BECKINGHAM, Sir Thomas (c.1574-1633), of Tolleshunt Major, Essex

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1574, 1st s. of Thomas Beckingham of Tolleshunt Major and Mary, da. of Thomas Hill of Derby, Derbys.1 educ. St. John’s, Oxf. 1590, aged 16; L. Inn 1593.2 m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Waldegrave† of Smallbridge, nr. Sudbury, Suff., 1s. d.v.p. 1da.; (2) settlement Feb. 1627, Katherine, da. of William Cotton of Panfield, Essex, wid. of Thomas Rivett* of Rattlesden, Suff., s.p. suc. fa. 1596; kntd. 5 Aug. 1603. d. 13 Sept. 1633.3

Offices Held

J.p. Essex 1601-3, 1609-13, 1616-26; capt. militia ft., Essex by 1607-11;4 commr. sewers, Essex 1607-18, repair of highways and bridges 1622,5 subsidy 1624.6


Beckingham came from a Wiltshire family, and his great-uncle John sat for Salisbury in 1553.7 His grandfather acquired the Essex manor of Tolleshunt Major from the Crown in 1543, and thereafter this property was sometimes known as Tolleshunt Beckingham.8 Beckingham himself doubtless owed his election to the first Stuart Parliament for Sudbury to his father-in-law, Sir William Waldegrave, whose family had been electoral patrons in the borough in the Elizabethan period.9 He was also a neighbour of the Darcy family, into which Thomas Eden I*, the other Member returned in 1604, had married.

Beckingham only appears once in the surviving records of the 1604 session, when he was licensed to depart the House for a month on 22 May.10 He played no recorded part in the second and third sessions, but received a committee appointment in the fourth, for the bill promoted by Sir John Wentworth of Gosfield in Essex (21 Mar. 1610).11 He left no trace on the sparse records of the fifth session.

In 1613 Beckingham was removed from the Essex bench and received a licence to travel for three years.12 Taken together, these facts suggest that he was heavily indebted. He may well have been out of the country when the 1614 Parliament was summoned, although even if he remained in England he would have found it hard to find a seat as the death of Waldegrave in the previous year deprived him of his connection with Sudbury.13 He temporarily regained his place on the bench in 1616, but had sold most of his estate to Christopher Clitherow* by 1620. He died on 13 Sept. 1633.14 His inquest post mortem mentions a will dated 22 June, which appointed his son-in-law, the religious controversialist Emmanuel Bourne, one his executors, but this document has not been found. Beckingham was succeeded by his grandson William, whose wardship was sold for £6 13s. 4d. No later member of the family is known to have sat in Parliament.15

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 149.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.
  • 3. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 122, 149; C142/513/22; Add. 19146, f. 293; Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 128.
  • 4. C231/1, ff. 126v, 152; 231/4, f. 14; Cal. Assize Recs. Essex Indictments, Eliz. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 538; Cal. Assize Recs. Essex Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 25, 60, 121, 141, 184, 253; Maynard Ltcy. Bk. ed. B. Quintrell, 12, 15, 346.
  • 5. C181/2, f. 32; 318v; 181/3, f. 68v.
  • 6. C212/22/23.
  • 7. HP Commons, 1509-58, i. 408.
  • 8. Morant, Essex, i. 389-91.
  • 9. HP Commons, 1558-1603, i. 250.
  • 10. CJ, i. 977b.
  • 11. Ibid. 413b.
  • 12. SO3/5, unfol. (May 1613).
  • 13. HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 564.
  • 14. C2/Chas.I/B45/51.
  • 15. C142/513/22; WARD 9/163, f. 71v.