SAMWAYS, (SAMUYS), Thomas I (by 1523-53 or later), of Weymouth, Dorset.

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



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1523. m. prob. at least 1s.2

Offices Held

Subsidy collector, Weymouth 1545.3


Thomas Samways was probably a kinsman of Thomas Samways II of Melcombe Regis. In the musters of 1539 the Weymouth Samways, described as an archer, appeared with a bow, a sheaf of arrows and a harness, the Melcombe Samways with a bow and a sheaf of arrows. In July 1545 each was appointed subsidy collector in his own town; and in 1550 and again in 1552 Samways of Weymouth was assessed at £20 in goods to the other’s £10. One or other, or both, frequently exported and imported goods through Weymouth, which was also Melcombe’s outlet. In 1559 the necessity of sharing the port led to friction between the two towns, and the mayor of Melcombe, Owen Reynolds, complained in the Star Chamber against Thomas Samways and Henry Newman, at that time the bailiffs of Weymouth. It may have been the former Member who had to contest this case, but it was probably a younger namesake who was to play an important, if factious, part in the life of Weymouth up to the 1580s. This Thomas Samways making his will in 1588, asked to be buried in the church at Wyke Regis ‘on the north side of the tombstone under which my father lieth buried’.4

Samways took the senior place for Weymouth along with another townsman, John Jordan alias Blancombe, in Mary’s first Parliament. Neither had filled high municipal office, but in Jordan’s case, at least, this was to follow. Unlike the Members for Melcombe, John Leweston and Owen Reynolds, the two did not overtly display Protestant sympathies in the House.

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from appearance at musters.
  • 3. E179/104/156.
  • 4. SP2/S; E122/122/4, 7, 21; 179/104/156, 195, 200; St.Ch.5/M30/14; H. J. Moule, Cat. Docs. Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, passim; PCC 46 Rutland.