Hungerford, Thomas (DNB00)

HUNGERFORD, Sir THOMAS (d. 1398), speaker of the House of Commons, was son of Walter de Hungerford of Heytesbury, Wiltshire, by Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Adam Fitz-John of Cherill in the same county. The Hungerfords were seated in Wiltshire in the twelfth century, and Thomas'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 (cf. Gough, Sepulchral Monuments, i. 107, plate xxxviii; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. viii. 464, ix. 49, 165, 293).

Thomas was himself returned 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 before 1377. 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, to act as speaker (Stubbs, Constit. Hist. 1883, ii. 456). 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 [q.v.] preceded him in the post, without the title, in the Good parliament of 1376 (cf. Stubbs, iii. 453). In 1380 Hungerford was confirmed in the forestership of Selwood. In 1369 he purchased of 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 manorhouse 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 Dec. 1398, and was buried in the chapel of the castle (Leland, Itin. ed. Hearne, ii. 31), 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) [q.v.], and three sons who predeceased him.

[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.]

S. L.