VENTRIS, Thomas (by 1526-81), of Cambridge.

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 1526, prob. 2nd s. of Robert Ventris of Cambridge by Agnes. m. Joan, 3s.1

Offices Held

Treasurer, Cambridge 1547, common councilman 1552, mayor 1559-60, alderman by 1561; commr. gaol delivery 1561.2


There were at least two Cambridgeshire men of this name at the time but the more likely of them to have been mayor and Member was the Cambridge man whose father Robert made a will in 1541 as a privileged person entitled to have it proved in the vice-chancellor’s court. Thomas Ventris was for some time vintner to the university, but he lost the appointment to John Edmonds because of ‘his ingratitude to the university in denying that he was beholding to the university for that licence to sell wine there’. By the reign of Elizabeth he probably did not need the university’s custom, for the borough treasurers’ accounts show that he supplied all the presents of wine given to noblemen, counsel and others by the corporation as well as that consumed by municipal officers themselves. In later life he also dealt in foodstuffs.3

It was probably this Thomas Ventris who leased Cambridge property formerly owned by the Austin friars. In 1549 Ventris was described as a former master of the Cambridge merchant guild, then abolished; he went to London in 1555 as one of the borough’s spokesmen in its dispute with the university, but otherwise he did not take a leading part in borough affairs until the reign of Elizabeth. He was probably related to John Ventris, a Marital exile, and in 1564 was himself described by the bishop of Ely as a ‘godly’ justice. He left no will to confirm this opinion but died intestate late in 1581, administration of his estate being granted to his wife and sons.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Camb. Univ. Arch. vice-chancellor’s ct. wills, 1, f. 63; PCC admons. act bk. 1581-95, f. 21; Req.2/124/16.
  • 2. C. H. Cooper, Cambridge Annals, ii. 22, 66; F. Blomefield, Coll. Cant. 225; CPR, 1560-3, p. 406.
  • 3. Vis. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli), 53; Cooper, ii. 205, 427; Downing Coll. Camb. Bowtell mss Liber Rationalis 1510-60 passim; Req.2/288/28.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xix; Cooper, ii. 47, 97; C. H. Garrett, Marian Exiles, 317-18; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 25; Req.2/124/16; PCC admons. act bk. 1581-95, f. 21.