TEY, Thomas (1486 or 1488-1543), of Layer de la Haye, Essex.

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. 31 Oct. 1486 or 1488, 1st s. of William Tey of Layer de la Haye by Elizabeth or Isabel Bassett. m. by 1520 Jane, da. of one Harleston, at least 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1500 or 1502.1

Offices Held

Servant of earls of Oxford; j.p. Essex 1532-d.; commr. tenths of spiritualities, Essex, Colchester 1535, gaol delivery, Colchester 1536-d.2


The Teys were one of the oldest families in Essex. The senior branch was settled at Marks Tey, Essex, and Brightwell Hall, Suffolk, and had as its head Sir Thomas Tey, one of the courtiers who attended Henry VIII at the Field of Cloth of Gold. Thomas Tey came from a cadet branch seated since the early 15th century at Layer de la Haye. In common with most Essex families the Teys were in the service of the earls of Oxford: in 1513 the 13th Earl bequeathed annuities of 53s.4d. to two men named Thomas Tey, one being probably the future Sir Thomas, who was knighted before 1526, and the other his distant cousin of Layer de la Haye.3

It was doubtless to his position in the household of the 15th Earl of Oxford that Tey owed his election in 1529, the borough admitting him as a freeman on Oct. of that year: five years later he was to be one of the witnesses to the earl’s will. He and Robert Rochester were the chief counsellors and agents of the 16th Earl in his dispute of the early forties with Thomas Josselyn over the keepership of Oxford’s park at Stansted Mountfitchet: although right was clearly on Josselyn’s side and his brother-in-law John Gates prevailed on Henry VIII to order Oxford to admit Josselyn, the earl is said to have hit upon the expedient of disparking to deprive Josselyn of the keepership.4

Tey was a beneficiary to the extent of £20 under the will of his cousin John Tey, another Oxford retainer who died in the house of the countess at Wivenhoe after a long illness there. Thomas Tey himself died on 20 Apr. 1543. He had planned to marry his son to a daughter of Edward Denny, one of the barons of the Exchequer, but this project failed despite his resort to Chancery. Tey’s will is lost but from his inquisition post mortem it is known that he named as executors a neighbour who had been town clerk of Colchester and another faithful servant of Oxford’s, Richard Anthony, whom the earl had nominated for election at Colchester in 1529 but had afterwards ordered to stand down in favour of Richard Rich.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. He became 13 on the All Hallows Eve preceding his father’s death, which took place, according to the probate of his will (PCC 16 Blamyr), in 1500 but, according to his i.p.m. (C142/16/62), on 8 June 1502. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 297; Essex RO, D/B3/1/2, f. 78.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, v, vii, viii, xi, xiii-xvii.
  • 3. Morant, Essex, ii. 202; LP Hen. VIII, iii; Archaelogia, lxvi. 319.
  • 4. Essex RO, D/B3/1/2, f. 78; LP Hen. VIII, vii, add.
  • 5. PCC 17 Hogen; C1/582/40; 142/69/231; Cal. Colchester Ct. Rolls ed. Harrod, 65-66.