JERMYN, Thomas (1604-1659), of Rushbrooke, Suff. and Whitehall
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Family and Education
bap. 25 Mar. 1604, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Thomas Jermyn* and his 1st w. Catherine, da. of Sir William Killigrew I*; bro. of Henry* and Robert*.1 m. (settlement 4 Feb. 1629),2 Rebecca (bur. 27 Jan. 1694), da. and h. of William Rodway of London, Merchant Taylor, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. suc. fa. 1645. d. 11 Nov. 1659.3
Page, Prince Charles’s Household by 1623-1625,4 equerry to Chas. I by 1626-at least 1629;5 recvr. and surveyor of fines and amercements (jt.), Exch. from 1637;6 groom of bedchamber, Prince Charles’s Household 1638-at least 1644, treas. (jt.) from 1644.7
Freeman, Leicester, Leics. 1625;8 capt. militia ft. Suff. by 1632;9 kpr. hare warren, Hampton Court palace, Mdx. 1635;10 commr. inquiry, Bury St. Edmunds canal, Suff. 1636,11 dep. lt. Suff. by 1639,12 j.p. by 1640,13 commr. subsidy 1641-2,14 array 1642;15 kpr. Oatlands palace, Surr. from 1642;16 commr. inquiry into treasonable acts, Jersey 1644.17
Jermyn was born at Hanworth, Middlesex, the country seat of his grandfather, the courtier Sir William Killigrew. He presumably grew up on the fringes of the Court, where his family was also represented by his father, Sir Thomas, a gentleman of the privy chamber, his uncle Sir Robert Killigrew*, and his cousin by marriage, (Sir) Humphrey May*.18 By 1623 Jermyn had become a page to Prince Charles, and in April that year he was sent on the king’s orders to attend the prince in Madrid.19
Despite being under age when the 1624 Parliament was summoned, Jermyn was returned at Bere Alston, on the interest of the 1st Lord Mountjoy. He was probably recommended by his kinsman May, who had formerly served Mountjoy’s father (Charles Blount†).20 Jermyn made little immediate impact on the Commons; nominated only to the committee for the bill to relieve the London Felt-makers (30 April), he failed to attend its meetings.21 Nevertheless, he continued to benefit from May’s electoral patronage, representing duchy of Lancaster boroughs in the next three Parliaments. Indeed, at Leicester in 1625 and Lancaster the following year, he filled vacancies created when May opted to sit elsewhere. Elected in 1625 during the parliamentary recess, he took his seat at Oxford on 4 Aug. but left no further trace on that sitting’s records.22
In 1626 Jermyn briefly took centre stage in the Commons. By now one of Charles I’s equerries, he naturally resisted the impeachment of the duke of Buckingham. On 27 Apr. he acted as teller for the noes in the vote on whether to charge the duke with administering dangerous remedies to James I during the latter’s final illness. The House opted to persist with this contentious claim, but when it was presented before the Lords on 8 May, Sir Dudley Digges’s clumsy rhetoric seemed to imply that Buckingham had deliberately hastened the old king’s death, possibly even with Charles’s agreement. Digges was promptly arrested, but the Commons responded to this flagrant breach of its privileges by requiring all Members to declare that Digges had not in fact uttered the offending words. This development placed Jermyn in a quandary, and on 16 May he offered only a qualified protestation, asserting that although he had not personally witnessed Digges making the alleged remarks, he had heard them ‘from such that he cannot but believe that [Digges] spoke them’. This ill-judged show of support for Buckingham immediately backfired, as Jermyn was forced to admit that he was expressing the confidential views of the king’s immediate circle. As Digges had just been released again, and Charles was desperately trying to save face, Jermyn’s timing could scarcely have been worse. On the following day he informed the House, ‘(the king having given him leave), that the words he heard from the king himself, who since has found that he was misinformed’. After this spectacular faux pas, Jermyn understandably held his tongue for the remainder of the session.23 He sat for Clitheroe in 1628-9, but again remained silent. However, either he or his brother Henry was added on 3 June 1628 to the committee to consider a petition from the puritan printer, Michael Sparkes.24
Jermyn’s marriage to a wealthy heiress in 1629 brought him almost £5,000, but his father’s chronic indebtedness obliged him to pursue additional sources of income during the following decade.25 Exploiting their Court connections, he and his brother Henry obtained the reversions to five administrative offices between 1632 and 1639, ranging from the surveyorship of petty customs in London to the clerkship of the pipe in the Exchequer. However, none of these grants seems to have fallen in, and Jermyn apparently gained little benefit from another office created specially for him in 1637, the receivership of fines and amercements due for unjust claims in the Exchequer.26 He was scarcely more successful in his pursuit of advancement at Court. Although presumably still a royal equerry, Jermyn failed to become a groom of the king’s bedchamber in 1634, though he was partially compensated four years later with the equivalent post in Prince Charles’s Household.27
Jermyn sat for Bury St. Edmunds in the Long Parliament, but joined the king as the Civil War approached. Officially discharged from the Commons in September 1643, he attended the Oxford Parliament four months later.28 In the following year he succeeded to his patrimony, which was ostensibly worth £1,980 a year. However, all his lands were mortgaged, and he went into exile. He was still abroad when he petitioned to compound for his sequestered estates in November 1648, pleading debts in excess of £16,000, some of which he bore jointly with his brother Henry. His composition fine was finally set in January 1651 at £2,800.29 Jermyn made his will on 9 Nov. 1659, and died two days later. At his own request, he was buried in the chancel of Rushbrooke church. His widow later married Henry Brouncker†. Jermyn’s son Thomas represented Bury St. Edmunds in the Exclusion Parliaments as a Court supporter.30
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: John. P. Ferris / Paul Hunneyball
- 1. D. Lysons, Mdx. Parishes, 98; S.H.A. Hervey, Rushbrook Par. Regs. 237.
- 2. SP23/217, p. 759.
- 3. Hervey, 56-7, 63, 247-8; PROB 11/148, f. 377.
- 4. HMC 3rd Rep. 284; LC2/6, f. 75v.
- 5. E179/70/136; SP16/154/77.
- 6. Cal. Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv), 201.
- 7. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, ii. 167; Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 393-4.
- 8. Leics. RO, BR2/18/15/558.
- 9. Add. 39245, f. 157v.
- 10. CSP Dom. 1635, p. 576.
- 11. PC2/45, p. 435.
- 12. Add. 15084, f. 4.
- 13. C66/2858.
- 14. SR, v. 66, 89, 156.
- 15. Northants. RO, FH133.
- 16. CSP Dom. 1641-3, p. 292.
- 17. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6, pp. 227, 231-2.
- 18. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 270; Vis. Suff. ed. Howard, i. 295-6.
- 19. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 488; SP14/139/46.
- 20. J.J. Alexander, ‘Bere Alston as a Parl. Borough’, Reps. and Trans. Devon Assoc. xli. 153.
- 21. CJ, i. 695a; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 203.
- 22. OR; Procs. 1625, p. 385.
- 23. Procs. 1626, iii. 84, 265-6, 269.
- 24. CD 1628, iv. 59.
- 25. M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 236.
- 26. Cal. Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 184, 195, 198, 201, 203, 206, 209; T. Rymer, Foedera, ix. pt. 2, p. 205; G.E. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 97; CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 82.
- 27. Strafforde Letters, i. 242.
- 28. Keeler, 236; CJ, iii. 241b; Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, v. 574.
- 29. SP23/217, pp. 759-61, 764, 801-4.
- 30. PROB 11/307, f. 48r-v; Hervey, 57, 63; HP Commons, 1660-90, ii. 651.