GLEMHAM, Sir Thomas (c.1598-c.1650), of Burwell, Lincs. and Glemham Hall, Little Glemham, Suff.

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.1598, 1st s. of Sir Henry Glemham* and Anne, da. of Thomas Sackville†, 1st earl of Dorset.1 educ. Trin., Oxf. 1610, DCL 1645; travelled abroad 1613-16.2 m. (1) 21 May 1619, with £4,000, Catherine (d.1627), da. of Sir Peter Vanlore, merchant, of Fenchurch Street, London, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da.; (2) 22 July 1630, Mary, da. of Thomas Perient of Birch, Essex, wid. of John Soame of Burnham-Westgate, Norf., s.p.3 kntd. 10 Sept. 1617;4 suc. fa. 1632, aged 33.5 d. by 13 Mar. 1650.6

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Suff. 1620-at least 1637, fens 1635, 1640-2,7 commr. subsidy, Aldeburgh, Suff. 1621-2, 1624, Suff. 1642;8 j.p. Suff. 1622-at least 1636,9 capt. militia ft. by 1626, col. 1628,10 commr. Forced Loan 1626-7,11 piracy 1627, 1640,12 dep. lt. 1628-at least 1639,13 commr. knighthood compositions 1631,14 gaol delivery, Etheldred liberty, Suff. 1632,15 navigation, Ouse, Suff., 1635,16 swans, Suff. and Essex 1635, oyer and terminer, Suff. 1640, Beds. 1640,17 array 1642,18 excise (roy.), Berks., Bucks., Northants., Oxon. and Warws. 1645, regulation, Berks., Bucks. and Oxon. 1646.19

Capt. of ft. 1627,20 lt.-col. 1639,21 col. 1640,22 col. (roy.) 1642-6, col.-gen. (roy.) Northumb. 1643-4;23 vol. Dutch army 1629;24 gov. of Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorks. 1640-1,25 York (roy.) 1642-3, 1644, Carlisle, Cumb. (roy.) 1644-5, Oxford, Oxon. (roy.) 1645-6.26

Member, Westminster Co. of Soapmakers by 1636.27

Gent. of the privy chamber extraordinary to Chas. I by 1641.28


Glemham’s father was a prominent member of the Suffolk gentry, while his mother was the daughter of lord treasurer Dorset. According to Wood, after finishing his education he ‘betook himself to the German Wars’, but this seems unlikely as his 1613 pass to travel for three years pre-dates the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War.29 On his return in 1616 he became the constant companion of his cousin, the 3rd earl of Dorset.30 Property in Lincolnshire, including the manor of Burwell, was settled on him at his marriage to the daughter of a wealthy London merchant in 1619.31

Glemham presumably owed his return for Reigate in 1621 to his friendship with Dorset, who was part owner of the manor. He left no trace on the records of the third Jacobean Parliament and is not known to have sought re-election in 1624. In 1625 and 1626 he was returned for Aldeburgh in Suffolk, where his father, a significant local figure, had previously sat.32 He made no recorded contribution to the proceedings of the first Caroline Parliament and the following year only appears once in the surviving parliamentary records, on 5 Apr., when his absence from the call of the House was excused on the grounds of his wife’s illness.33

Glemham failed to pay the 1626-7 Forced Loan, but was excused by the Suffolk commissioners on the grounds that, when the levy was initiated, he was still in London attending his wife in her last illness and that subsequently he had joined Buckingham’s expedition to the Ile de RĂ©.34 During the preparations for this expedition, in which he served as a captain of foot, Glemham helped his father press seamen for the Navy.35 Captured in the October retreat, he remained a prisoner until the following February, and on his way home he was briefly detained by Dunkirk privateers.36 In 1629 he served as a gentleman volunteer in Viscount Wimbledon’s (Sir Edward Cecil*) company at the siege of ’sHertogenbosch.37 According to Clarendon, on the death of his father in 1632 he succeeded to a ‘fair fortune’, which he subsequently dissipated.38 He invested £1,000 in the monopolistic Westminster Soap Company, but in 1639, two years after the Company had been dissolved, he complained that he was still owed substantial sums of money.39

In 1641, after serving in both the Bishops’ Wars, Glemham sold his Lincolnshire lands for £15,000, but continued his involvement in a fen-drainage scheme at Sutton.40 His loyalty to the king was proved in the Civil War, when he served as governor of Carlisle, whose garrison was reduced to a diet of cats and dogs. However, he was criticized by Clarendon for lacking a ‘stirring and active a nature’. He surrendered Oxford, which he thought still defensible, on the king’s orders in June 1646, and with his son, Sir Sackville, compounded for his estates at £951 15s. During the Second Civil War he helped to capture Carlisle, and then fled to Holland, where he died. He made his will on 22 Jan. 1648, which was proved by his brother Henry, subsequently Bishop of St. Asaph, on 13 Mar. 1650. His grandson, Thomas, the last of the family to sit in Parliament, was returned for Orford four times between 1681 and 1690.41

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / Ben Coates


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  • 2. Al. Ox.; APC, 1613-14, p. 199.
  • 3. R.W. Goulding, ‘Notes on the Lords of the Manor of Burwell’, Associated Architectural Socs. Reps. and Pprs. xxiv. 78; Add. 19132, f. 54; Clifford Diary ed. V. Sackville-West, 103; H.W. Billing Wayman, ‘Loans from Suff., 1627’, East Anglian, n.s. xiii. 7; Vis. Herts. (Harl. Soc. xxii), 157.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 166.
  • 5. Goulding, 78.
  • 6. PROB 11/211, f. 297.
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  • 8. C212/22/20-1, 23; SR, v. 156.
  • 9. C231/4, f. 142; SP16/405.
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  • 13. Add. 39245, f. 136v; Add. 15084, f. 4.
  • 14. E178/7198, f. 12.
  • 15. C181/4, f. 127.
  • 16. Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 1625-40 ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv-vii), 306.
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  • 18. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 19. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 277, 286.
  • 20. HMC Gawdy, 124.
  • 21. E351/292.
  • 22. E351/293.
  • 23. P.R. Newman, Roy. Officers in Eng. and Wales, 158.
  • 24. H. Hexham, Historical Relation of the Famous Siege of the Busse, (1630), unpag.
  • 25. HMC Var. ii. 258; CSP Dom. 1640-1, p. 364.
  • 26. Newman, 158
  • 27. C66/2788/10.
  • 28. LC3/1, unfol.
  • 29. A. Wood, Fasti Oxon. ii. 293.
  • 30. Clifford Diary, 39, 60, 61, 65, 76.
  • 31. Goulding, 78-9.
  • 32. CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 226.
  • 33. Procs. 1626, ii. 431.
  • 34. Billing Wayman, 7.
  • 35. Suff. RO (Ipswich), EE1/01/1, f. 32.
  • 36. CSP Dom. Addenda 1625-49, p. 232; 1627-8, p. 543; T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, i. 320.
  • 37. Hexham, unpag.
  • 38. Clarendon, Hist. of the Rebellion ed. W.D. Macray, ii. 286.
  • 39. C2/Chas.I/G36/8.
  • 40. Goulding, 79; HMC 5th Rep. 20.
  • 41. Oxford DNB; Clarendon, ii. 286; Newman, 158; CSP Dom. 1648-9, p. 50; CCC, 1579; PROB 11/211, f. 297.