HINSON, Thomas (d.1614), of Tawstock, Devon.

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

2nd s. of Thomas Hinson of Fordham, Cambs. educ. Christ’s, Camb. 1571, MA 1574; fellow, Caius 1574; incorp. Oxf 1577. m. Anne (d. 7 May 1600), da. of Sir William Spring of Pakenham, Suff., 5s. 9da.

Offices Held

Servant of William, 3rd Earl of Bath.


Hinson was a fellow of Caius when the Earl of Bath went up to the college in 1575. Perhaps Hinson was Bath’s tutor, at any rate he entered Bath’s service and was repeatedly returned for the Earl’s borough of Barnstaple. Hinson was twice granted leave of absence by the House, on 9 Mar. 1587 and on 5 Dec. 1597. As a nobleman’s servant and a stranger to the county, he became unpopular with the Devon gentry, and by November 1591 was accused of turning the Earl against his countess and all who had been in her favour or that of her late father, the 2nd Earl of Bedford, and of misusing his authority. The Chichesters were among Bath’s chief opponents in the county, and their allies the Dullness and Fortescues were loudest in their complaints against Hinson. Still, George Carey and Sir William Courtenay I, the two knights of the shire in 1589, certified that the opinion against him was that of ‘most part of the gentlemen of the country’, and, in the event, in December 1591 or the next month, Hinson was imprisoned and examined by the Privy Council. In February the Earl wrote to Burghley, backing Hinson and complaining of ‘the injuries of those gentlemen that have opposed themselves to work my disgrace with infamy’. It may be that this hostility to Hinson explains the intermission in his parliamentary representation of Barnstaple in 1593. In 1597, when he sat again, Bath intervened to prevent the town from electing as his colleague a townsman who probably belonged to the faction hostile to him. In 1601 the Earl had to share the election patronage with Robert Chichester, and for his own nominee brought in someone else. Hinson sat again in James I’s reign, however, and Bath and he remained on good terms. Writing to him in 1604, the Earl, among more mundane topics, gave him news of various scholars and asked for similar information in return. Bath gave him at least one valuable lease, and the connexion enabled Hinson to found a Gloucestershire county family, seated at Hunt’s Court, formerly the property of the Earl. Hinson died 18 Apr. 1614.

Vis. Suff. ed. Howard, 192; Roberts thesis; Trans. Dev. Assoc. lxxii. 255-6; D’Ewes, 568; PCC 19 Windsor; St. Ch. 5/B22/4; APC, xxiii. 118-19; Portland mss, BM loan 29/87; Atkyns, Glos. 125.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler