KENT, Thomas (1590-1656), of Winsley and Devizes, Wilts.

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

bap. 27 Oct. 1590,1 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John Kent* of Devizes and Mary, da. of Thomas Wyatt of Calne, Wilts.2 m. (1) 8 June 1612,3 Katherine (bur. 25 Jan. 1623), da. of Thomas Reade of Bradford, minister, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da.; (2) by 1625, Margaret (bur. 2 Jan. 1656), 2s. 4da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1630.4 d. 1656.5 sig. Thomas Kent.

Offices Held

Burgess, Devizes 1617, member of the Twelve 1622, common councilman 1625-c.1640,6 mayor 1626, 1632, 1639,7 steward of ct. of record (jt.) 1626-9, (sole) 1629-c.1640.8


The second son of Devizes’ town clerk, Kent followed his father into municipal government after the death of his older brother in 1612.9 That year he was nominated to help oversee the distribution of the borough’s municipal charities.10 Elected a minor burgess in October 1617, he progressed to the council in 1625, and the following year was made mayor and a borough magistrate. He also became steward of the borough courts, acting jointly with his father until 1629, when the latter retired. Elected to Parliament in 1628, he played no recorded part in either of its sessions, but received £15 from the corporation for his expenses and services.11

In 1630 Kent briefly took charge of the £160 capital that had been held by his father, before releasing it to the newly elected town clerk.12 The following year he was named one of seven overseers of Robert Hyde’s* bequest, which had been established to support the town’s leathersellers.13 He is not recorded in the municipal records after 1640. He apparently continued to live in Devizes but nothing has been discovered of his later years. A town map of 1655 shows him owning four grounds adjacent to the town’s castle.14 Kent’s second wife was buried in St. John’s church in January 1656, and Kent himself died later the same year. As there is no mention of his burial in the Devizes parish records he perhaps died in Winsley, west of Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, where he had inherited the reversion of the manor house from his father.15 No will or letters of administration have been found.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Henry Lancaster / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Wilts. RO, 1597/1, f. 6v.
  • 2. Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv-cvi), 47.
  • 3. Wilts. RO, 883/1, unfol.
  • 4. PROB 11/159, ff. 204-6v.
  • 5. Wilts. Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. Lib. Devizes, Kite, Wilts. Peds. ii. 246; Wilts. RO, 1597/1, f. 32; 1597/2, unfol.
  • 6. Wilts. RO, G20/1/16, f. 296v; G20/1/17, ff. 6v, 35.
  • 7. Wilts. RO, G20/1/17, ff. 42, 93v; C231/5, f. 345.
  • 8. Wilts. RO, G20/1/17, ff. 36, 65v, 82.
  • 9. Kite, Wilts. Peds. ii. 246.
  • 10. Wilts. RO, 632/50. The document is misdated to 1602.
  • 11. Wilts. RO, G20/1/7, ff. 61, 69v.
  • 12. Wilts. RO, G20/1/17, f. 72.
  • 13. VCH Wilts. x. 311; Wilts. RO, G20/1/17, f. 83v.
  • 14. Kite, 246.
  • 15. PROB 11/159, f. 206.