1600 Info 1 for the Cromptons of the Stuart Period
Dr. Thomas Crompton LLD, of Bennyngton, Bishop Burton and of the Middle Temple
('Auditor' Crompton) was Comptroller (of finances) to Queen Elizabeth I and Auditor
to the Exchequer.
Source: Foster, Pedigrees, iii; English, 'The great landowners of East Yorkshire', p.25; Pevsner Neave, 'York and the East Riding', pp.147, 330; DDHE/6/19
However, Thomas is not listed in the records of the Middle Temple. (Ref: H.A.C. Sturgess 'Admissions register', London 1949)
Neither Foster's Alumi Oxonienses nor Venn's Alumi Cantabrigienses mention, in detail, such a distinguished alumni. However, Venn does records one Thomas Crompton as Maric[ulating: enrolling]. pens[ioner; the second of the three ranks in which students Matriculated] from TRINITY, Easter 1573. Given that scholars went up to University aged 16 or 17 this would suggest that Thomas was born around 1556 and was 46 at the time of his death. (See lease on Little Munden).
The Cambridge qualification LLD has been described as a Bachelor of Law degree requiring four or five years of study. A further thirteen years of study was required for a doctorate.
|In A.D.1591 Thomas Crompton of c[ounty] .Heref[ord]., Esq. was granted a
seal described as: Red: very much injured. A shield of arms: a fess wavy between 3 lions
rampant CROMPTON. Crest, a helmet & mantling, illegible. - Beaded boarder. 7/8 inch x
¾ inch. It was attached to :“Deed of Sale from Alexander King, Esq, John Baynham, Edmund
Downing, and Henry Best, to Thomas Compton, Robert Wright, and Gelley Mayrick[?] of the
Lordship manor of Rofe[?]. co. Hereford, Dat. 9 June, Eliz.  Lat. 3 seals.”
Source: Birch Catalogue of Seals, vol 2, number 9088, British Library: Harley Ch 79 F 39
Thomas Crompton seals armorial: a fess wavy between three lions rampant; for a crest, a talbot sejant, in dexter a coil of rope. [Hull History Centre: U DDEV/9/37]
Left: The seal of Thomas Crompton from a document dated 4 April 1598 Source: The National Archives (TNA) C 147/62
Crompton describes Dr Crompton as 'Auditor of the Exchequer and agent for nearly all the principle noblemen and statesmen about the Court. He was a great trafficker of Crown lands and acquired (amongst other great estates) Houndslow Priory in Middlesex, Skerne Manor in Yorkshire and Mountgrace Abbey 1 and Bennington Park, Herts'. 1
Hyde introduces her biography of Thomas Crompton with: 'Crompton’s father came from Lancashire and married into one of its ancient landed families'.
Thomas' marriage to Mary
Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire records that:
Thomas Crompton, of Houndslow in co[unty]. Middlesex mar[ried]. Mary, daughter of Henry Hudson of ... in com[merce] Surr[ey] Esqr.
This is supported by a reference in the will of Sir John of Skerne who asks his Uncle Henry Hudson to deal sympathetically with the debit of Sir Robert Wright. However, Patricia Hyde records that Thomas 'm. Mary, da. of Robert Hodgson of London' in a non-referenced statement.
His early career
Hyde lists Thomas' offices as:
Court of Common Pleas - From the time of Magna Carta until 1873 this was the highest court for civil issues that always sat in Westminster Hall. 'Common Pleas was otherwise called the fine office'. Initially the Court of [Common] Pleas dealt with legal proceedings on matters over which the Crown claimed an exclusive jurisdiction. Later, it dealt with actions at law brought by one subject against another, now identified with civil actions. The chirographer, a term with origins in Medieval English, was the officer appointed to note final concords and filing records of engross fines (chirographs), in the Court of Common Pleas. Source: Shorter Oxford Dictionary
In Thomas' time it was an active court for minor civil cases. In the early 17th century some pleas of trespass concerned small parcels of land and were settled after two or more suitors were appointed to 'view' the land and report to the court. The Court of Common Pleas was also involved in land transfers determined by lucrative fines and recoveries, with debt, dower, account, defamation, promise, trespass, waste, ejectment, damage, appeals of murder and mayhem and for cases between a subject and the Crown. Also within its brief were 'letters patent under the Great Seal of England', the 'Court of the Exchequer'; 'lands bought of her majesty [Elizabeth I]'. Fines were still levied in 1782 but the practice was said, in 1832, to be long discontinued.
