THOMAS, John II (c.153I-81/90), of the Middle Temple, London and Constantine, Cornw.

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. c.1531, s. and h. of John Thomas of Lelant, Cornw. by (?Elizabeth) da. and h. of one Rosmell of Bodmin, Cornw. educ. M. Temple, adm. 6 May 1552. m. da. and h. of John Godolphin of Gwennap, Cornw., 2s. suc. fa. by Nov. 1547.1

Offices Held


John Thomas came of a gentle family who had lived at Lelant for several generations. In 1547 he accused an Elizabeth Thomas widow, perhaps his mother, in Chancery of wrongfully withholding various properties, including Lelant, from him. The outcome of this suit is not known, but judgment probably went against him as he settled at Constantine, where in 1530 one James Thomas, presumably a kinsman, had leased a small estate from the Arundells of Trerice. A connexion with this family (strengthened by later marriage alliances) would explain Thomas’s return in 1555 with John Arundell II for Mitchell, where his name was inserted on the indenture in a different hand. If Thomas sought election to Parliament with an eye to his legal career, he was probably encouraged to do so by two professional associates, Henry Chiverton, one of the knights for Cornwall on this occasion, and Ralph Couche I, who sat for another Cornish borough. He did not, however, emulate Chiverton in opposing a government bill in the House.2

Thomas practiced as an attorney in the court of common pleas: he was himself an enthusiastic litigant as well as the ‘helper and solicitor’ of others. The last glimpse of him comes in 1581 when he was interrogated in a Star Chamber case. The date of his death has not been found, but his will, which is no longer extant, was proved in 1590.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Aged about 50 in April 1581, St.Ch.5/C27/38. Vis. Cornw. Vivian, 449; C1/1272/11-12.
  • 2. C. G. Henderson, Constantine, 188; Vis. Cornw. 25, 449; C3/182/57; 219/24/22; St.Ch.5/C27/38.
  • 3. CPR, 1557-8, p. 233; 1563-6, p. 287; C3/178/31; St.Ch.5/C27/38; Devon and Cornw. Wills (Index Lib. lvi), 319.