ROUS, Anthony (by 1502-46), of Dennington and Henham, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1502, 1st s. of Sir William Rous of Dennington by Alice, da. of Sir John Sulyard of Wetherden; bro. of Sir Edmund. m. by 1523, Agnes, da. of Sir Thomas Blennerhasset of Frenze, Norf., 2s. suc. fa. 1538/39. Kntd. 23/25 Nov. 1545.2

Offices Held

Treasurer to 3rd Duke of Norfolk by Jan. 1536, of King’s works at Guisnes Apr. 1541-?Sept. 1542; j.p. Suff. 1537-d.; various commissions, Suff. and Calais 1538-d.; comptroller, Calais Oct. 1542-Apr. 1544; treasurer of the King’s jewels May 1544-Nov. 1545, of the chamber and ct. gen. surveyors Nov. 1545-d.3


Nothing is known of the education and early career of Anthony Rous. He may have followed the family tradition of attachment to the Duke of Norfolk’s household and have served a long apprenticeship there before promotion to the office of treasurer. He was well trusted by the 3rd Duke, who used him constantly as a messenger on private as well as on public business. He was with Norfolk in Yorkshire for the suppression of Bridlington priory and Jervaulx abbey in the summer of 1537, and was left behind to help survey their lands and to ‘put things in order’. In August of the following year the duke sent him to Cromwell to report on action taken against ‘seditious bruit’ and to further the cause of Norfolk’s daughter, the Duchess of Richmond. In September, when Norfolk could not take the surrender of the Grey Friars in Ipswich on account of illness, he was replaced by Rous and others of his council.4

During the years 1536 to 1539 Rous had thus become known as a man of ability. Richard Southwell, writing to Cromwell in January 1536 about the circumspect behaviour of Sir John Cornwallis and Rous in safeguarding the records of the recently deceased bishop of Norwich, spoke of them as men ‘whose honest dealings it were too long to declare’. Rous himself, writing to Cromwell from Framlingham this year, expressed the wish that ‘you will accept Mr. Richard Southwell as a witness of my desire to serve you’. Rous’s brother George was then in Cromwell’s service and was later to be employed in Calais as a man-at-arms. From his position as a member of Norfolk’s council, Rous was to become a man of substance in his own right. He had married into a leading family of Norfolk and must have succeeded his father sometime after May 1538, the last date at which Sir William’s name appears on a commission. In 1539 he enlarged his inheritance in Suffolk by purchasing four manors there and in the following year he made a larger acquisition in the form of leases of ex-monastic property for £1,679.5

Rous appears to have left Norfolk’s service in 1539, for in that year under the arrangements for defending the coast he was assigned to provide victuals for Calais, Guisnes and Hammes, and the duke, writing from Hexham, had to ask Cromwell to order Rous to send him a supply of wheat. This was the beginning of Rous’s involvement in the organisation and defence of the English possessions across the Channel. He now began to move in a different sphere: he exchanged books with the scholar-courtier Richard Morison, and was one of the esquires at the reception of Anne of Cleves in 1540. He was nominated sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in November 1540, but was not pricked; instead, he was summoned to court to discuss supply, and it was on this business that he arrived at Calais in February 1541, to be appointed within two months treasurer of the works at Guisnes.6

For the next three years Rous discharged this office and other responsibilities in a manner which earned the esteem of those with whom he worked. Promoted to the comptrollership of Calais, he took part in the campaign of 1544 with a personal troop of 12 horsemen and 20 footmen. While still answerable for certain payments in Calais, he was brought into closer association with Henry VIII by his appointment in May 1544 as keeper of the jewel house. Together with Walter Mildmay he was responsible for the transport of plate, jewels and ‘books of wars’ to the Tower of London in November 1544. In the following year Rous purchased further property in Suffolk from the crown, including Henham Hall which became the family seat. His election for Suffolk to the Parliament of 1545 answered to his standing in the county and at court and may have been occasioned by his first-hand experience of the French war, as the Parliament, originally summoned to meet in January 1545, had been called to meet its costs. Two days after the Parliament opened on 23 Nov. Rous was appointed treasurer of the chamber and of the court of general surveyors in succession to Sir Brian Tuke and at about the same time he was knighted.7

Rous’s career and further prospects were cut short by his death at Boulogne on 8 Feb. 1546. Occurring six weeks after the end of the first session of the Parliament, his death created a vacancy which perhaps remained unfilled during the brief second session of January 1547. No will has been found, but a letter about Rous’s affairs was sent to Boulogne by Sir William Paget and ‘the other executors’, one of whom, his son and heir Thomas Rous, then aged 22, had recently married Catherine, daughter of Giles Hansard of Lincolnshire. His father’s sudden death was to involve Thomas Rous in financial difficulties which may account for the delay of more than three years before he received licence to enter upon his inheritance. Among debtors to the court of augmentations on its dissolution in 1547, Sir Anthony Rous was said to have owed £6,090: since Thomas Rous successfully claimed a deduction of £1,737 for money spent by his father on fortifications, this large sum had presumably accumulated through Rous’s public responsibilities and did not represent money owing for land transactions.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from marriage. Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 62; LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xx; H. H. Leonard, ‘Knights and knighthood in Tudor Eng.’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1970), 184n.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, x, xii-xiv, xvi-xx.
  • 4. Ibid. x-xiii; CIPM Hen. VII, i. 804; CP25(2), 40/266, no. 31.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, x, xii-xv, xvii; Wards 7/4/31; Copinger, Suff. Manors, iii. 28-29; iv. 22, 32, 239; Vis. Suff. 44; DKR, x(2), 262-3.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, xiv-xviii; PCC 29 More.
  • 7. LP Hen. VIII, xvi-xx; PPC, vii. passim; APC, i. passim; Copinger, ii. 85; J. A. Froude, Hist. Eng. iv. 98-99; W. C. Richardson, Tudor Chamber Admin. 110, 244, 485, 489.
  • 8. Wards 7/4/31; LP Hen. VIII, xxi; CPR, 1549-51, p. 64; C1/1227/27, 28, 1260/28; Mar. Lic. Fac. Off. (Harl. Soc. xxiv), 1160; W. C. Richardson, Ct. Augmentations, 264 and n.