FOSTER (FORESTER), Thomas (by 1533-89), of Arlscott and Rodington, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. by 1533, 3rd s. of John Foster of Easthope by Joyce, da. and coh. of Philip Upton of Oteley. m. Margaret, 2s. 3da.1
A grandson of John Foster I, Thomas Foster reaped advantage from both his parents. His father, a mercer, held lands from Sir Rowland Hill, the great Shropshire mercer who became lord mayor of London, while his mother, a native of north-west Shropshire where the house of Stanley held sway, probably furnished the connexion which was to be strengthened by his sister Elizabeth’s marriage to Edward Stanley of Knockin, presumably the third son of the 2nd Earl of Derby. To his father’s landed acquisitions, particularly north of Wenlock, where John Foster leased land at Huntington from the leading family of Charlton and himself lived at Easthope, Foster was to add extensive monastic properties both at Rodington, north of Wellington, where he settled at the end of his life, and at Ironbridge between Wellington and Wenlock: he also married a coheir with property in Middlesex. In the return to the Parliament of April 1554 he is styled ‘of Arlscott within the liberties of Much Wenlock’.2
Foster probably owed his single election to the support of one of the great conservative noblemen in favour at that time: a similar influence seems likely to have operated in the return of William Charlton and Francis Kynaston as knights of the shire. Charlton had connexions with the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, from whom the Fosters held land, and Kynaston, seated at Oteley where Foster’s mother was born, was a tenant of the 3rd Earl of Derby: Charltons and Fosters had acted for each other as executors and feoffees, and with Shrewsbury as feoffees for the abbot of Buildwas. That Foster was returned in preference to his father, who had another 38 years to live, is perhaps to be accounted for by greater zeal in the cause of Mary and the Catholic faith: the Queen granted him a life annuity of £20 for service at Framlingham at the crisis of her accession. Such enthusiasm, perhaps strengthened by his uncle Richard Foster, who is said to have been secretary to Bishop Bonner, would also explain the obscurity which envelopes Foster in the reign of Elizabeth. Nothing further has come to light save that he died in 1589 leaving property all round Wellington and bequeathing £200 to each of his daughters; his will, made on 1 July 1589 and proved on the following 11 Oct., records his wife’s promise that her lands in Middlesex should go to their younger son. Foster is not to be confused with a namesake and close relative who died at Tong Norton, Shropshire, in the previous year; this Thomas Foster made a will showing him to have been a servant and tenant of the Stanleys, and he left a wife who died a recusant in Shrewsbury gaol in the summer of 1590.3
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Alan Harding
- 1. Presumed to be of age at election. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), iii. 163; Vis. Salop, (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 186-8; PCC 74 Leicester.
- 2. LPHen. VIII, xii; Lichfield consist. ct. 1591; C1/9/212; 142/228/85, 219/22/63; PCC 74 Leicester; VCH Salop, ii. 36.
- 3. C142/228/85; E150/879/2; 405/121, m. 12; LP Hen. VIII, xii; Lansd. 156(28), f. 94; W. Baxter, Glossarium Antiquitatum Romanarum (1731), preface; PCC 74 Leicester, 38 Rutland; J. Gillow, Bib. Dict. Eng. Catholics, 324-5.