Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Arundell, Thomas (d.1552)

686641Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 02 — Arundell, Thomas (d.1552)1885Walter Hawken Tregellas

ARUNDELL, Sir THOMAS (d. 1552), alleged conspirator, was the second son of Sir John Arundell, knight-banneret of Lanherne. He was sheriff of Dorsetshire 1531–2, gentleman of the privy chamber to Cardinal Wolsey, and was knighted at the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1533. He was appointed in 1535, with Sir John Tregonwell and others, as a commissioner for the suppression of religious houses. The reception which he met with at Exeter may be read in Dr. Oliver's 'Monasticon Diocesis Exoniensis,' p. 116. In 1545 Henry VIII granted to him a church at Trescoe, one of the Scilly islands, and addressed to him a remarkable letter concerning the papists in Cornwall (MS. Westminster Abbey and Stowe MSS. Cat. 1849). In January 1549-50, the year in which he was made receiver-general of the duchy of Cornwall, he and his elder brother John (vice-admiral of the king's ships in the west seas, and sheriff of Cornwall) were committed to the Tower on suspicion of being implicated with their cousin, Humphry Arundell, in the Cornish rising in favour of 'the old religion.' Sir Thomas, although released in October 1551, was again committed to the Tower in the same month for being concerned in the Duke of Somerset's 'conspiracy,' wherein, Bishop Pouet says, 'Arundell conspired with that ambitious and subtil Alcibiades, the Earl of Warwick, after Duke of Northumberland, to pull down the good Duke of Somerset, King Edward's uncle and protector;' but, as Mr. Doyne Bell has pointed out, in his history of the church of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower (1877), pp. 149-153, if this be correct it is singular that Arundell should have afterwards been re-arrested on 28 Jan. 1551-2 for conspiring with Somerset against Northumberland. Nevertheless, this change of sides may have been the price of his release. It is, however, possible that there were two contemporaries of the same name, one of the Lanherne (a Roman catholic), the other of the Trerice (a protestant) branch. Sir Thomas was brought to trial with Sir Ralph Vane on the day following his arrest; when Machyn records that 'the quest qwytt ym of tresun, and cast hym of felonye, to be hanged.' The less degrading death by beheading was, however, ultimately allotted to him; and the sentence was carried into effect on Tower Hill on 26 Feb. The writer of the 'Chronicon ex registro Fratrum Minorum Londiniæ,' as given in Mr. Richard Howlett's 'Monumenta Franciscana,' vol. ii., records that Sir Miles Partridge, Sir Ralph Vane, and Sir Miles Stanhope were executed at the same time; and declares that 'theis iiii knyghtes confessyd that the war neuer gylte for soche thynges as was layd vn-to their charge, and dyde in that same oppinioun.' The commission for seizing on the possessions of Sir Thomas Arundell, 'rebel and traitor,' is in Harl. MS. 433, art. 557; and an interesting catalogue of his plate, together with a list of that portion which was returned to his widow Margaret (a sister of Queen Katharine Howard), will be found in the Add. MS. 5751, fol. 209. Richard Carew, the historian of Cornwall, says of him that 'he was in Edward VI's time made a privy counsellor; but cleaving to the Duke of Somerset, he lost his head with him.'

[Cf. also Fourth Report of Dep. Keeper of Public Records (1843), pp. 231-2; and Hutchins's Dorset (the new edition), iii. 556.]

W. H. T.