DYER, Thomas (by 1504-65), of Sharpham and Weston, Som.
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Family and Education
b. by 1504, 1st s. of Alexander Dyer by his w., da. of one Walter or Walton. m. (1) by 1539, Frances (d. aft. Feb. 1553), da. of Thomas or John Darcy of Danbury, Essex, wid. of William Thornburgh of Canterbury, Kent, 1s. Edward 3da.; (2) Joan (d.1564), da. of Thomas, de jure 5th Lord Berkeley, wid. of Sir Nicholas Poyntz (d.1556) of Iron Acton, Glos., 3s. Kntd. 22 Feb. 1547.4
Groom of the chamber by 1525, sewer by Sept. 1532-j.p. Som. 1540-d.; commr. chantries, Dorset, Som. 1548, relief, Som. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; sheriff, Som. and Dorset 1559-60.5
Nothing has been discovered of Thomas Dyer’s life before he appears as a servant in the King’s household. He came of a Somerset gentle family but his ancestors are little more than names: he was second cousin to (Sir) James Dyer, the chief justice. An active official in the royal household until almost the end of the reign of Henry VIII, he went with the army to France in 1544, commanding a band of soldiers in the Boulogne garrison. From 1540 he was named to the Somerset bench.6
Dyer acquired, mostly during the 1530s and 40s a large estate in Somerset by regular purchases from the crown and others; in 1540 he leased the manor of Weston where he settled. He also appears to have bought property in Devon, Essex and Gloucestershire, although on some of this he may have been granting mortgages. He had useful connexions with Sir John Gates, whom he called ‘cousin’, with Sir Thomas Darcy, and with the Earls of Bedford and Huntingdon; to Huntingdon he loaned £1,000 in 1547.7
Dyer was well known at Bridgwater; in 1542 he tried to nominate a servant as customer there, and by 1547 he was receiving a fee of £5 from the townsmen. He was one of the town’s Members in all the Parliaments between 1545 and 1553 and probably again in 1555 when all the returns for Somerset are missing. His absence from both the Parliaments of 1554 when Bridgwater returned townsmen-Members may reflect the suspicion that he fell under of complicity in Wyatt’s rebellion. Of his part in the House all that is known is that he supported the opposition to the Marian regime in 1553 and 1555. Although not re-elected in 1558 he was in 1559 and remained active in local administration until his death at Weston on 14 June 1565. By his will made two months earlier he left most of his goods and lands to his eldest son and sole executor, Edward.8
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Roger Virgoe
- 1. Hatfield 207.
- 2. C219/282/6.
- 3. Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2.
- 4. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 33; J. Maclean, Mems. Poyntz Fam. 73-74; LP Hen. VIII, xiv; CPR, 1553, p. 162; PCC 22 Morrison.
- 5. Lansd. 1, f. 201; LP Hen. VIII, v, xv-xxi; CPR, 1548-9, p. 136; 1550-3, p. 396; 1553, pp. 359, 415.
- 6. LP Hen. VIII, xix.
- 7. Ibid. xiv-xx; CPR, 1553, p. 162; 1553-4, p. 489; 1555-7, p. 93; Som. Enrolled Deeds (Som. Rec. Soc. li), 2, 51, 54-55, 64-65, 69; Troubles conn. with the Prayer Bk. of 1549 (Cam. Soc. xxxvii), 27; LC4/187/277; E315/224, f. 440.
- 8. LP Hen. VIII, xvii; Bridgwater corps. ms 1445; Bodl. e Museo 17; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2; APC, iv. 402; Lansd. 7, ff. 177-80; C142/142/64; PCC 22 Morrison.