WEST, Thomas II (c.1550-1602), of Offington, Suss. and Wherwell, Hants.

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.1550, 1st s. of William West, 1st Baron Delaware by Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Strange of Chesterton, Glos. m. 1571, Anne, da. of Sir Francis Knollys of Rotherfield Greys, Oxon., 6s. inc. Robert and Thomas III 6da. Kntd. 1587; suc. fa. as and Baron Delaware 1595.

Offices Held

J.p. Hants from 1582, Suss. from 1596; chamberlain of the Exchequer from 1590, warden of the forests of Woolmer and Alice Holt 1595-d.[footnote]


The Wests had settled in Sussex during the middle ages, and had acquired by the beginning of the sixteenth century, principally through marriage, a considerable amount of property in the county, including two large houses at Offington and Halnaker. In 1540, with the acquisition of the estates formerly belonging to the monastery of Wherwell, the family interests spread into Hampshire. Offington and Wherwell were henceforth their principal residences and no doubt they resided for part of the year in each; West’s father, for example, one of the three lords lieutenants for Sussex in 1569 and 1570, died at Wherwell.

West was in the Low Countries with Leicester and was knighted by him at Flushing, and it was probably through the influence of West’s father-in-law Knollys with the 2nd Earl of Bedford that West was returned for East Looe in 1571, the assumption being that this was not his uncle and namesake. Which of the two Thomas Wests was the Chichester MP in 1571 is likewise doubtful. In 1586 it was his relation Sir George Carey, captain of the Isle of Wight, who secured the nephew’s return for Yarmouth; and yet another relation provided him with a seat in 1593. Thomas Tasburgh the third husband of West’s sister, Jane, was by a former marriage the stepfather of the owner of the borough of Aylesbury, Sir John Pakington, and thus had some influence in the choice of Members. In 1593 West served on committees considering the subsidy (26 Feb., 3 Mar.), recusants (28 Feb.), naturalization bills (5, 6 Mar.), the poor law (12 Mar.) and law reform (4 Apr.).[footnote]

Richard Blount II, another of West’s brothers-in-law, was also a Member of the 1593 Parliament. He was involved in the preliminary stages of Peter Wentworth’s attempt to raise the succession question, but on West’s advice refused to meddle in it after a first meeting with Wentworth and others. Blount inclined towards puritanism, but West’s other brother-in-law, Thomas Tasburgh, with whom he was on close terms, was, with his wife Jane, West’s sister, accused of being a Catholic in 1594. While Jane (like her second husband) was a Catholic both before and after Tasburgh’s death, Tasburgh’s own protestantism is beyond doubt. When West (now Lord Delaware) and his son Thomas III set out with Essex in 1599 for Ireland, Tasburgh accompanied them. There is no evidence that West himself went as far as Ireland, nor was he involved in the Essex rising. As a peer he took part in the trials of both Essex and Southampton. West’s estates were not extensive enough to support the dignity of a peer, and he suffered financially from his heir’s extended travels and involvement in the Essex rebellion. He died intestate 25 Mar. 1602.[footnote]

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière