SMITH, Thomas (-d.1632), of Sudbury, 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

o.s. of Thomas Smith, yeoman, of Sudbury and Philippa, da. of one Whiffen. m. (1) settlement 2 Aug. 1608, Elizabeth, wid. of Robert Bryant, yeoman, of Sudbury, 1s.; (2) Sarah, s.p. suc. fa. 1591. d. 10 July 1632.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Sudbury by 1600; capital burgess 1602, alderman by 1610-d.,2 mayor 1610-11, 1618-19, 1626-7.3


Smith’s father, though described as a mere yeoman in his will, owned several houses in Sudbury, and was elected mayor in 1588.4 Smith himself is regularly styled ‘gentleman’ in the borough records, which may indicate that he was an attorney. His property in the town was greatly increased by a fortunate marriage, and he purchased the manor of Belchamp Otten in Essex about 1623.5

Smith was elected for Sudbury in 1626, when Sir Robert Crane, who usually represented the borough in this period, was returned for the county. He was named to the committees for the bill to limit fees chargeable for outlawries (26 Mar.), to cancel ‘conveyances unconscionable gotten’ from a Cambridgeshire gentleman (29 Apr.), and to naturalize Sir Daniel Deligne, a Lincolnshire knight originally from Germany (9 May). He unsuccessfully tried to report the last measure on 11 May, but had better luck on 23 May, when it was ordered to be engrossed.6

In the supply debate of 27 Mar. Smith proposed that ‘we may give four subsidies and but one fifteenth’, but he may have subsequently regretted his support for the regressive fifteenth and on 26 Apr. he reminded the House of Charles’s statement that ‘he would not have burden lie on the poorer sort’. He also called for the addition of a further subsidy and proposed that recusants should pay double, as foreigners did. By the end of the session he was well enough known and respected in the House to be added, on 15 June, to the collectors of the usual Benevolence for the officers of the House.7

Smith was not re-elected in 1628, when Crane was again returned for the borough, and he died on 10 July 1632. He made provision for his mother’s kin, the Whiffens, to purchase his son’s wardship and confirmed an annuity of £30 for life to his second wife. He wished to be buried in the churchyard of St. Gregory’s, and left 10s. to the ‘minister’ of St. Peter’s for a funeral sermon. The family retained the manor and advowson of Belchamp Otten for another half century, but none of its members entered Parliament.8

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. PROB 11/78, f. 129; C142/481/35; Suff. RO (Bury St. Edmunds), Sudbury archdeaconry wills reg. 56, f. 146.
  • 2. Suff. RO (Bury St. Edmunds), Sudbury bor. ct. bk. 4, pp. 74, 135, 322; bk. 5, p. 350.
  • 3. E. Stokes and L. Redstone, ‘Cal. of Muns. of the Bor. of Sudbury’, Suff. Inst. Arch. Procs. xiii. 289, 291-2.
  • 4. PROB 11/78, f. 129; Stokes and Redstone, 285.
  • 5. Morant, Essex, ii. 333.
  • 6. Procs. 1626, ii. 158; iii. 97, 199, 232, 313; Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in Eng. and Ire. ed. W.A. Shaw (Huguenot Soc. of London xviii), 41.
  • 7. Procs. 1626, ii. 379; iii. 78-9, 448.
  • 8. Sudbury wills reg. 56, f. 146.