WARCOP, Thomas (d.c.1589), of Smardale, Westmld.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

1st s. of John Warcop of Smardale by Anne, da. of Geoffrey Lancaster of ‘Crake Trees’. m. Anne, da. of Rowland Thornborough of Hampsfield, Lancs., 2da. suc. fa. 1561/2.1

Offices Held

Esquire of the body in 1546; gent. pens. 1550/2-d.; gov. Kirkby Stephen g.s. 1565; capt. Carlisle castle from 1568; j.p. Westmld. from c.1573, q. by 1580; commr. pirates’ goods Dec. 1588.2


Warcop retained his household appointment under Elizabeth, and was classified in 1564 as fit to serve as a justice and ‘very good in religion’, yet in 1570 he was described as ‘religionis inimicus’, perhaps a mistake, the bishop of Carlisle possibly confusing him with the Thomas Warcop who was executed in 1597 for harbouring priests. At any rate Warcop of Smardale was sent north with cash for the suppression of the rebellion of 1569, and was named by the 9th Lord Scrope of Bolton, whose friendship he enjoyed, as deserving of the Queen’s commendation. On 25 Feb. 1581 he was appointed to a committee concerned with the security and fortifications of the borders, and on 27 Feb. he was named to that concerned with a bill for Carlisle. As a shire knight he was appointed to subsidy committees on 24 Feb. 1585, 22 Feb. 1587 and 11 Feb. 1589. His nephew and ward, James Leyburn, was executed as a Catholic traitor in 1583.3

Warcop extended his property considerably during Elizabeth’s reign by obtaining leases from the Crown, chiefly in Yorkshire and Lancashire. He also purchased several wardships, though none was of special value. In 1574 he was granted a lease of lands worth £42, formerly belonging to Leonard Dacre. Two years later he and a Robert Warcop jointly leased crown lands in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Radnorshire. He also engaged in at least one commercial venture, obtaining in 1571 a licence to export grain for a period of two years. The first shipment, to La Rochelle in 1573, was expected to realise over £1,000, with which he intended to buy salt for resale in England, but the grain was intercepted by the French and confiscated. Faced with an estimated loss of £4,600 (including his expected profits), Warcop went to France to press for compensation, but although successive English ambassadors as well as the French ambassador intervened on his behalf, emphasizing Warcop’s position at court and the Queen’s interest in the case, it does not appear that he ever received full compensation.4

Warcop died 25 Mar. 1589, leaving no male heir. His Westmorland estate, comprising the manors of Smardale, Orton, Sandford, and Cliburn, passed to his daughters Frances, second wife of Sir John Dalston, and Agnes, wife of Talbot, second son of Sir George Bowes.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: B.D.


  • 1. Vis. Westmld. 1615, p. 10.
  • 2. Stowe 571, f. 31v; PRO Index 16772, f. 223v; CPR, 1563-6, p. 367; 1566-9, p. 200; CSP Dom. Add. 1580-1625, p. 290; APC, xvi. 385-6; PCC 21 Loftes.
  • 3. Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 51; Cath. Rec. Soc. xxii. 117; HMC Hatfield, i. 442; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, pp. 88, 148, 167; Border Pprs. i. 155; CJ, i. 129, 130; Lansd. 43, anon. jnl. f. 171; D’Ewes, 409, 431; CPR, 1560-3, p. 122; J. H. Pollen, Acts of Eng. Martyrs, 212-18; Strype, Annals, iv. 426.
  • 4. CPR, 1558-60, pp. 14, 327; 1560-3, p. 78; 1569-72, p. 177; Wards 9/369/167, 172, 375; PRO Index 16772, f. 338; 16774, f. 2; 6800, f. 116; Req. 2/74/69, 89/9, 166/191; HMC Hatfield, ii. 78, 132; HCA 13/20/36-49; CSP For. 1572-4, pp. 318, 467, 563; 1575-7, pp. 88 et passim; 1577-8, pp. 495, 509, 520; 1579-80, p. 15; 1581-2, pp. 513, 640; 1582, p. 87; 1585-6, p. 24; Correspondance Diplomatique de Bertrand de Salignac de la Mothe Fénélon, vi. 29, 143, 349-50, 374-5.
  • 5. C142/222/8; E407/1/19, ex inf. W. J. Tighe.