EDEN, Thomas (c.1502-68), of London and Sudbury, Suff.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1502, 1st s. of Henry Eden, and bro. of George. educ. L. Inn, spec. adm. 16 Nov. 1527. m. by 1534, Griselda, da. of Edward Waldegrave of the Anyers, Sudbury, 5s. inc. Richard and Thomas 4da. suc. fa. 1518.1

Offices Held

Jt. clerk of the council in Star Chamber 1530-49, sole clerk 1549-d.; commr. relief, Suff. 1550; j.p.q. 1554-d.2


The Eden family probably settled at Sudbury, about 1516, the year in which Thomas Eden’s uncle Richard Eden was instituted as vicar of the church of St. Gregory and St. Peter there. Ten years earlier a Richard and Thomas Eden had been named in the will of John Gardiner, father of Stephen Gardiner, trustees for some of his other children, and it was as a member of the household of a Mr. Eden in Paris that the future bishop made the acquaintance of Erasmus in 1511. More than one member of the Eden family were to benefit from the connexion. Thomas Eden may have followed Gardiner to Cambridge, where at least one of his sons was to be educated, but if so he soon transferred to Lincoln’s Inn and within three more years he had begun his lifelong tenure of the clerkship of the Star Chamber: his uncle Richard had filled the office since 1512, and the pair of them were to hold it jointly for nearly 20 years and then Eden alone for as long again. The post carried a salary of 40 marks a year. The entry books which it was the clerk’s responsibility to keep have not survived.3

Although Eden retained his office through every change of regime it was with Gardiner’s ascendancy under Mary that he was brought into public affairs. For his loyalty at the Queen’s accession he received an annuity of £20, early in 1554 he was put on the Suffolk bench, and in the following autumn he attended his only Parliament. It was to Gardiner that he owed his election, for Taunton was one of the three boroughs which belonged to the see of Winchester. He sat with his kinsman by marriage Sir Edward Waldegrave, a Privy Councillor returned senior knight of the shire for Somerset, and not surprisingly he was not among the Members who absented themselves from the closing stages of the Parliament. Within a year of its dissolution he received the chancellor’s parting gift, a bequest of ten marks.4

Eden made his will on 1 Oct. 1565, asking to be buried at Sudbury. At the Dissolution he had acquired several former monastic properties in London and Sudbury; he left a life interest in these and his other lands to his wife and bequeathed money and goods to his two sons and unmarried daughter. As executors he appointed his wife and sons. Eden died on 25 July 1568, and the will was proved on 2 Dec. following.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Aged ‘63 years and above or thereabouts’ in 1565, PCC 25 Babington. Vis. Suff. ed. Howard, i. 3, 18-19.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, iv; CPR, 1553 to 1569-72 passim.
  • 3. Al. Cant. i(2), 84; Letters of Stephen Gardiner, ed. Muller, pp. xxv, 2-3, 544; LP Hen. VIII, i, iv.
  • 4. APC, iv. 419; Lands. 156(28), f. 94; Wills from Doctors’ Commons (Cam. Soc. lxxxiii), 45.
  • 5. PCC 25 Babington; LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xvii; CPR, 1547-8, p. 204; 1554-5, pp. 212-13, 232; C142/152/134.