SCROPE, Thomas (c.1567-1609), of Carlisle, Cumb.

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.1567, s. and h. of Henry, 9th Lord Scrope of Bolton by his 2nd w., and bro. of Henry. m. c.1584, Philadelphia, da. of Henry, 1st Baron Hunsdon, 1s. Kntd. 1585. suc. fa. as 10th Lord Scrope 13 June 1592. KG 1599.

Offices Held

Warden of west march and keeper of Carlisle, j.p. and custos rot. Cumb. from Mar. 1593; steward, Inglewood forest; eccles. commr. for province of York 1599; bailiff, Richmond and Middleham castles from Nov. 1603; steward, Richmond and Richmondshire.


Little is known of Scrope’s early years. Probably he was with his father at Carlisle, where he was to spend most of his own active public life. First elected senior knight of the shire while still in his teens, and again in 1588, Scrope could have served on the subsidy committees of 24 Feb. 1585 and 11 Feb. 1589. When his father died at Carlisle, where he had been warden of the west march for almost 30 years, Scrope was clearly in line for the office, which he received some eight months later. In the interim he apparently shared the duties with Richard Lowther, who was to become one of his strongest opponents in border affairs. Thus Scrope saw little of his estates—20 manors in Yorkshire and Hambledon, Buckinghamshire. He was a rich man: his rents amounted to almost £2,000, and jointly with his wife, he inherited property worth over £1,700 a year. The fees of the warden, in his father’s time, were over £400 a year.

Apart from occasional brief visits south, for which the Queen gave her permission reluctantly, Scrope stayed at Carlisle from the spring of 1593 to the end of the reign. He began cautiously, as the Queen had advised, but he was soon urging strong action against the Scots. The borders, he complained in July 1593, would ‘break’ if the English were not allowed to make reprisals. Scrope also adopted an aggressive attitude towards his own borderers, quickly antagonizing such families as the Carletons and Lowthers. During his feud with Thomas Carleton and Gerard Lowther, Scrope found little support within the marches. In his correspondence he often lamented his isolation, intensified by his wife’s absence at court and his son’s at Oxford. The government gave him little encouragement, and the bishop of Durham described him as ‘of deep wit, of noble and liberal inclination, but so secret and sole in his intentions as some hold him over jealous’. Scrope, in turn, complained to his father-in-law, Lord Hunsdon, that those who ‘crossed’ him were better countenanced than he at court. Next, Scrope antagonized James of Scotland, who protested at his impertinence and negligence, and as late as 1602 the Council reprimanded him for the ‘undecent or violent terms’ of his letters to James. But on the other hand he was criticized for referring too many problems to the Council: ‘the fewer questions you ask ... the better [the Queen] is pleased’. Refused permission to resign, Scrope was still in office on James’s accession, and he attended the new King at Newcastle in April. James withdrew him from the march as part of his general policy of suppressing the wardenries, and in 1605 Scrope complained that all the wardens but he had been finally discharged and rewarded. He was lucky to obtain by way of compensation the bailiwick of Richmond and Middleham castles and the stewardship of Richmond and Richmondshire. He apparently retired to his estates and took no further part in government or politics, dying at Langar, Nottinghamshire, on 2 Sept. 1609.

CP; PRO Indexes 16776, 16779; C66/1421; Lansd. anon. jnl. f. 171; D’Ewes 431; HMC Hatfield, vii. 41; xi. 345; xii. 384-5; xv. 44, 46; xvi. 636; CSP Dom. Add. 1580-1625, pp. 332-3; C142/320/70; Border Pprs. i, ii, passim; J. T. Godfrey, Notes on the Churches of Notts. Hundred of Bingham, 304.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: B.D.