MASSEY, Thomas (by 1512-64), of Broxton and Chester, Cheshire.
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Family and Education
b. by 1512, s. of Edward Massey of Broxton by Anne, da. of Richard or William Sneyd of Chester. m. by 1538, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of David Myddelton of Chester, 2s. 1da.1
Alderman, Chester by 1541.2
Thomas Massey’s branch of a family dispersed throughout Cheshire was seated ten miles from Chester but he may have owed his establishment in that city rather to his marriage to a daughter and coheir of David Myddelton, mayor of Chester in 1523 and 1538. Massey is first mentioned in the city records in 1533 as the owner of a house in Eastgate Street. In 1542, as lessee of a house in Watergate Street, he was registered to perform the three nightwatches at Christmas to which his tenure of the property rendered him liable. It was as of Chester that in October 1545 he had a grant from the crown, for £133, of lands at Halton and Llantysilio, Denbighshire. Three years later he shared the executorship of David Myddelton’s will with his brothers-in-law Sir William Norris and Sir John Salusbury.3
From its enfranchisement in 1543 Chester appears to have elected to each Parliament the recorder and one prominent citizen, usually an alderman. It was the second place which Massey, styled alderman on the return, filled in the first and third of Mary’s Parliaments. The duty entailed was no light one, for the city faced a number of problems which called for action at Westminster. Soon after Massey and the recorder, his kinsman Richard Sneyd, had begun to attend the Parliament of November 1554 they received a letter from the city authorities about the charter which William Aldersey had procured for the merchant adventurers of Chester; this was likely to prove so harmful to the city that the two Members were to raise the subject with the chancellor. What came of this has not been discovered, but Massey may well have approached Stephen Gardiner through his cousin the chancellor’s servant Robert Massey, who sat in this Parliament for the Flint Boroughs. If Massey was expected to court Gardiner’s favour it seems tactless of him to have been one of the Members who were absent when the House was called early in January 1555, but as he was not prosecuted he presumably convinced the authorities that this dereliction had no political significance.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: P. S. Edwards
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 175-6; (lix), 170, 215; Chester 3/75/13.
- 2. Chester RO, mayors’ bk. 1541-3, f. 3; 1543-4, f. 3: 1544-5, f. 2.
- 3. W. M. Myddelton, Ped. Fam. of Myddelton, 62-64; Chester RO, ass. bk. 1, ff. 38, 50; R. H. Morris, Chester, 234n; LP Hen. VIII, xx; PC 13 Populwell.
- 4. C219/21/189; Chester RO, letters ML5, no. 265; KB27/1176, r. 16.
- 5. Chester 3/75/13.