|The Fines Office building were in the grounds of the Inner Temple. In
November 1580 Thomas began, ‘to his great charge’, the erection of a new office with
‘divers chambers, lodgings and rooms over it and to the same adjoining’. In consequence,
he was specially admitted gratis to the Inner Temple by the Parliament of 28 May 1581, at
the request of Thomas Rysden, Lent reader for 1578, being granted a right of veto on
admission to these chambers.' 3 Pledges were from George Wylde and William
Thomas gave his occupation as 'gentleman' and his address as 'City of London'.
Source: The Inner Temple Admissions Database (Accessed 13 March 2020)
Right: Inner Temple in 2008
Members of the Court could only be paid from the profits from litigants. Dr James Ross calculates that there were 40,000 cases heard by this most popular court in 1610. John P Ferris reports that as chirographer in the court of Common Pleas he was said to be worth £1,000 p.a. (equivalent to £143,125 at Bank of England Retail Price Index 2010 4). From the profits of office, to the annual value of £1,500 (£214,688 BofE RPI 2010) he acquired land in Yorkshire and elsewhere.
Thomas was anxious to ensure that his heirs continued to receive the profits of the chirographer’s office after his death, and to that end he procured three reversions in the names of trustees, one of whom was Sir John Morley*. These came to Sir John Crompton on the death of his elder brother, Sir Thomas, in 1606. 5
As steward of Beverley, Thomas may have been an official appointed by the Elizabeth to represent her in a county, and may have a mandate to govern it in hername. The term also refer to the chief servant of a landed estate.
Thomas in Parliament
Thomas Crompton was MP for:
Thomas Crompton almost certainly owed his seats in Parliament for Steyning and Radnor to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex: the former was controlled by (Sir) Thomas Shirley I of Wiston, who must have done Essex the favour of returning Thomas Crompton, and the latter was no doubt secured through the influence of the Earl as constable of Radnor Castle, who was looking round for parliamentary seats for his followers, and Essex’s agent Gelly Meyrick.
At Leominster, where Essex was high steward and where he made a greater effort than usual to secure the return of his followers, his influence is apparent in the 1597 election when Thomas Crompton, Essex’s close friend, was returned. However, it is not clear whether Thomas sat for Leominster in 1597 or whether he also took a seat at Beverley where he was also returned and where he was a steward. If he did sit for Beverley ten days later, there is no evidence of a by-election to replace him at Leominster. It is not known whether he chose between them. 6 The most likely explanation is that Crompton was returned for both places, though the possibility that another Thomas Crompton was involved at Leominster cannot be ruled out. 7
Medieval Beverley was a wealthy town with a diverse population of skilled workers. In total thirty-nine guilds and trades were present in the town. [...] A place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, it eventually became a notable wool-trading town. It was once the tenth largest town in England as well as one of the richest. Source: Dalesman Magazine, May 2016
Thomas' patron, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux 2 second Earl of Essex, was a contemporary of Thomas Crompton, entering Trinity, Cambridge in 1578 when only twelve years of age. Though he does not appear to have been regular in his residence, he became a fair scholar. It is possible that even from these early days Essex played a large part in Thomas' life.
However, it was probably at the Inner Temple that Thomas met Devereux, who was admitted in October 1588. In the following year Essex sent Thomas to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley 3 to explain his plans for parting with some lands to the Queen to satisfy his debts.
|From then onwards Thomas Crompton became one of the Earl’s agents and
‘faithful followers’. (Hyde)
Thomas acted in numerous land transactions with Essex's servants, Robert Wright, Gelly Meyrick and Henry Lindley. On 27 October 1592 the Earl of Essex's warrant passed thirteen parks to Robert Wright, and Gelly Merryck. (Source: British Library: Lansdowne MS 69/73).
The Victoria History of the County of Oxfordshire (VCH) records that Elizabeth I granted Thomas Crompton and others, as agents for Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, the reversion of the title to Castle Mill. The Mill, thought to originate from the mid-11th century, was then sold to the city of Oxford in 1591.
NB:In his will Thomas describes Henry Lindley, an exactor, as 'my good frendes Sir Henrie Lindley, knight', who received 'a bole of silver of ten pounds'
Source: The Victoria County History for Oxfordshire, vol. IV, page 328
Right: Painting of Castle Mill beside St George's by J.A. Shuffrey (1859- 1939). The Norman mill was demolished in the early twentieth century
On some occasions Essex preferred that the land should pass in one of their names rather than his own: for example, when he bought the manor of Little Munden in Hertfordshire, he particularly asked that the names of either his ‘friend’ Crompton, or his ‘servant’ Lindley, should be used. Thomas Crompton was one of the trustees appointed by Essex’s will, made in 1591, to sell lands to pay outstanding debts. 8
On the 27 October 1592 the Earl of Essex's warrant, thirteen parks passed by to Thomas Crompton, Robert Wright, and Gelly Merryck. Source: British Library Lansdowne MS 69/73
Thomas at Little Munden, near Benington
The Victoria History of the County (VCH) of Hertfordshire hints further at Thomas' patronage. On the death of Henry, Earl of Essex, on 4 December 1529, the manor of Benington passed to the husband of Mary, second daughter of Sir William Say. In 1539 Benington passed to their second daughter Anne and her husband Sir William Parr(e), Marquis of Northampton. Parr supported the Pretender Lady Jane Grey 4.
Parr's lands were forfeited to the Crown. When Anne Parr died in 26 January 1571, the land passed to Walter Devereux, Viscount Hereford, who in 1572 became Earl of Essex. On his death in 1576, the manor of Bennyngton [sic]and Little Munden passed to his widow Lettice Knollys, thence to their son Robert, Earl of Essex.
'... William Says [sic] into whose possession [the manor of] Little Mundon [sic] came ... died seised of it in 1529, after which it descended to his heirs in the same manner of Benington (qv) and came with that manor to the Crown. It was leased to Thomas Crompton in 1594-5 for twenty-one years. In 1602 Thomas Crompton conveyed his lease to Michael Woodcock.'
Source: VCH of Hertfordshire, Vol. III, University of London Institute of Historical Research, 1971 page 71 and 130-1
|Thomas' relinquishing of the lease of Little Munden coincides with the proving of
his will in 1602. The Manor continued to be Crown property until 1620. The title, however,
was defective, probably because only the twenty-one years' lease of the manor had
been sold by Thomas Crompton, which term would run out about this time
Right: An undated sketch of Lordship Farm taken from the VCH of Hertfordshire page 130
|The building is thought to be from the 16th century. It is assumed that the name
Lordship Farm derives from the Crown Land or the place of the manorial seat. Both images
exhibit the same ground plan, window positions, walls, gates, and out buildings. However,
the modern building appears to have been rendered and the chimney stacks modernised from
what appear to be four Tudor stacks to three modern brick stacks, built across the ridge.
Left: Lordship Farm, Little Munden, November 2005
|.Right: The 1840 Tithe Map of Lordship Farm, Little Munden
The modern layout of the farm appears to follow the same ground plan.
Clicking on the map will open a 513Kb map of the wider Tithe area - 1161x1102 pixels. On this map Little Munden is referred to as Great Munden. Today Little Munden is known as Dane End.
Source: Hertfordshire Archives and Library Services
|Above: A modern map locating Benington and Lordship Farm, near Dane End.|
The VCH makes no mention of Thomas owning land in or around Benington as early as 1588. That he was 'of Bennyngton, Co. Herts'. suggests that he lived at Benington, rather than being an absentee landlord.
