MACHEN, Thomas (c.1540-1614), of St. Oswalds, Gloucester, Glos.

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.1540,1 1st s. of Henry Machen of Gloucester and Elizabeth, da. of one Baugh.2 m. c.1564 (with £100), Christian (d. 29 June 1615), da. of Walter Barston of Nether Swell, Glos., 7s. (5 d.v.p.) 6da. (3 d.v.p.).3 suc. fa. 1567.4 d. 18 Oct. 1614.5 sig. Tho[mas] Machen

Offices Held

Common councilman, Gloucester 1567,6 sheriff 1572-3, 1576-7,7 alderman 1574-d.,8 mayor 1579-80, 1588-9, 1601-2,9 dep. lt. 1587-at least 1612,10 master, St. Mary Magdalene hosp. 1603-d.,11 dep. mayor 1604,12 commr. subsidy 1604.13


Machen, the son of an alderman, inherited property at Gloucester and Tewkesbury.14 A mercer, he also engaged in the wheat and malt trade,15 and was able to purchase the manor of Condicote, near his wife’s home.16 In 1604 he was one of the candidates approved by the corporation but was defeated by John Jones. In one of the Star Chamber actions which followed he was accused of improperly persuading his fellow-commissioners to reduce his subsidy rating some six weeks after the election from £20 in goods to £10 in lands. It was alleged he was ‘as rich an alderman as any in Gloucester’, with a yearly income of £400 and between £5,000 and £10,000 ‘in money and other his personal goods and chattels’. He was obliged to admit that one of his three colleagues was his son-in-law and another his uncle, but refused to give details of his estate, protesting only that he had ‘departed with a great part of his substance’ in marrying four daughters.17

In 1614 Machen himself seems to have defeated a corporation candidate.18 He left no mark on the records of the Addled Parliament, and did not long survive it. He was already ill when he made his will on 9 September 1614. He had settled his farm of Crickley in Badgeworth on his wife, with remainder to his eldest son and his grandson, but he was able to provide other lands and £2,500 for his two surviving younger sons. He left £100 to the corporation, to be put out at interest every five years to ‘four poor honest tradesmen that are mercers’, largely for the benefit of 13 poor men and women ‘now newly by me placed and hereafter to be placed in their stead as poor almspeople in the hospital or house of St. Mary Magdalene near the city of Gloucester’.19 He was buried in the cathedral,20 and his widow bequeathed £100 for a monument.21 No later member of the family sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. S. Rudder, New Hist. of Glos. 177.
  • 2. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 106-7.
  • 3. Rudder, 177; Glos. RO, will of Walter Barston, 1557/510; PROB 11/124, ff. 460v-2.
  • 4. C142/146/136.
  • 5. Rudder, 177.
  • 6. Glos. RO, GBR B3/1, f. 18.
  • 7. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 185.
  • 8. Glos. RO, GBR B2/1, f. 32.
  • 9. T.D. Fosbrooke, Original Hist. of City of Gloucester, 209.
  • 10. CPR 29 Eliz. (1586-7) ed. L.J. Wilkinson (L. and I. Soc. ccxcv), 189; SP14/68/34.
  • 11. Glos. RO, GBR B3/1, f. 198.
  • 12. STAC 8/228/30.
  • 13. STAC 8/4/9.
  • 14. PROB 11/49, f. 111v.
  • 15. P. Clark, ‘"The Ramoth-Gilead of the Good": Urban Change and Political Radicalism at Gloucester 1540-1640’, Eng. Commonwealth 1547-1640 ed. P. Clark, A.G.R. Smith and N. Tyacke, 172.
  • 16. VCH Glos. vi. 66.
  • 17. STAC 8/4/9.
  • 18. Glos. RO, GBR B3/1, f. 253v.
  • 19. PROB 11/124, ff. 460v-2
  • 20. Rudder, 177.
  • 21. PROB 11/126, ff. 298v-9.