CLENCH, Thomas (c.1557-1624), of Holbrooke, Suff. and Lincoln's Inn, London

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.1557, 1st s. of John Clench of Holbrooke, j.q.b. 1584-1602, and Katharine, da. and coh. of Thomas Almott of Creeting All Saints, Suff. educ. L. Inn 1575, called 1584. m. (1) Margery (d. 2 July 1597), da. of John Barker†, merchant, of Ipswich, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da.; (2) 6 July 1601, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Thomas Revesby of Lavenham, Suff. wid. of Henry Wingfield of Crowfield, Suff. s.p.; (3) c.1609, Anne (d. 2 Aug. 1626), da. of John Burd of Denston, Suff. customer of London, wid. of Sir Anthony Wingfield† of Goodwins Hoo, Suff., s.p. suc. fa. 1607.1 bur. 10 Nov. 1624.2

Offices Held

Reader, Furnival’s Inn, 1600.3

J.p. Suff. by c.1609-d.;4 commr. sewers, Suff. 1609-20, Essex and Suff. 1617, piracy, Suff. 1612;5 sheriff, Suff. 1615-16;6 commr. inquiry, Katherine Blaker, alien, Ipswich, Suff. 1618,7 subsidy, Suff. 1621-2, 1624;8 dep. lt. Suff. 1623-d.9


Clench’s father, a lawyer from Essex, married into a Suffolk family and bought the manor of Holbrook, five-and-a-half miles south of Ipswich, in 1589.10 Clench strengthened his ties with that town when he married the daughter of John Barker, a prominent merchant who represented the borough three times under Elizabeth.11 This probably stood him in good stead at the 1620 county election, held at Ipswich, when he defeated Sir Lionel Tollemache*.12

Clench was appointed to nine committees in the third Jacobean Parliament. On 27 Feb. 1621 he was the first Member named to consider the lighthouses bill.13 On 24 Apr., after telling the House, in his only recorded speech, that ‘above 3,000 men upon the coast of Suffolk’ earned their livelihood from fishing, he was named to the committee on the bill for the preservation of fry.14 Evidently interested in the cloth industry, he attended an undated meeting of the committee for the bill for the true making of woollen cloth, to which he had been appointed on 21 March.15 He delivered a petition about textiles on 5 May, and a week later was appointed to the committee on the bill for the better manufacture of perpetuanas, one of the ‘new draperies’ manufactured along the border between Suffolk and Essex.16 On 29 Nov. it was asserted by Sir Robert Phelips* that one of those involved in the conspiracy against Sir Edward Coke* had confessed to Clench.17 However, there is no evidence that he corroborated Phelips’ assertion, and he left no further trace on the records of the second sitting.

After the prorogation Clench stayed with his son-in-law Henry Byng*. In January 1622 one of Byng’s servants was alleged to have predicted that there would be a rebellion over Coke’s arrest, and was racked to discover whether he had heard anything of the sort from his master’s guests. Nothing was elicited from him, and there is no evidence that Clench suffered as a result of the incident.18 Poor health may have prevented him from standing again in 1624, when he presumably gave his support to his son-in-law, Sir Roger North*. He drew up his will on 5 Nov. 1624, ‘sick in body’, in which he bequeathed rings to North and his wife, and was buried at Holbrooke five days later. No other member of his family entered Parliament.19

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. W.A. Copinger, Manors of Suff. ii. 289; vi. 66; LI Admiss.; LI Black Bks. i. 434; Vis Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 124-5; Muns. of Ancient Saxon Fam. of Wingfield comp. M.E. Wingfield, Visct. Powerscourt, 4, 5.
  • 2. Add. 19105, f. 58.
  • 3. Readers and Readings in Inns of Ct. and Chancery ed. J.H. Baker (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. xiii), 204.
  • 4. C66/1822; 66/2310.
  • 5. C181/2, ff. 95, 174v, 272.
  • 6. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 132.
  • 7. C181/2, f. 308v.
  • 8. C212/22/20-1, 23.
  • 9. HMC 13th Rep. IV, 441; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 436.
  • 10. Copinger, vi. 65.
  • 11. HP Commons, 1558-1603, i. 393-4.
  • 12. Bodl. Tanner, 283, f. 174.
  • 13. CJ, i. 529b.
  • 14. Ibid. 588a-b.
  • 15. Ibid. 565b; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 186.
  • 16. CJ, i. 609a; VCH Suff. ii. 267.
  • 17. CD 1621, ii. 473.
  • 18. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, ii. 284-5.
  • 19. PROB 11/145, f. 382-v; Frag. Gen. xii. 126.