SHELDON, Thomas (by 1520-46 or later), of Worcester.
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Family and Education
b. by 1520, 2nd or 3rd s. of Ralph Sheldon of Beoley by Philippa, da. and coh. of Baldwin Heath of Fordhall in Wootton Wawen, Warws.; bro. of William. m. Elizabeth, da. of one Rawlins, 2s. 1da.; ?(2) Eleanor, da. of Sir John Huddleston of Millom, Cumb. and Southam, Glos.2
Low bailiff, Worcester 1544-5.3
A younger son in a leading Worcestershire family, Thomas Sheldon had settled in Worcester by 1541 when he was associated with (Sir) John Russell I of Strensham in business relating to Pershore abbey: his wife Elizabeth Rawlins may have been related to the Brogdens of Worcester. By a will of 28 Mar. 1545, proved on 11 Feb. 1546, his father Ralph Sheldon left him a life interest, with remainder to his own sons Ralph and Thomas, in lands in Worcester itself and in Pershore, North Piddle, Wyre Piddle, Upton-on-Severn, Walcot and Weatheroak Hill, all in Worcestershire, and Oldbury, Shropshire. He was also to receive £200, part of which was to be used to pay his debts, and the lease of a parsonage on condition that he did not live in Worcester: no explanation is given of this requirement unless the reference to Sheldon’s debts means that he had failed in business there. All that is known of his business activities is that, like his elder brother William, he speculated in monastic lands, joining with Lawrence Poyner of Tewkesbury in 1544 to purchase property in Tewkesbury, Worcester and elsewhere for £413, some at least of which they resold in the same year.4
Sheldon probably owed his return to the last two Parliaments of Henry VIII less to his own standing than to his family’s; his elder brother William was one of the knights for Worcestershire in 1542 and perhaps in 1545 and on the first occasion the sheriff was Sheldon’s former associate Russell. Between the two Parliaments Sheldon was elected low bailiff of Worcester and in that capacity he was named captain of 50 men in the King’s service in July 1545. His Membership of the Parliament of 1545 is known only from the payment of wages to him and his fellow Richard Calowhill. On 31 May 1546 they were allowed £7 4s. at the statutory rate of 2s. a day for the 32 days of the first session, with four days’ travelling expenses, but only Calowhill was paid for the short second session of January 1547. By then Sheldon may have been dead. The last reference found to him is in his mother’s will, which is undated but was proved in January 1549, and he does not appear in his brother Baldwin Sheldon’s will of June 1548. Eleanor Huddleston, who in the absence of a will or inquisition post mortem is identified as Sheldon’s second wife only by inference from a deed of May 1555, had by then married Kennard Delabere by whom she was the mother of two future Members. Sheldon’s daughter married a Calowhill, possibly his fellow-Member in 1545, his elder son Ralph married a daughter of Sir Richard Lygon and his second son Thomas a daughter of Sir Henry Delves.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. Worcester Guildhall, chamber order bk. 1540-1601, f. 20.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 127-8; E. A. B. Barnard, The Sheldons, 5; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. l. 295-7.
- 3. Nash, Worcs. ii. app. cxii.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xix; PCC 28 Alen; VCH Worcs. iii. 469; iv. 261; Habington’s Worcs. (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1895), i. 396, 431, 444.
- 5. Worcester Guildhall, chamber order bk. 1540-1601, ff. 13, 20; PCC 23 Populwell; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. l. 295-7; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 78.