THURBARNE, James (d.1627), of New Romney, Kent.

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

?s. of John Thurbarne of New Romney. educ. Clare, Camb. 1580; Barnard’s Inn; G. Inn 1585, called. m. Mary, da. of Giles Estcourt of Salisbury, at least 2s. 2da.

Offices Held

Attorney, Barnard’s Inn 1585; town clerk, New Romney by 1588; of counsel to Cinque Ports 1594; reader, Staple Inn 1599; ancient, G. Inn 1603; of counsel to Rye 1607; assistant reader of G. Inn 1610, pens. 1611.


The Thurbarnes were prominent in Elizabethan New Romney. John Thurbarne was mayor in 1589; Robert in 1587, 1594 and 1602; William was a jurat and possibly mayor 1590; all three were supporters of William Southland and, like him, first defied and later submitted to the Privy Council. It was during this turbulent period in the town’s affairs that James Thurbarne became town clerk. While his family was being disciplined by the Privy Council, he was imprisoned for slander at the suit of one Driver of Gray’s Inn. Driver, however, had prosecuted without the consent of the benchers of Gray’s Inn, and so had to pay Thurbarne’s costs.

Thurbarne was paid a 40s. annuity for his counsel to the Cinque Ports, and 2s. a day for his services as MP in the same year that he was employed in a lawsuit against the city of London. John Mynge, Lord Cobham’s ally among the port men, suggested Thurbarne as a suitable adviser on port affairs, but the lord warden, who did not know him, preferred Mynge himself. In 1604 Thurbarne received an extra 20s. from the Ports for his services in connexion with a meeting of the brodhull, and at various times his name appears as a commissioner for the reduction of fifteenths, and as standing counsel for Rye as well as Romney. Although he sat in Parliament once, much of his later work for New Romney was connected with parliamentary matters. He died at Gray’s Inn on 6 June 1627, two days after making his will, in which he named his ‘well-beloved wife Mary’ executrix and residuary legatee. She was ‘to do the best she can’ for the younger son James and the eldest daughter Mary.

Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 56; CSP Dom.1581-90, p. 266; New Romney ass. bk. passim; Cinque Ports black bk. passim; Pens. Bk. G. Inn i. 78, 146, 162, 192, 195; HMC 13th Rep. IV, 137, 146, 148, 151, 160, 187; APC, xix. 5, 7, 9, 208-9; Romney borough recs.; PCC 115 Skinner.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: R.C.G.