CROMPTON, Thomas (c.1580-1645), of Stone and Little Fenton, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1580, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of William Crompton of Stone and Jane, da. of Sir Walter Aston of Tixall, Staffs. educ. ?King’s, Camb. c.1595. m. settlement 21 Feb. 1601, Margaret, da. of Samuel Marrow of Berkswell, Warws., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1603, aged 23. bur. 8 July 1645.1 sig. Tho[mas] Crompton.
J.p. Staffs. 1606-d.;2 commr. aid, Staffs. 1612,3 subsidy 1621-2, 1624-6, 1628, 1641-2,4 charitable uses 1621, 1638;5 dep. lt., Staffs. 1623-7, 1629-d.;6 collector (jt.), Privy Seal loan, Staffs. 1625-6;7 freeman, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs. 1625;8 commr. Forced Loan, Staffs. 1627,9 knighthood fines, 1630-1,10 array 1642,11 safety 1642,12 assessment 1644-5.13
The Thomas Crompton who sat in 1621 can be identified from a letter written by him to his cousin Sir Walter Aston on 7 June reporting the proceedings of the first sitting.14 It is likely that it was the same man who also sat in 1614 and 1628; there were, however, numerous namesakes in Staffordshire. His uncle, a gentleman pensioner whose will was proved in 1619, could have been the 1614 Member,15 while the man who sat in 1628 may have been Thomas Crompton of Bridgeford in Staffordshire, who was appointed a magistrate in 1623 and was probably a distant relative.16 However, neither enjoyed Crompton’s county status.
Crompton’s grandfather, William Crompton, originally from Stafford, made his fortune in London and purchased former ecclesiastical property in his native county, including the priory of Stone, seven miles north of Stafford.17 In 1562 he was also granted arms, although they were rejected by the heralds in 1583.18 By then, however, Crompton’s father, William, had married the sister of Sir Edward Aston, subsequently an adherent of the 2nd earl of Essex, whose annual rents were said to total £10,000.19 In 1597 William became a magistrate and was pricked as sheriff.20
The profusion of namesakes makes it difficult to be certain about Crompton’s education, but he may have been the fellow commoner who matriculated from King’s College, Cambridge in the mid-1590s. Following the death of his father on 18 Sept. 1603, Crompton inherited 314 acres at Stone and 280 acres in Fenton, part of the parish of Stoke-on-Trent in north Staffordshire. He also inherited the advowson of Stoke-on-Trent, which he sold in 1605, and additional properties in Middlesex, London and Kent. However, Fenton was his mother’s jointure, and remained in her possession until at least 1618, while the property outside Staffordshire was vested in trustees to provide portions for Crompton’s sisters.21 Crompton lived mainly at Stone, where he was granted permission to create a park in 1606,22 although he evidently also resided at Fenton.23
In 1629 Crompton was described as ‘being of great power, friends and alliance in the county of Stafford’, but his prominence was based upon his associations rather than wealth or lineage.24 His most significant connection was with his cousin Sir Walter Aston, subsequently first Baron Aston of Forfar. Crompton lent money to Aston, acted as a trustee for his brother, and helped manage Aston’s estates while Aston was abroad serving as ambassador in Spain. Moreover, Aston appointed Crompton an executor of his will.25 During his early career, Aston was closely associated with Robert Devereux, 3rd earl of Essex, who probably appointed him a deputy lieutenant shortly after becoming lord lieutenant of Staffordshire in 1612.26 Moreover, on becoming custos rotulorum of Staffordshire in 1617, Essex made Aston his deputy.27 Crompton’s friends also included Walter Bagot†, another of Essex’s deputy lieutenants.28
It was probably his connection with Aston, and thus to Essex, that led to Crompton’s election for Staffordshire. As Aston showed no sign of wanting to sit – possibly because the Deveurex faction took second place in the Staffordshire election returns under James – Compton served in his stead. He played no recorded part in either the 1614 or 1621 Parliaments, but on the latter occasion at least he certainly attended,as the account of its proceedings he sent Aston demonstrates. After reporting part of the king’s opening speech, he observed that ‘much pains have been taken by both Houses, many good laws framed, as well for regulating the courts of justice, as also for the rectifying trade’. He therefore attributed Parliament’s failure to produce any legislation other than the subsidy Acts to James’s sudden adjournment of the session. Crompton enclosed a copy of the Commons’ Declaration of 4 June, whose passage he had witnessed personally, and assured Aston ‘that it was done heartily and with much joy’.29
Crompton was not returned to the Parliaments of 1624-6, probably because he gave way to Essex supporters of greater social eminence than himself. In 1623 he replaced the recently deceased Walter Bagot as a deputy lieutenant. As England entered the Thirty Year’s War the work of the lieutenancy grew. In Staffordshire most of the burden fell on Crompton and Sir Simon Weston*, as Essex was frequently abroad on military service and they were the only deputies resident in the county by November 1625.30 However, the office added to Crompton’s local standing, and in June 1625 he was made an honorary freeman of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Crompton was an active Forced Loan commissioner,31 but was evidently not trusted by the earl of Monmouth (Sir Robert Carey*), who replaced Essex as lord lieutenant in July 1627. Monmouth did not appoint Crompton one of his deputies, although Aston was kept on, suggesting that Crompton was by now politically more closely identified with Essex than with Aston.32
