PASTON, Sir Thomas (by 1517-50), of London.

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 1517, 4th but 3rd surv. s. of Sir William Paston of Caister and Oxnead, Norf., and bro. of Clement, Erasmus and John. m. by 1544, Agnes, da. of Sir John Leigh of Stockwell, Surr., 2s. 1da. Kntd. 30 Sept. 1544.1

Offices Held

Gent. privy chamber by 1538-d., keeper of armoury Greenwich 1541-d.; jt. (with William Sharington) steward and constable, Castle Rising, Norf. 1542-d.; steward, manors of Navestock, Pyrgo and Stapleford Essex 1545-7; steward, duchy of Lancaster, Cambs., Norf. and Suff. 14 Mar. 1547-d.; j.p. Norf. 1547.2


Thomas Paston spent most of his comparatively short life at court. First found there in February 1538, when as a gentleman of the privy chamber he was granted an annuity of £46 13s.4d., he was probably the ‘Mr. Paston’ who in December 1539 accompanied the King to supper with the Earl of Hertford. He campaigned in France in 1544 and was knighted after the capture of Boulogne. The King bequeathed him £200 and, according to Paget, intended to make him steward for the duchy of Lancaster in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk; he received the appointment after the King’s death and on his own it passed to his brother John. His services also yielded Paston, through grant or purchase, a considerable estate in Norfolk and elsewhere, chiefly from monastic sources. In 1545 he paid nearly £1,300 for the site and possessions of the college of St. Gregory at Sudbury, Suffolk, and in 1548 nearly £500 for a Suffolk chantry. The loss of the inquisitions for Norfolk and Suffolk makes it impossible to say which of these properties he retained; the surviving inquisition for Essex mentions only the manor of Bronden.3

Two of Paston’s land transactions were the subject of Acts of Parliament: in the first session of the Parliament of 1542 an Act confirmed his exchange of a prebend of Salisbury cathedral, granted him in 1540, for the manor of Godalming, Surrey, and in the second session another registered an exchange of manors in Norfolk between him and the bishop of Norwich. The probability that Paston promoted these Acts from a seat in the Commons is strengthened by the appearance of his signature on the originals. If he was a Member, he could have been the second knight for Norfolk, whose name is lost, or if (Sir) Richard Southwell was re-elected on this occasion Paston could have sat for Thetford. A parliamentary apprenticeship in 1542-4 would also help to explain Paston’s choice as first knight for Norfolk at the next election, when even his knighthood and his standing at court might otherwise have yielded to his brothers’ seniority. He was connected by marriage with the 3rd Duke of Norfolk—his father-in-law John Leigh being a half-brother of Queen Catherine Howard—and his fellow-knight and kinsman Christopher Heydon was a son-in-law of the sheriff Sir William Drury.4

In August 1547 Paston and (Sir) Thomas Pope entered into recognizances on behalf of Paston’s father-in-law who had recently been released from the Fleet prison and who three years later was to leave the Tower for Paston’s house. He served with the Marquess of Northampton against the Norfolk rebels in the summer of 1549 and made his will on the following 7 Oct., adding a codicil on the day of his death, 4 Sept. 1550. He named his wife, to whom he left a life-interest in all his lands, executrix and his father-in-law, his brother Clement Paston (to whom he owed £230) and his cousin Richard Heydon overseers. His heir Henry was aged five in December 1550; a second son Edward, not yet born, although provided for when the will was made and unnamed in the codicil, was to receive £100 under the will of his grandfather Leigh. Paston’s daughter Catherine married Henry Newton and his widow married Edward Fitzgerald by whom she was the mother of the 14th Earl of Kildare.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 216 which mistakenly gives Paston’s only child as Sir William; PCC 25 Coode; Misc. Gen. et Her. i. 214, 246; Surr. Arch. Colls. li. 90-92.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xvi, xvii, xx; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 87, 113; 1549-51, p. 402; Somerville, Duchy, i. 595.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xiii-xxi; HMC Bath, iv. 341; APC, ii. 18; CPR, 1547-8, p. 113; 1548-9, p. 78; C142/90/85.
  • 4. House of Lords RO, Original Acts 33 Hen. VIII, no. 40, 34 and 35 Hen. VIII, no. 45; Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 20, 21.
  • 5. APC, ii. 111-12, 142; iii. 54, 97, 118, 127, 301; Blomefield, Norf. iii. 239, 241; PCC 25 Coode; C142/90/85; Suss. Arch. Colls. li. 90-92.