COLBY, Thomas II (d.1588), of Roos Hall, Beccles, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

s. of John Colby of Beccles. m. (1) Ursula, da. of Edward Rede of Norwich, wid. of Thomas Garneys of Beccles, of Thomas Browne of Attleborough, Norf. and of Sir John Brende of Beccles, s.p.; (2) Beatrice, da. of Thomas Felton of Playford, 6s. 3da.

Offices Held

Steward of Abp. Parker by 1568; j.p. Suff. from c.1574, commr. piracy 1577, musters 1588.


Of an old East Anglian family, Colby may have owed his return at Thetford to local influence (his first wife’s third husband had sat for the borough in 1547) or, as Archbishop Parker’s steward, he perhaps gained the seat through duchy of Lancaster patronage. He was appointed to committees concerning Mary Queen of Scots on 12 May and 7 June 1572 and, during the ensuing debate on 9 June 1572, he urged ‘that every man may speak his fill. Corn, the more it is ground, the meal will be the finer’. Others of his committees concerned Tonbridge School (23 May 1572), a legal matter (31 May), dags and pistolets (17 Feb. 1576), aliens (24 Feb.), legal matters (5, 7 Mar.), justices of the forests (8 Mar.), a private bill for Lord Stourton (12 Mar.), London Merchant Adventurers (2 Mar. 1581), and, again, legal matters (4 Feb., 10 Mar.).

In his will, dated 8 June and proved 22 Nov. 1588, Colby left Roos Hall (which he had built by about 1583), with land at Barsham, Kingfield and Weston, to his eldest son Thomas, the executor, subject to a life interest for the widow. Annuities went to the younger sons, with bequests of arms, books and pictures. His brother Francis—the supervisor of the will—received a sapphire ring and grosgrain gown, and his ‘brother-in-law’ Anthony Weston, the second executor, a ring worth 20s. The will was witnessed by Colby’s eldest son, by John Wood, John Wright, ‘and me, Robert Williams, the writer of this will and testament’.

Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 11, 17, 18, 127; Suckling Antiqs. Suff. i. 27-8; HMC Var. vii. 73; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 310; Parker Corresp. (Parker Soc.), 324; Lansd. 56, f. 168, 168; 146, f. 18; D’Ewes, 206, 214, 222, 251, 253, 255, 261, 304; CJ, i. 95, 97, 99, 101, 106, 108, 109, 111, 112, 114, 122, 130, 133; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl. f. 58; PCC 9 Leicester.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler