WIGMORE, Thomas (d.c.1601), of Shobdon, Herefs.
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Family and Education
1st s. of William Wigmore of Shobdon by Alice, da. of Richard Warnecombe† of Ivington, Lugwardine and Hereford; half-bro. of Edward and James Croft. educ. ?G. Inn 1559 or ?Peterhouse, Camb. 6 Oct. 1564. m. Mary, da. of Ellis Evans of Northop, Flints., 1s. suc. fa. 1540.1
J.p. Herefs. from c.1579; j.p. Rad. from c.1579, sheriff 1579-80, 1594-5.2
As a member of the younger branch of a family which had seen better days, Wigmore, who was still under age when his father died, owed his social position on the Welsh border and his parliamentary seats to his mother’s second marriage to Sir James Croft of Croft Castle, Herefordshire, comptroller of the Household. As high steward of Leominster, Croft had no trouble in returning his stepson as MP for the borough in two consecutive Parliaments together with his own son, Edward. Croft was no doubt also responsible for Wigmore’s return at Carmarthen Boroughs, although it is not clear how this was engineered.
Apart from his parliamentary career, however, Wigmore had little to thank Croft for. A request to Sir Henry Sidney, president of the council in the marches, to make Wigmore clerk of the fines in the marches met with a refusal, and Croft was unable to obtain Wigmore the recordership of Leominster, which went to Sir Thomas Coningsby, head of the rival family in Herefordshire. One of Wigmore’s servants now attacked one of Coningsby’s men and a series of violent affrays ensued in Leominster, Kington and Hereford. Twice Coningsby wrote to Wigmore in ‘neighbourly and friendly sort’, or so he maintained, asking for an end to the violence, but each time the reply came back ‘very sharply’ and in abusive language. Finally in 1588, one of Wigmore’s servants was slain. Wigmore claimed that Coningsby encouraged violence at the Hereford assizes and that ‘sixty or more’ of Coningsby’s men attacked five or six of his in the square. In the upshot the Privy Council ordered that the matter should go before the Star Chamber, and both parties were ordered to give bonds of £500 for their good behaviour. After Sir James Croft’s death in 1590 Wigmore fades into obscurity. He died about 1601, when his son Warnecombe Wigmore was involved in a Chancery case over the inheritance of some of his lands. No will has been found.
There was a Thomas Wigmore at Lucton in the middle years of the century, and, until this man’s death in about 1579, it is not easy to separate the careers of the two men.3
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Vis. Herefs. ed. Weaver, 21, 71; Ashmolean mss 831; PCC 8 Alenger.
- 2. Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 37, 192-3, 213; SP12/145.
- 3. Augmentations, ed. Lewis and Davies (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiii), 232, 260-1; C142/186/7; C. Robinson, Mansions and Manors of Herefs. 251; P. H. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, 236-7; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 526; Strype, Annals, iii(2), 453-5; SP12/167/45, 46; 213/81; 216/45, 46, 47; APC, xvi. 248, 258, 275, 291, 339; xvii. 85; xx. 67; St. Ch. 5/A9/36.