Clearly, Thomas was an important person who was able to lease Crown lands. He seems also to have been a wealthy person for an unknown source, dated 9 August 1588, refers to ‘Thomas Crompton, Senr. of Bennyngton, Co. Herts. Esq.' [Benington, Hertfordshire], who held estates in 'Hounslow, Sussex, Middlesex, Skirne Marn (Skerne?). This and subsequent records refer to various land sales in Everingham, Overdeanbrigge, Kirkeoswold, Staffhull, Highbanckhill, Scales, Croglinge, Crosfeild, Scatts, Monnoweke alias Mannaweke, Flaggclose, Blowderfeild, Heskew, Parkehedd, Hudderskew alias Heskew, Bulscorigge and Kynner Heughe, in co. Cumberland, the manor of Whalsall alias the Isle of Whalsall and Bygottes Wood in Lockington .'
Thomas is mentioned in The Cromptons of Crompton Co. Lancashire as:
The 'Cromptons of Crompton Co. Lancashire describes Pedro Crompton [1488-1550 9] as spending much of his time at Hatfield (Benington) with ' a wealthy kinsman Sir (sic) 10 Thomas' [CROMPTON] friend and patron, the great Cecil' 11. Sir Thomas was further described as 'Auditor of the Exchequer, and agent for nearly all the principal noblemen and statesmen about the Court. He was a great trafficker in Crown lands, and acquired (among other great estates), Houndslow Priory in Middlesex, Skerne Manor in Yorkshire, and Mountgrace Abbey and Bennington Park, Herts.' This is clearly, by occupation and lands owned, Thomas 'Auditor' CROMPTON of Driffield. It is further recorded that 'Mountgrace, an estate in Yorkshire which he [Lord Farnworth] had recently acquired, and which had been the property of Sir Thomas Crompton in the days of Queen Elizabeth, but which had been sold by his descendant in 1642.' [for £27,000]. 12 Perhaps, the sale of Mountgrace [for £24,000], though a reported seven years before the compound, provided the source of revenue to pay the fine. [Lord] Farnworth also purchase Skerne for £19,480, 13 both to forward his Viscountcy. 14 Mount Grace Priory is at East Harlsey, North Yorkshire.
Some of his other estates
Of Thomas Crompton’s estates in Middlesex, Hounslow Manor appears to have been his southern residence, an estate that seems to be passed from one auditor of the Exchequer to another.
'Another lease was granted to the Marquess of Northampton in 1552, but Awnsham's widow was still in occupation when was by in 1558 Mary granted William, Lord Windsor, the freehold reversion of Hounslow Manor. in 1571 his son Edward, Lord Windsor, sold the house and lands to Anthony Roan, auditor of the Exchequer. […] The next Lord Windsor conveyed the reserved rent and manorial rights in 1596 to Thomas Crompton.[Thomas] Crompton also acquired Roan's estate in the house and land, and the whole property had passed to his son Thomas by 1602. Sir Thomas Lyttleton and his wife [Katherine], who was […] the younger Crompton's daughter, […] conveyed Hounslow in 1625 to Justinian Povey, another auditor of the Exchequer.' 15
The financial transactions of the Dairyhouse and lands further illustrates the closeness between Thomas Crompton and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. Dairyhouse lands were part of Syon Abbey, Isleworth in the county of Middlesex, on or near the site of the present Georgian mansion of Syon House.
'Following the execution of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector to Edward VI the lands came back to the Crown.
