so long as I lived, and in the end called me knave in mine own house. Upon which words I said his betters would not have called me so, who, answering again, said he knew no betters.

Radcliffe was actually imprisoned for a few days before a settlement was reached by which Ormeshaw was to receive £60. On his release Radcliffe had Ormeshaw summoned before the Council for extortion.

In September 1586 Radcliffe’s name appeared in a list of gentlemen selected to escort Mary Stuart out of Staffordshire; he was to attend her if she passed through Bedfordshire. He died 18 Sept. 1586, as recorded on the pensioners’ roll for that quarter. Administration was granted to William Butler I in November 1586.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 48; VCH Beds. iii. 283; CPR, 1566-9, p. 70; SP12/145, f. 5; Royal 18, D. 111, f. 41; E163/14/8, f. 1; E407/Box 1/16.
  • 2. Northants. RO. Stopford Sackville mss 239; SP12/175/1; Lansd. 49, f. 171 seq.; PCC admon. act bk. 1586, f. 198; information from Mr. W. J. Tighe.