ASHBURNHAM, Thomas (by 1462-1523), of Guestling and Winchelsea, Suss. and London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1462, 2nd s. of Thomas Ashburnham of Ashburnham, Suss. by Elizabeth, da. of Henry Wanses. m. by 1483, Elizabeth, da. of John Dudley of Atherington, Suss., 2s. inc. John I 2da.3

Offices Held

Sheriff, Surr. and Suss. 1499-1500; jurat, Winchelsea 1508-d., mayor 1509-10, 1521-2; j.p. Suss. 1511; commr. musters 1512, subsidy 1514.4


Thomas Ashburnham seems to have made no mark during his elder brother’s life, and his marriage to a sister of Edmund Dudley did little to promote his career unless it favoured his choice as sheriff in 1499. He was the recipient of a letter from his brother-in-law as Henry VII lay dying, but whether he was one of the armed men who rode to London in answer to Dudley’s call is not known. If Dudley’s fall threatened his career he survived that episode, and as mayor of Winchelsea he was returned to the first Parliament of Henry VIII’s reign which attainted Dudley. He sued out a general pardon on 21 May 1510 and for the remaining 13 years of his life he was active in town and county administration. His re-election to Parliament in 1523 followed his second mayoralty and it was three days before the opening on 15 Apr. that he made his will. He may have been already a sick man, for the will was to be proved two-and-a-half months later during the second session, but if he made it as a precaution against the hazards of London he must have succumbed to one or other of them, as did his neighbour and colleague Edmund Franke; before doing so he may have assisted the passage of the bill enabling his kinsman George Guildford to make a new road at Hemsted in Kent. Ashburnham asked to be buried before the image of Our Lady in Guestling church, provided for his wife, children and servants, and appointed his wife, brother William, nephew John Ashburnham and son-in-law Walter Hendley executors and George Guildford supervisor. No trace of a by-election at Winchelsea has been found.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. Add. 34150, f. 135.
  • 2. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; Ibid. f. 136.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from marriage. Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 18-19. The pedigree given in Drummond, Noble Brit. Fams. i. wrongly ascribes the Member’s wife and children to his nephew and namesake.
  • 4. Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 141, 143-6, 182-6; Statutes, iii. 114; LP Hen. VIII, i.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, i; Winchelsea hundred ct. bk. 1, ff. 115, 126; PCC 10 Bodfelde.