MORLEY, Thomas (1513-59), of Glynde, Suss.

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



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. May/Aug. 1513, o. s. of Thomas Morley of Glynde by 2nd w. Catherine, da. of Thomas Pelham of Laughton. m. by 1530, Elizabeth, da. of Anthony Maycott of Reculver, Kent, 6s. inc. William at least 3da. suc. gd.-fa. 25 Apr. 1516.1

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Suss. 1555; j.p. 1558/59.2


Of Lancashire origin, the Morley family settled in Sussex after the marriage of Nicholas Morley (d.1472/74) to one of the daughters and coheirs of Sir John Walleys of Glynde. On his grandfather Robert Morley’s death in 1516 Thomas Morley inherited lands which had been entrusted to Richard Sackville amongst others, and when he grew up he had to sue for them in Chancery against both Sackville’s son John Sackville I and John Thatcher, probably an agent in the matter.3

This contentious beginning may have delayed the start of Morley’s career, but it was evidently to Sir Nicholas Pelham, his own first cousin and John Sackville’s son-in-law, that he owed his return for Arundel to the Parliament of March 1553: Pelham, from whom Morley held much of his property, was a client of the borough’s patron, the 12th Earl of Arundel, and had preceded Morley as one of its Members. Unlike his fellow-Member Thomas Palmer, Morley seems to have been a Protestant and he was to join Pelham in a gesture of opposition to the Marian government in the spring and summer of 1558. After Morley had first refused to pay his contribution to the loan in May, he and Pelham were called before the Council in July for failing to supply demi-lances; they suffered a few days confinement in the Tower before submitting.4

Moreley had added little to his inheritance although he was active in the Sussex iron industry, owning a large mill and furnace at Mayfield and trading through Portsmouth and elsewhere; his second son Anthony was to make an unsuccessful attempt to manufacture iron at Llanwonno and Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire. By his will of 9 Jan. 1559, which he made on the day he died and was buried in Glynde church, probably a victim of the prevailing epidemic, Morley made careful provision for his wife and children, leaving £10 a year to Anthony for three years ‘to find him at the inns of court’ and instructing his eldest son and executor William, then aged 28, to see to the education of three other sons until they reached 20. He named Sir Nicholas Pelham overseer.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at grandfather’s death, Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv. 164. Comber, Suss. Genealogies (Lewes), 189-92.
  • 2. CPR. 1554-5, p. 111.
  • 3. J. E. Mousley, ‘Suss. country gentry in the reign of Eliz.’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1956), 621; Suss. Arch. Colls. xx. 59; PCC 23 Holder; C1/854/50, 1029/59-61.
  • 4. Suss. Rec. Soc. iii. 4-5; R. B. Manning, Rel. and Soc. in Eliz. Suss. 242, 264 and n; SP11/13/2; APC, vi. 354, 358, 363-4.
  • 5. PCC 34 Chaynay; Suss. Rec. Soc. iii. 4-5; xxx. 1.