COLSHILL, Thomas (c.1518-95), of London, Hackney, Mdx. and Chigwell, Essex.

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

b. c.1518, s. of William Colshill and bro. of Robert. m. by Feb. 1545, Mary, da. of Gideon Crafford (d.1599), 3da.1

Offices Held

Supervisor of petty customs, London June 1549; surveyor of great customs by 1572; j.p. Mdx., commr. sewers, Hackney district 1554, Essex, Mdx. and Herts. Sept. 1566; escheator, Kent and Mdx. 1560-1; j.p.q. Essex from 1579.2


After Elizabeth accession Colshill’s name does not reappear on the Middlesex commission of the peace: perhaps he had already moved into Essex.3 He retained his office in the customs in the new reign and by 1572 was a senior official. He must have been returned for Aylesbury through the Pakington family, either directly, as might have been the case if he were the ‘Mr. Collsell’ mentioned in Dame Anne Pakington’s will dated 26 Apr. 1563, or via Colshill’s colleague in the customs, Thomas Smythe I.4

Some of Colshill’s property in the Chigwell district was held from Robert Wroth, who brought a Star Chamber case against him, probably about 1581, alleging that his men had dug up 200 feet of street and laid lead conduit pipes. When Wroth arrived the next day in person and ordered the pipes to be removed, the defendant’s men shot arrows through his hat. By October 1590 Lord Burghley was referring to Colshill’s ‘great age and infirmity’, but he lived until 30 Mar. 1595. His will, made in April 1593 and proved two years later, is that of a wealthy man, his salary of £46 13s.4d. no doubt having been supplemented by the usual perquisites. He asked to be buried in the high chancel of Chigwell parish church. He left money and plate to a number of relatives, some of the bequests totalling 100 marks or more. Only two children are mentioned, Mary, wife of Jasper Leeke, and Susan, who married Edward Stanhope I. Another daughter, Katherine, married Sir Thomas Dacres of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. The widow was sole executrix and residuary legatee, and the two overseers were John Wood of the Middle Temple and John Manwood, husband of Colshill’s cousin Mary. A codicil was added on 28 Feb. 1595.5

There is a reference in the will of his widow, who died in 1599, to ‘the next alms room that falls void in Chigwell, which was of my husband’s gift and foundation’. A memorial was set up in Chigwell parish church, where husband and wife were buried.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiv), 562; LP Hen. VIII, xx(1), p. 128; PCC 46 Kidd.
  • 2. CPR, 1549-51, p. 65; 1553-4, pp. 22, 37; 1554-5, p. 108; 1569-72, p. 219; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 440.
  • 3. CPR, 1547-8, p. 213; 1548-9, p. 84; 1554-5, pp. 56, 348.
  • 4. PCC 10 Stevenson.
  • 5. I. Temple, Petyt ms 538/39, ff. 134 seq.; Lansd. 63, f. 30; 110, f. 169; Essex RO, T/B 4; St. Ch. 5/W6/22; PCC 23 Scott, 46 Kidd; Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. xi. 343-4.
  • 6. PCC 46 Kidd, abstracted in Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. xi. 343-4; xii. 140.