Thomas Hungerford (Speaker)
Sir Thomas (de) Hungerford (died 3 December 1398) was the first person to be recorded in the rolls of the Parliament of England as holding the (pre-existing) office of Speaker of the House of Commons of England.
Hungerford was the son of Walter de Hungerford of Heytesbury, Wiltshire, by his marriage to Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Adam Fitz-John of Cherhill in the same county. The Hungerford family was seated in Wiltshire by the twelfth century, and Hungerford's father sat for the county in the parliaments of 1331/2, 1333/4, and 1336. An uncle, Robert, sat for Wiltshire in the parliament of 1316, was a commissioner to inquire into the possessions of the Despensers after their attainder in 1328, and gave much land to the hospital at Calne in memory of his first wife, Joan, to the church of Hungerford, Wiltshire, and to other religious foundations. He was buried in 1355 in Hungerford Church, where an elaborate monument long existed above his grave. An inscription to his memory is still extant in the church. His second wife was Geva, widow of Adam de Stokke, but he left no issue.
Hungerford was himself High Sheriff of Wiltshire from 1355 to 1360 and was returned as a knight of the shire for Wiltshire in April 1357, and was re-elected for the same constituency in 1360, 1362, January 1376/7, to the two parliaments of 1380, in 1383, 1384, 1386, January 1389/90, and in January 1392/3. He sat for the county of Somerset in 1378, 1382, 1388, and 1390. He was returned for both constituencies in 1384 and January 1389/90. He was knighted in Feb 1375. He was closely associated with John of Gaunt and acted for some time as steward of Gaunt's household.
Owing to Gaunt's influence, he was chosen in January 1376/7, in the last of Edward III's parliaments (the Bad Parliament), to act as speaker. According to the rolls of parliament (ii. 374) Hungerford "avait les paroles pur les communes d'Angleterre en cet parliament". He is thus the first person formally mentioned in the rolls of parliament as holding the office of speaker. Sir Peter de la Mare preceded him in the post, without the title, in the Good Parliament of 1376. In 1380 Hungerford was confirmed in the forestership of Selwood. In 1369 he purchased of Walter Pavely, de jure Lord Burghersh, the manor of Farleigh-Montfort, since called Farleigh Hungerford, and the chief residence of his descendants, and in 1383 obtained permission to convert the manor house there into a castle. About 1384 he aroused the suspicion of Richard II, who attached him, but he obtained a pardon and confirmation of his free warren of Farleigh.
Hungerford died at Farleigh on 3 December 1398, and was buried in the chapel of the castle, where a monument was erected to his memory, and a portrait placed in a stained-glass window. The latter is engraved in Hoare's "Mod. Wiltshire, Heytesbury Hundred," p. 90. He married, first, Eleanor, daughter and heiress of Sir John Strug of Heytesbury, and, secondly, Joan, heiress of Sir Edmund Hussey of Holbrook. By his second wife, who died on 1 March 1412, he was father of Walter, lord Hungerford (d. 1449), and three other sons who predeceased him.
- Journal of the House of Commons: January 1559
- Lee Vol 28, pp. 257,258.
- Lee Vol 28, p. 257 cf. GouGrH, Sepulchral Monuments, i. 107, plate xxxviii; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. viii. 464, ix. 49, 165, 293.
- Lee Vol 28, p. 258 Cites: Stubbs, Constit. Hist. 1883, ii. 456.
- Lee, Vol 28, p. 258 Cites: cf. Stubbs, iii. 453.
- Lee Vol 28, p. 258.
- Lee Vol 28, p. 258 Citation: Leland, Itin. ed. Hearne, ii. 31.
- Lee Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 28, pp. 257,258
- Dugdale's Baronage;
- Collinson's Somerset, iii.353;
- Manning's Lives of the Speakers;
- Returns of Members of Parliament;
- Hoare's Hungerfordiana, privately printed, 1823;
- Canon Jackson's Guide to Farleigh-Hungerford, 1853.
- History of Parliament HUNGERFORD, Sir Thomas (d.1397), of Farleigh Hungerford, Somerset and Heytesbury, Wilts
- Lee, Sidney, ed. (1891). "Hungerford, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography 28. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
|Speaker of the House of Commons
Sir Peter de la Mare