LITTLE, Thomas (by 1531-67/68), of Bray, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. by 1531. m. by 1552, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir Robert Lytton of Knebworth, Herts., 1da.2
Thomas Little cannot have been a native of Windsor, since he appears neither in the accounts of the chamberlains nor on the subsidy rolls for the borough. An official of the royal wardrobe named Robert Little was keeper of the beds and of the armoury at Windsor Castle until his death in 1539. He was almost certainly the Robert Little, owner of land by the Thames, who in the same year appointed his son-in-law Tyldesley overseer of his will, for a William Tyldesley was later to be keeper of the beds at Windsor Castle. The testator mentioned no sons, but there were three daughters and a cousin, John Little.3
The only man with whom the Member himself can be identified is an esquire who lived at Bray, some four miles from Windsor. Not much is known even of this Thomas Little. On 9 July 1552 he and John Brocket† were licensed to enter upon the inheritance of their wives, Elizabeth and Helen or Ellen, the daughters and coheirs of Sir Robert Lytton, who however in his will of 1 July 1550 had not mentioned any daughters or sons-in-law and most of whose estates went to a brother. Little was by-elected to Edward VI’s first Parliament after the death of Edward Weldon on 25 May 1551, and thus presumably between that date and the opening of the final session on 23 Jan. 1552. He succeeded a household official who had also owned estates near Windsor, and he sat with a man of similar background, Richard Ward I; this pattern was to be repeated in the Parliament of March 1553, when Little’s place was taken by the surveyor Roger Amyce. The character of these other Members makes it likely that Thomas Little, if not himself a royal servant, belonged to the same circle, and thus that he was related to the former keeper of beds.4
Little died between 17 Nov. 1567 when he made his will and 31 Jan. 1568 when it was proved. His will is a short document, with a neutral expression of faith and a simple direction that he should be buried in the church at Bray, where there was once a monument to him in the north aisle. All his movables were left to the widow Elizabeth and a daughter Ellen, who were made joint executrices; in the event of the mother’s death before Ellen reached the age of 21, she was to be brought up by three friends, including Little’s brother-in-law John Brocket. She later married Edward Bacon†, a younger son of Sir Nicholas.5