BLENNERHASSETT, Thomas (c.1555-1637), of Carlisle, Cumb.

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.1555,1 1st s. of Richard Blennerhassett of Carlisle and w. Dorothy. m. by 1580, Mabel, s.p.2 suc. fa. 1571.3 d. 1637.4 sig. Thomas Blinerhasset.

Offices Held

Mayor, Carlisle 1596-7, 1600-1, 1606-7, 1619-20, 1624-5;5 j.p. Cumb. by 1614-18, 1619-25, 1626-9;6 commr. border malefactors 1618, 1619.7


Blennerhassett’s father, a Catholic, was the younger son of a minor gentry family that had first provided a Member for Carlisle in 1381.8 Blennerhassett himself inherited a quarter share of Great Orton manor in Cumberland, but sold out in 1580 and became a resident of Carlisle, which he represented in two Elizabethan Parliaments.9 He was returned again in 1604, but played no discernable part in the proceedings of the first Jacobean Parliament. He seems to have been on friendly terms with Lord William Howard of Naworth, sending him a present of larks and winning 10s. from ‘my lady’ at backgammon.10 He became a county magistrate, and in 1619 a townsman was fined 6s. 8d. for calling him a liar.11 He sold his interest in the demesnes of Irthington to Howard for £30 in 1625, and seems to have fallen into poverty in his old age, though he was still listed among the corporation when Carlisle received a new charter in 1637.12 By this time he was ‘sick of body’, and on 10 May he drew up his will, in which he left £6 13s. 4d. to his kinsman William Barwicke* ‘in respect of ancient goodwill betwixt him and me, and in respect of some debts which I owe him’. He wished to bequeath £20 to his three faithful servants, but lacked the means, and hoped that Howard, as his executor, would recompense them for their long service.13 Nothing more is known of his family or descendants.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. E134/11Jas.I/Trin. 2.
  • 2. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xl. 47-8.
  • 3. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), will of Richard Blennerhassett, 1571.
  • 4. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), will of Thomas Blennerhassett, 1637.
  • 5. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), Ca/21/1; D/MH1, f. 310.
  • 6. C231/4, ff. 75, 79, 212.
  • 7. T. Rymer, Foedera, vii. pt. 3, pp. 38, 97.
  • 8. J.A. Hilton, ‘Cumbrian Catholics’, NH, xvi. 44; R.C. Hudleston, Cumb. Fams. and Heraldry (Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. extra ser. xxiii), 28.
  • 9. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. xxxii. 53, n.s. xl. 63.
  • 10. Naworth Household Bks. ed. G. Ornsby (Surtees Soc. lxviii), 31, 141, 214, 225.
  • 11. Mun. Recs. Carlisle ed. R.S. Ferguson (Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. extra ser. iv), 277.
  • 12. Mun. Recs. Carlisle, 13.
  • 13. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), will of Thomas Blennerhassett, 1637.