BAKER, Thomas.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
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The Thomas Baker,gentleman, returned as the second Member for Bramber in 1555 has not been identified. There was no-one of this name in the locality who claimed gentility, while in Norfolk, a shire which supplied a number of the borough’s Members (including Baker’s fellow-Member Sir Thomas Knyvet) through the exercise of the 4th Duke of Norfolk’s patronage, the only Thomas Baker of any standing, perhaps of the family settled at East Walton, is not known to have enjoyed a Howard connexion; he is thought to have been the attorney of that name practising in the court of common pleas in the late 1540s. The many other bearers of the name in different counties have even less claim to consideration.1

Thomas Baker’s most noticeable feature is the surname which he shared with two other Marian Members for Bramber, the father and son John Baker I and II: the father, (Sir) John Baker, had sat for the borough in October 1553 and the son in November 1554. A natural disposition to place Thomas Baker among their kinsmen meets with the difficulty that none of these so christened has been traced before a grandson who was probably unborn in 1555; there is no suggestion either that (Sir) John Baker had an illegitimate son who bore his name. The only way round this obstacle would be to treat the christian name appearing on the indenture as the product of a clerical error, the mistake consisting in the repetition of the ‘Thomas’ which immediately precedes it in the name of the senior Member Sir Thomas Knyvet. Such slips are not unknown among the electoral documents of the period, although they usually appear with a correction. If the ‘Thomas Baker’ of the Bramber indenture was such a misnomer, the Member thus obscured is likely to have been John Baker II, returned a second time for Bramber to his third and last Parliament: his elder brother Richard sat in it for New Romney.2

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. CPR, 1554-5, p. 108; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 11-12; A. H. Smith, County and Ct. 331; CP40/1140, r. 594.
  • 2. C219/24/160.