In 1560 Sir Francis Knollys and his wife received a 31-year lease of the Dairyhouse and other lands and he was made keeper of the house and woods and steward and bailiff of the manor for life. The lands stayed with members of the Knolly family until Robert Knollys mortgaged the property in 1587 to John Stanhope, who assigned his interest a year later to the Earl of Essex, the son of Robert's Knollys’ sister. Essex and a creditor of his own, Thomas Crompton, to whom he had in turn assigned his interest, transferred their rights to Sir John Perrott, the father-in-law of Essex's sister Dorothy. After the death of Perrott's son in 1594 Dorothy married Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. By 1598 Percy had secured all Knollys's rights in the Dairyhouse and received from the Crown a new 40-year lease to run from 1612, when Knollys's lease fell in.' 16
In 1594 Henry, Lord Windsor (d. 1605), sold Cranford [St John] manor, probably including both estates, to Thomas Crompton of Hounslow Manor. By 1602 the manors had come to Robert Knight. 17
According to the handwritten catalogue of Harley Charters, the seal (see above) is attached to is described as:
“Deed of Sale from Alexander King, Esq, John Baynham, Edmund Downing, and Henry Best, to Thomas Compton, Robert Wright, and Gelley Mayrick[?] of the Lordship manor of Rofe[?]. co. Hereford, Dat. 9 June, Eliz.  Lat. 3 seals.” 18
At this moment there is no record of the manor of Rofe in the Hertfordshire Victoria County History (VCH).
Thomas arrives in Driffield
|It is said that Thomas came to Elmswell, the site of an abandoned medieval village,
accompanied by Earl of Essex, to an estate granted by Queen Elizabeth 1. The estate was
sold to Henry Best in 1597.
He owned the manor of Bishop Burton, Cherry Burton, Skerne, Wansford, Skidby and Ruston; farms in Beverley, Skerne and Killingwoldgraves; controlled the benefices of Slateborne, Leven and Foxholes; the parsonage and tithes of Skidby. His will was written at Bishop Burton, where he lived at the time. 19
Right: Click on the blue circles for a larger map.
An idea of Thomas' Driffield lands is given in Yorkshire Fines 1600 which records:
|William Morehouse, gent.||Thomas Crompton, esq., and Mary his wife||Messuage and 5 cottages with lands in Hooton Cranswick als. Hutton Cranswick, and the rectory, with all the tithes and oblations in the same and in Sunderlandwick, the advowson of the vicarage church there, and £20 rent in Ratsey. 20|
Thomas arrived with his thirteen pages of 'letters patent' - a legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch, granting an office to a person -, which opens with the name Elizabeth. Unfortunately, it was impossible to transcribe even the front page, or to determine whether the language used was old English or Latin
|Above: The front page of Thomas Crompton's letters patent ref: Beverley DDBC/19/16|
The Essex rebellion of 1601
Although, unlike his son, Thomas Crompton played no part in the 1601 rebellion, he and the Earl’s other agents were left in serious financial difficulties. As the Countess of Essex explained to Sir Robert Cecil 5 (son of William Cecil), her husband’s whole estate was made over to the agents for the payment of his debts, and there was a danger that they would have to sell all their interests were the Queen to insist on the forfeitures to which she was entitled by the attainder. 20
Thomas died at Bishop Burton. John Chamberlain reported his death as 31 October 1601. His will was proved on 18th February 1601-02. The content of his will, written 24 October 1601, suggests:
Thomas was buried at Hounslow. Source: Dugdale's Visitation of York
|Left: Thomas Crompton's signature 1595 attached to his seal shown
Source: TNA C 147/62
|More information 1|
|A brief history of Mountgrace and the Cromptons
Hull History Centre document U DDGE/6/11 describes Thomas as arriving in Driffield in1597 to lands granted by Elizabeth I. Whilst Skerne is mention as Thomas' property Mountgrace is not. If Thomas 'Auditor' Crompton purchased Mountgrace then it was between 1597 and his death in 1601.
