Thomas Vavasour (knight marshal)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Thomas Vavasour
Member of the 1584 Parliament
for Wootton Bassett
In office
Member of the 1586 Parliament
for Wootton Bassett
In office
Member of the 1589 Parliament
for Malmesbury
In office
Personal details
Born 1560
Died 1620
Spouse(s) Mary Dodge
Children 4 sons, 2 daughters
Residence Ham House (1610–1620)
Alma mater Caius College, Cambridge
Occupation Knight Marshal
Military service
Years of service 1584–1591
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Arnhem 1585,
Netherlands 1587

Thomas Vavasour (1560–1620) came from a family long established in Yorkshire. His grandfather was William Vavasour and his father was Henry Vavasour of Copmanthorpe, Yorkshire. His mother, Margaret, was the daughter of Sir Henry Knyvet of Charlton, Wiltshire. Thomas was educated at Eton and Caius College, Cambridge where he was a fellow commoner.

In 1576 he married Mary, daughter and heiress of John Dodge of Copes[where?], Suffolk, widow of Peter Houghton, alderman of London. They had four sons and two daughters.

He became involved in court scandal and rivalry through the actions of his elder sister, Anne.

He was Member of Elizabethan Parliaments for Wootton Bassett in the 1584 and 1586 parliaments, and member for Malmesbury in the 1589 parliament.

In August 1585 he fought in the Netherlands as captain of also foot from Yorkshire, retaining this command until 1591. He distinguished himself on two occasions, once in an attack on a sconce near Arnhem in October 1585, and again in 1587 with Lord Willoughby to fight the Marques del Guasto.

He is thought to have been knighted before August 1595, though the record is unclear.

Following military service he was a gentleman pensioner until the death of the Queen at Richmond Palace in March 1603. Following the accession of James I, Vavasour was made Butler of the port of London, earning him £1,000 compensation. In 1604 he was appointed Knight Marshal of the Household, a role confirmed to him for life in 1612 but, according to John Chamberlain, he sold the right for £3,000, in 1618, two years before his death.

He returned to parliament in 1609 to represent Boroughbridge after the death in office of Sir John Ferne and was re-elected in 1614 to represent Horsham.

Vavasour's wealth and connection to the court allowed the construction of Ham House in 1610. He died in 1620.[1]


  1. ^ Bindoff, S. T. (1981). "VAVASOUR, Thomas (1560–1620), of Skellingthorpe, Lincs. and Ham, Surr.". In Hasler, P.W. The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558–1603. TSO. ISBN 9780118875011. 
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Henry Knyvet
Edmund Dunch
Member of Parliament for Wootton Bassett
With: John Hungerford
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Knyvet
John Hungerford
Preceded by
Sir Henry Knyvet
Henry Bayly
Member of Parliament for Malmesbury
With: Henry Bayly
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Knyvet
Thomas Lake
Preceded by
Sir John Ferne
Henry Jenkins
Member of Parliament for Boroughbridge
With: Henry Jenkins
Succeeded by
Sir Ferdinando Fairfax
George Marshall
Preceded by
John Doddridge
Sir Michael Hicks
Member of Parliament for Horsham
With: John Middleton
Succeeded by
Thomas Cornwallis
John Middleton