In 1628, for the first time, Staffordshire was willing to return two Essex supporters for the county seats. Consequently, Crompton did not find himself squeezed out by higher-ranking Essex supporters. He was named to just one committee, to consider the bill to enable Dutton, 3rd Lord Gerard, a substantial Staffordshire landowner, to make a jointure (7 May). On 26 May he was granted leave to go into the country.33 On 27 Jan. 1629 the Commons granted Crompton privilege, one Roger Deane having served him with a subpoena in the previous session. Deane was summoned before the House, and made his submission on 3 February.34
Crompton was reappointed a deputy lieutenant when Essex was restored as lord lieutenant in 1629, and in 1636 he became a trustee for Essex’s second wife.35 He appears to have sympathized with the Covenanters in the Bishops’ Wars, for in September 1641 he wrote to Sir Richard Leveson* with obvious satisfaction that ‘divers of the better sort’, including the commander of the Covenanters’ army, Alexander Leslie, had been awarded peerages.36 On the outbreak of civil war Crompton, despite his close association with the parliamentarian earl of Essex, was appointed to Staffordshire’s commission of array. However, he was unenthusiastic about supporting the royalist cause, and in August 1642 refused to contribute money to the king’s forces.37 In November Crompton helped to raise a neutral force in Staffordshire to keep out the opposing armies,38 although when Charles ordered this disbanded Crompton quickly obeyed.39 He subsequently supported Parliament, and as a result the king removed him from the Staffordshire bench in April 1644.40 On 22 May 1645, as the main royalist army marched north to relieve Chester, Charles stayed at Crompton’s house at Stone, described by Richard Symonds as ‘a sweet place in a fine park’.41
According to his inquisition post mortem Crompton died on 30 Aug. 1645, but in fact he was buried at Stone on 8 July.42 No will or letters of administration have been found. Crompton’s son and heir, Thomas, was a parliamentarian colonel and was elected to Parliament for the county in 1647 and again in the 1650s.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Ben Coates
- 1. C142/283/107; Staffs. Hist. Colls. ed. F. Parker (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. xii), 109; Al. Cant.; Staffs. RO, F/Stone/1.
- 2. Staffs. Hist. Colls. ed. S.A.H. Burne (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. 1940), p. 310; Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 195.
- 3. E163/16/21, unfol.
- 4. C212/22/20-1; 212/22/23; E179/178/297; 179/179/299A; 179/283/27; SR, v. 65, 88, 155.
- 5. D1798/HM Chetwynd/116; C93/16/16.
- 6. Longleat, Devereux pprs. (IHR microfilm), Box. vii. no. 106; Staffs. RO, D1798/H.M.Chetwynd/114; SP16/149/81i; HMC 4th Rep. 269.
- 7. E401/2586, p. 183.
- 8. T. Pape, Newcastle-under-Lyme, 268.
- 9. C193/12/2, f. 54v.
- 10. E178/7154, ff. 289C, 290C; 178/5638, ff. 6, 10.
- 11. Northants RO, FH 133.
- 12. CJ, ii. 862.
- 13. A. and O. i. 543, 642.
- 14. Tixall Letters ed. A. Clifford, i. 18-25.
- 15. PROB 11/139, ff. 283v-4v.
- 16. C231/4, f. 156.
- 17. VCH Staffs. vi. 205; S. Erdeswick, Survey of Staffs. ed. T. Harwood, 37-8.
- 18. Staffs. Hist. Colls. ed. F. Parker (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. xii), 109; Grantees of Arms ed. W.H. Rylands (Harl. Soc. lxvi) 66; Staffs. Hist. Colls. ed. H.S. Grazebrook (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. iii, pt. 2), p. 66.
- 19. CP, i. 285-6; FSL, L.a. 469-73.
- 20. Staffs. Hist. Colls. ed. J.C. Wedgwood (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. 1912), p. 326; List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 128.
- 21. C142/283/107; VCH Staffs. viii. 188; PROB 11/304, ff. 37-8v; ‘Stoke Churchwardens’ Accts.’ ed. A.H. John, Trans. of North Staffs. Field Club lxxviii, p. A237.
- 22. SO3/3, unfol., Nov. 1606.
- 23. D1798/H.M.Aston/21/4; E179/178/287.
- 24. C3/400/53.
- 25. Staffs. RO, D1798/H.M.Aston/21/4; D1798/H.M.Aston/18/10; Tixall Letters, i. 16, 25; PROB 11/181, f. 232.
- 26. Sainty, Lords Lieutenants, 32; Staffs. RO, D(W)1721/1/4, f. 25v.
- 27. Staffs. Hist. Colls. ed. Wedgwood, 327; FSL, L.a. 382.
- 28. FSL, L.a. 400.
- 29. Tixall Letters, i. 18-25.
- 30. SP16/10/21, 16/43/38; V.F. Snow, Essex the Rebel, 112-13, 119-26, 129-43, 159-62.
- 31. SP16/59/32, 16/73/80.
- 32. C66/2431, mm.19-20d; D1798/H.M.Chetwynd/114.
- 33. CD 1628, iii. 301, 611.
- 34. CJ, i. 923b, 926a.
- 35. HMC Bath, iv. 350.
- 36. HMC 5th Rep. 141.
- 37. Staffs. RO, D948/4/62.
- 38. Staffs. and Gt. Rebellion ed. D.A. Johnson and D.G. Vaisey, 28-9.
- 39. Staffs. RO, D593/P/8/1/7.
- 40. Docquets of Letters Patent, 195.
- 41. Diary of Marches of Royal Army ed. C.E. Long (Cam. Soc. lxxiv), 175.
- 42. C142/786/68.