John (II) Crompton, the second son of Roger (VI) Crompton and Carmen de Montaner, was born at Ringley Hall, Lancashire, on August 3rd, 1709, and baptised the 24th of the same mouth at St. Mary's, Ringley. He was educated at Westminster School, going later to Christchurch, Oxford. He took Holy Orders in 1731, and was from 1732 to 1735, Curate at Harpswell, co. Lincoln, then Vicar of Trewan, Cornwall, (1735-39), and in 1740 was given by his brother the living and Rectory of Mountgrace, in Yorkshire. He had taken the degree of Doctor of Divinity in which year he was made an Honorary Canon of York, and in 1744, Dean. He was the author of several pamphlets of a mixed political and controversial character, and in disposition seems to have been not deficient in the dignity, urbanity, and accomplishments befitting his descent, while his person was elegant and pleasing, - as we may see to-day in his portrait at Brandlesholme (painted in 1744) when even at that early age (he was then only 35), he appears as a plump middle-aged gentleman [...]. P.53
In 1816, Mr Ralph Clifford-Crompton was deeply encumbered by debt despite a princely income: he banked the interest on his father's fortune, his Lancashire properties were valued at £29,000 a year, the Farnworth paper mill yielded £12,000 annually, his other rents being worth £5,200. 'There were considerable rents from the properties in Yorkshire (Mountgrace and Skerne), [which he] mortgaged to pay off some of his debts.' pp.67-8
|More information 2|
|Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, Thomas' patron
From 1591 Essex spent the next four years resolved to secure 'domestical greatness'. He became a privy councillor, and leader of a forward-thinking faction at court - as against the faction of the entrenched Cecil family. One of the most curious episodes in his life is the friendship he formed with the two Bacons, Francis and Anthony. It seems probable that the former, believing Essex to be the 'coming man,’ deliberately attached himself to the Earl's fortunes and gave him good advice, which Essex was too impetuous to take.
Finally, all Essex's enemies were rejoiced when he teased his fond mistress into giving him command of the great expedition to Ireland in 1599. The Queen was absolutely furious and her favourite made matters worse, when after a disastrous campaign, he deserted his army and hurried to England. He had lost the favour of the Queen for good, and this disgrace was one under which his restless nature could not be quiet. He knew well that Cecil and other courtiers were his sworn enemies and he now entertained the absurd idea of an appeal to force. Essex intrigued with King James VI of Scotland to induce him to support a rising, along with his friend, Lord Mountjoy, who had succeeded to his command in Ireland, whom he implored to land troops in Wales. He was seized and sent to the Tower where he was executed for treason on 25 February 1601.
Vain and rash beyond anyone of his age, lacking any real measure of statesmanship, Robert Devereux had been lifted by the accidents of his birth into a position for which he was wholly unfitted. Yet he possessed, in a marked degree, qualities which endeared him even to those with whom he quarrelled: most utter frankness, warm affection and generosity and, in war, the courage of a Paladin of romance.
In all his campaigns, Essex secured the loyalties of his officers by conferring knighthoods, an honour the Queen herself dispensed sparingly. By the end of his Irish campaign, more than half the knights in England owed their rank to Essex. The rebels were said to have joked that "he never drew sword but to make knights". His practice of conferring knighthoods, in time, enabled Essex to challenge the powerful factions at Cecil's command.
It is unlikely that Thomas Crompton joined his friend in Ireland
and therefore didn't get his knighthood. However, Thomas' son did join Essex and
|More information 3|
|More information 4|
|Lady Jane Grey
|More information 5|
|Robert Cecil, (1 June 1563-24 May 1612) 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, was an English statesman noted for his direction of the government during the Union of the Crowns, as Tudor England gave way to Stuart rule (1603). After his education at St John's College, Cambridge, Salisbury was made Secretary of State following the death of Sir Francis Walsingham in 1590. In 1598, after the death of his father, he became, Secretary of State of England (1596–1612) and Lord High Treasurer (1608–1612), the leading minister to Queen Elizabeth and King James. He was Elizabeth I's Lord Privy Seal. He fell into dispute with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and only prevailed because of Essex' s poor campaign against the Irish rebels during the Nine Years War in 1599. He was then in a position to orchestrate the smooth succession of King James, through 'secret correspondence.'
|This page was created by Richard Crompton
and maintained by Chris Glass
Updated 30 March 2022