THOROWGOOD, John (1588-1657), of Brewer's Lane, Charing Cross, Westminster; later of Billingbear, Berks. and Clerkenwell, Mdx.

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. 12 July 1588, 1st s. of John Thorowgood (d.1599), cllr. at law, of Hoddesdon, Herts. and the M. Temple, London and Jane, da. of William Wroth, Mercer, of London and Standon, Herts.1 educ. M. Temple 1608;2 travelled abroad (France, Italy); academy, Angers 1615.3 m. aft. 29 June 1629, Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Smythe I* of Westenhanger, Kent, wid. of Sir Henry Neville III* of Billingbear, 1s. d.v.p.4 suc. grandfa. 1602;5 kntd. 4 Sept. 1630.6 bur. 31 Jan. 1657.7

Offices Held

Sec. to William Herbert, 3rd earl of Pembroke c.1621-30.8

J.p. Berks. 1632-6, from 1637, 1650-3, Wilts. 1632-6, from 1642,9 commr. array, Berks. 1642,10 assessment 1649-50,11 Mdx. and Westminster 1649-52.12


The name Thorowgood is of Hertfordshire origin, and in the form Thurgood can be traced back in Hoddesdon to the middle of the thirteenth century. Thorowgood must be distinguished from Sir John Thorowgood† (c.1595-1675) of Kensington, Middlesex, who was a gentleman pensioner to Charles I, senior trustee for the maintenance of ministers during the Interregnum, and author of The King of Terrors Silenced (1665).13 Thorowgood’s great-grandfather was granted arms in 1573, affirming his status as a landowner, but much of the family’s property seems to have passed through the female line to Marmaduke Rawdon*. Although Thorowgood himself was admitted to the Middle Temple like his father before him, he did not complete his legal studies, preferring to round off his education with the foreign travel appropriate for a gentleman. In about 1621 he succeeded Edward Leech* as secretary to the earl of Pembroke, and in 1623 he tried to obtain through his master a reversion to the revels office which ultimately went to another member of Pembroke’s circle, Sir Henry Herbert*.14

Thorowgood was returned for Shaftesbury on Pembroke’s interest at every election from 1624 to 1628. He was also provided by the earl with a seat at Derby in 1626, and opted on 9 Feb. for the latter borough, thereby clearing the way for Samuel Turner* to replace him at Shaftesbury. In that year he notified William Coryton* of Pembroke’s wishes concerning his electoral patronage in Cornwall. However, he left no other trace on the records of Parliament itself.15

Together with Sir Thomas Morgan*, Thorowgood took possession of Moor Park, Hertfordshire as Pembroke’s trustee in 1628, and he was knighted there a few months after his employer’s death. About this time he married the widow of another of Pembroke’s followers, Sir Henry Neville III, and settled in Berkshire. In 1635 he acquired a Bedfordshire manor on mortgage from the 1st earl of Cleveland, while by 1649 he had purchased part of St. John’s hospital in Clerkenwell. He presumably supported Parliament in the Civil War, for he held local office under the Commonwealth.16

Thorowgood made his will on 20 Jan. 1657. To his stepson, the republican Henry Neville†, he left a brass statue representing a Roman fencer, and all his French and Italian books. A family portrait of his ‘grandfather Wroth’ was to pass to his brother William Thorowgood, while his godson Henry Wright† was bequeathed a painting ‘wherein is represented a kettle, a basket with bread and cheese, cakes, cabbages, plates and other things; also a picture wherein is represented a man holding of a fox, a swan, and other things’. A robe of satin bordered with silver was assigned to Sir Benjamin Rudyard*, another of Pembroke’s former followers. Mourning rings were bestowed impartially on Thomas Chaloner†, the regicide, and Richard Aldworth† the royalist conspirator. His neighbour Josiah Berners†, one of the outstanding officials of the Interregnum, attended his death-bed, but declined to act as his executor. Thorowgood died a few days later, and was buried in the chancel of St. James, Clerkenwell on 31 Jan., though his request for a monument there was not honoured. No other member of this branch of the family entered Parliament.17

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. St. Peter Cornhill (Harl. Soc. Reg. i), 32, 236; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. xvii), 373-4; MTR, 230, 393, 501.
  • 2. M. Temple Admiss.
  • 3. C2/Jas.I/T5/49; ‘Les Gentilshommes Étrangers à l’Académie d’Équitation d’Angers’, Revue d’Anjou, xxvi. 15.
  • 4. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 250; Ashmole, Berks. ii. 437.
  • 5. J.A. Tregelles, Hoddesdon, 160.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 198.
  • 7. St. James Clerkenwell (Harl. Soc. Reg. xvii), 313.
  • 8. CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, p. 113.
  • 9. C231/5, pp. 85, 247, 329; Names of JPs in Eng. and Wales (1650), p. 4; C193/13/4.
  • 10. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 11. A. and O. ii. 293, 461.
  • 12. Ibid. 119, 303, 471-2, 668-9.
  • 13. Tregelles, 159; G.E. Aylmer, State’s Servants, 267-70.
  • 14. Tregelles, 144; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 503; SIR HENRY HERBERT.
  • 15. V.A. Rowe, ‘Influence of the Earls of Pembroke on Parl. Elections’, EHR, l. 248; Glover, Derbys. 606; Procs. 1626, ii. 7; N and Q (ser. 4), x. 325.
  • 16. R. Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 187; VCH Beds. iii. 380; A. and O. ii. 119; PROB 11/265, f. 209v.
  • 17. PROB 11/265, ff. 209v-11; Aylmer, 210-13; St. James Clerkenwell, 313.