THORNTON, John (d.1601), of Hull, Yorks.

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

Prob. s. of John Thornton (d.1540) of Hull by his w. Margaret (d.1551). m. Joan, da. and coh. of Ralph Constable of St. Sepulchre’s in Holderness, at least 1s.

Offices Held

Alderman, Hull by 1550, mayor 1555-6, 1566-7, 1577-8; commr. to inquire into offences against Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy c.1568, of array, Hull 1569; eccles. commr. 1573; gov. Hull fellowship of merchants 1577.


Thornton added to his Hull property in 1562 land purchased in Bilton, Holstwick and Coniston, and, six years later, pasture in the lordship of Gainstede. In 1577 he had a licence from the mayor to buy grain in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Hull, for shipment abroad. He played an active part, both in the affairs of the borough and in the Hull fellowship of merchants, of which he was the first governor. Between 1577 and 1580 he was employed in negotiations between the merchants of Hull and those of York, and in 1580 was sent as their joint representative to London, to complain that their trade was being damaged by ‘unfreemen and interlopers’. In 1583, with Edward Wakefield, he again journeyed to London, this time on behalf of the borough, to explain the decay of their ‘castles and blockhouses’. Two years later he received a grant of authority to search for concealed lands in Hull. Thornton’s overseas contacts occasionally brought useful information such as a report about Alva’s troops in January 1570. Thornton was given leave of absence from the Commons ‘for his affairs’ on 12 Mar. 1563, and appointed to a committee for the maintenance of navigation on 5 Mar. 1571. He died in 1601, and his will was proved that year.

Yorks Wills (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xi), 178, 238; Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 144, 210; T. Gent. Kingston-upon-Hull, 120, 122, 125; Hull Deeds, ed. Stanewell, 90, 96, 98, 101, 105, 318; J. J. Sheahan, Hist. Kingston-upon-Hull, 92, 95, 96; CPR, 1566-9, p. 172; 1572-5, p. 169; York Merchant Adventures, ed. Sellers, 194-5, 212, 213; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 130; Add. 1566-79, pp. 179-80; CJ, i. 69; D’Ewes, 181; York Wills (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xxiv), 194.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.J.C.