SAMWAYS, (SAMWISTE), Thomas II (by 1522-68/70), of Melcombe Regis, Dorset.

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



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1522. m. 1s.

Offices Held

Bailiff, Melcombe Regis 1543-4, mayor 1545-6, 1552-3, 1554-5; subsidy collector 1545.


Thomas Samways was a merchant of Melcombe Regis; already a resident, he bought three burgages in the town in 1544. He may have been the grandson of Geoffrey Samways of Dorchester who in 1486 left his eldest son, William, a burgage in both Melcombe and Weymouth. Geoffrey’s sons included two Thomases, two Henrys and two Roberts and the nominal confusion in the family apparently outlasted this generation: at all events there was throughout the mid 16th century a namesake Thomas Samways I in Weymouth as well as in Melcombe. Thomas Samways of Melcombe was an important municipal official and was still living in Melcombe in 1568; two years later his name was not included in a list of past mayors of the town and he may be presumed dead with the more certainty since his son, also Thomas, was then no longer designated junior.

In the spring of 1554 Melcombe, an impoverished port easily won over by candidates ready to forego their statutory wages, complied with the Queen’s wish by electing two townsmen, Robert Michell and Samways, to Parliament. This compliance was probably unintentional, arising only from the chance that the captains of the two royal forts nearby, John Leweston and John Wadham, previous representatives of the borough in the House, were this time elected elsewhere. Samways’s decision to stand may have been influenced by his namesake’s Membership of the previous Parliament, which his own appearance at Westminster was perhaps meant to emulate.

Date of birth estimated from first reference. Weymouth and Melcombe Regis mss Sherren pprs. 34; E179/104/156; PCC 4 Milles; Harvard pf. ms Eng. 757, pp. 3, 19.

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller