Sir Thomas Tyldesley 1557-1635

Sir Thomas Tyldesley's Coat of ArmsThomas Tyldesley was the son of Thurstan Tyldesley and Margaret Norris. Born in 1557 he was a member of Staple Inn and trained as a lawyer.

Thomas became a member of Gray's Inn in 1577 at the expense of his half great-uncle Edward Tyldesley and his maternal uncle Thomas Norreys. He was admitted as a barrister in 1584.

Edward Tyldesley continued to support Thomas - in his will dated 8 May 1586 he left Thomas £20 a year for 5 years towards his maintenance and support at Gray's Inn.

Thomas sat in parliament as member for Launceston from 1586 to 1589. He was treasurer of Gray's Inn in 1588, and double reader and sergeant in 1594. In 1595 he was included in the commission for Lancashire and was described as a justice of the peace for West Derby Hundred, resident in the wapentake.

Also in 1595 Thomas married Ann Norreys, daughter and heiress of Thomas Norreys. Thomas and Ann had five children: Thomas, Richard, Edward, Elizabeth and Anne. The marriage brought to the Tyldesleys the Orford estates and lands and rights in Parr, Ashton manor and Windle manor.

In June 1603 Thomas was made King's sergeant and attorney at Lancaster. Besides his residence in Orford and Warrington, it was necessary for him to have a place in Preston and a deed in the Manchester city collection, dated 5 November 1615, identifies a house there as "late in the occupation of Thomas Tildesley, Esq. of Gray's Inn and of one Thomas Woodruffe, or either of them."

In 1605, when John Wakefield, master of the Boteler school made his will, he selected Thomas Tyldesley as one of four trustees to manage a charity, which he had set up for the benefit of of craftsmen in the town.

In 1606, Thomas was vice-chancellor and sergeant of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was again reader at Gray's Inn and became a Bencher. His son, Thomas was admitted to Gray's Inn on 15 March 1606. In addition, Thomas arranged at his own expense for Edward Tyldesley - son of Thurstan Tyldesley and Mary Charnock - to be admitted to Gray's Inn. The entry in the register explains the reasons for this:

1606 Edward Tildesley, son and heir apparent of Thurstan Tildesley, Stanzaker, co. Lancaster. Sine fine qua Edwardus Tildesley avus suus et meus avunculus admisit me sumptibus suis proprius Thomas Tildesley, lector.

In other words, Thomas paid for the admittance of Edward Tyldesley, grandson of the half great-uncle who had supported him.

Thomas became a member of the Council of North in 1609. His chambers were in Holborn Court - now known as South Square - directly above those of George Rigby, of Kenyon Peel. On 1 March 1613 his son Richard was admitted to Gray's Inn. Later that year, on 25 November 1613, James I appointed him yeoman pricker - an officer in the royal hunt. James I had already granted Thomas the benefit of "all Moorefalls in the New Forest" for 21 years and in 1616 Thomas was knighted.

Sir Thomas died in 1635.

  1. The Rise of the Barristers: A Social History of the English Bar, 1590-1640, Wilfrid R. Prest, 1986