ROYDON (RAYDON), Thomas (c.1521-c.1565), of Truro, Cornw.

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



Mar. 1553
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1521. m. by 1546, Anne, 1s.2

Offices Held

Peiser of tin, Truro coinage c.1552; woodward, duchy of Cornw., Cornw. 1560-2.3


Thomas Roydon was a prosperous tin merchant who owned several mines in Cornwall. Early in his career he was associated with John Hull II who undertook in 1545 to invest £300 in his business, but only paid £130: Roydon alleged that this breach of contract had left him ‘destitute of money to perform such bargains as (he) had made’ and ‘in great slander amongst his creditors’. He further complained that, on 30 May 1546, Hull and three servants had come armed to his house in Truro and had demanded the repayment of the £130 and the surrender of his part of the indenture. Later he became a partner in a lease of the King’s ‘prerogative of the sale of all the whole tin as well of Devon as Cornwall’. Although this grant was revoked in December 1553, Roydon continued to play a prominent part in the commerce of the region. To the coinage held at Truro in July 1554 he brought over 6,000 lbs. of the metal, the fifth largest amount submitted. Such large quantities of tin involved him in the payment of heavy dues to the duchy: in 1556 he was owing £176 10s.4d. and ten years later, just after his death, his executors were faced with a demand for unpaid dues amounting to £866 13s.4d.4

Roydon’s commercial standing made him an obvious candidate for election, and he was chosen as the junior Member for Truro four times before his early death. He entered the House in the second Parliament of Edward VI’s reign, when he was rising 30, and he may have enjoyed the support on this occasion of his close acquaintance, Sir William Godolphin, himself a knight for Cornwall. Roydon usually sat with Nicholas Randall but in the autumn of 1554 his partner was John Melhuish. Both he and Melhuish quitted this Parliament without permission and were informed against for that dereliction in the King’s bench. A writ of venire facias was issued but Roydon failed to appear; distrained 12d. in Michaelmas 1555, he incurred the same penalty each term until the end of 1558 when the case lapsed.5

Roydon died at Truro, probably in 1565. By his will, which no longer survives, he appointed his wife his executrix. She appears to have inherited all his possessions with the exception of some miscellaneous goods and 20 gallons of tin, which passed into the hands of Roydon’s mine-manager by the ‘crafty dealings’ of one of her servants. Her execution of the will was disputed by her son Anthony Roydon, a London merchant, who claimed to be the rightful inheritor of some houses and gardens in Redruth and Truro of a yearly value of £6 13s.4d.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. ‘Thomas Ro ...’ is legible on the indenture, C219/24/21; OR gives Thomas [Randall?].
  • 2. Aged ‘35 or thereabouts’ in 1556, St.Ch.4/1/48. St.Ch.3/2/10; C3/149/47.
  • 3. St.Ch.4/1/48; Duchy Cornw. RO, 133, m. 46; 134, m. 47v.
  • 4. St.Ch.3/2/10; Harl. 6380, f. 5; E101/275/11, mm. 7v, 8v; Duchy Cornw. RO, 230, m. 6v; 235, m. 9; C3/155/77; Truro mus. HP 1/3.
  • 5. KB27/1176-84; St.Ch.4/1/48.
  • 6. C3/148/90, 149/47.