RISLEY, Thomas (c.1571-1653), of Titchfield, Hants and Southampton House, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1571, 2nd s. of William Riseley† (d.1603), of Chetwode, Bucks. and Joan, da. of Fulke Buttery of Marston St. Lawrence, Northants.1 educ. ?Winchester Coll.; Hart Hall, Oxf. 1585, aged 14, BA (Queen’s) 1588; Clement’s Inn; I. Temple 1590.2 unm. d. by Sept. 1653.3

Offices Held

Servant to 3rd earl (and subsequently the 4th earl) of Southampton by 1619, steward by 1620-d.;4 freeman, Yarmouth, I.o.W. 1624;5 j.p. Hants 1643-4.6

Member, Virg. Co. 1620.7


Risley’s family was established in Buckinghamshire by the mid-thirteenth century.8 Unlike his brothers Paul and George, Risley is not listed among the scholars of Winchester, but the fact that he later appears among the college electors suggests that he may have attended, and it was perhaps there that he became known to the Wriothesley family.9 A bachelor, he spent his life in their service, and invested in the Virginia Company, of which the 3rd earl was the leading patron. Returned with Arthur Bromfeild* in 1621 for Yarmouth on Southampton’s interest as captain of the Isle of Wight, Risley left no trace on the records of the third Stuart Parliament. At the next election he was given the freedom and superseded Bromfeild as senior Member. His only appointment was to consider a bill to naturalize the Scottish divine Dr. Balcanquall, on 8 May 1624.10

On Southampton’s death later that year, Risley helped the earl’s widow to administer the estate, and remained so useful that he continued to be retained in service by the 4th earl.11 During the Civil War he was named to the royalist commission of the peace for Hampshire, but he seems to have avoided becoming involved in its activities, as he apparently escaped sequestration for royalism. He died in 1653 and was buried, in accordance with his wishes, in the chancel at Titchfield. In his will, dated 21 Mar. 1653, he bequeathed two leases and £100 to the 4th earl as an acknowledgment of his great favour, with £10 in plate to the dowager countess. He left £200 to each of his four nephews, £85 to his kinsfolk of the Wither family, and £40 to two servants. His charitable bequests totalled £40. He asked Southampton’s chaplain, the Anglican James Lambe, to preach at his funeral.12 No later member of the family entered Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 105-6; Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 3.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; I. Temple database of admiss.
  • 3. PROB 11/228, f. 387.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 55; PROB 11/137, f. 6; C3/397/59.
  • 5. Add. 5669, f. 60v.
  • 6. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, i. 95.
  • 7. Recs. Virg. Co. ed. S.M. Kingsbury, iii. 62.
  • 8. VCH Bucks. iv. 166.
  • 9. CSP Dom. 1629-31, p. 3.
  • 10. CJ, i. 700b.
  • 11. C.C. Stopes, Life of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, 473.
  • 12. PROB 11/228, f. 387.