Sir Thomas Shirley (1564 – c. 1634) was an English soldier, adventurer and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1584 and 1622. His financial difficulties drove him into privateering which culminated in his capture by the Turks and later imprisonment in the Tower of London.
The House of Commons of England was the lower house of the Parliament of England from its development in the 14th century to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, when it was replaced by the House of Commons of Great Britain. In 1801, with the union of Great Britain and Ireland, that house was in turn replaced by the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
Thomas Shirley was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Shirley of Wiston House, Sussex, and Anne Kempe, the daughter of Sir Thomas Kempe (d. 7 March 1591) of Olantigh in Wye, Kent.Sir Anthony Shirley and Sir Robert Shirley were his younger brothers.
Sir Thomas Shirley, of Wiston in Sussex, was an English Member of Parliament, government official and courtier who is said to have suggested the creation of the rank of baronet.
Wiston House is a 16th-century Grade I listed building set in the South Downs National Park on the south coast of England, surrounded by over 6,000 acres (2,400 ha) of parkland in Wiston, West Sussex. It is the home of Wilton Park, an executive agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Olantigh is a property 1 mile (1.6 km) north of Wye in Kent, southeast England. It includes a garden of 20 acres (8.1 ha). The hamlet in which the property stands is Little Olantigh. The population of the property and surrounding area is included in the civil parish of Wye with Hinxhill.
Shirley matriculated at Hart Hall, Oxford in 1579, but left the university without taking a degree.In 1584 he was elected Member of Parliament for Steyning. He went on military service with his father and brother in the Low Countries in 1585, and later saw some in Ireland. He was knighted at Kilkenny in Ireland by the lord deputy, Sir William Fitz-William, on 26 October 1589. Shirley later came to the court. In the summer of 1591 he made a secret marriage to one of Queen Elizabeth's maids of honour and when the queen heard of it, she promptly committed him to the Marshalsea Prison. He remained in prison till the spring of 1592. In 1593 he was elected MP for Steyning again. In the same year he saw service with the rank of captain in the Low Countries again.
Steyning was a parliamentary borough in Sussex, England, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons sporadically from 1298 and continuously from 1467 until 1832. It was a notorious rotten borough, and was abolished by the Great Reform Act.
The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.
Sir William FitzWilliam (1526–1599) was an English Lord Justice of Ireland and afterwards Lord Deputy of Ireland. In 1587, as Governor of Fotheringhay Castle, he supervised the execution of the death sentence on Mary, Queen of Scots. He was the Member of Parliament for Peterborough and represented County Carlow in the Irish House of Commons. He lived at Gainspark, Essex, and Milton Hall.
Shirley was beginning to suffer from hopeless embarrassment because of his father's increasing financial difficulties. To secure a livelihood, he decided to fit out a privateering expedition to attack Spanish merchandise. He handed over his company at Flushing to Sir Thomas Vavasour, a relation of his wife, and in the summer of 1598 sailed into the English Channel, and seized four 'hulks' of Lübeck which were reputed to be carrying Spanish goods.He may have made some of his attacks with the Queen's ship Foresight, which he commanded in 1599. The costs and returns were high. A ship that Shirley captured while returning from San Domingo laden with sugar, was valued at £4,700. In April 1600, Shirley offered the Earl of Nottingham £600 for his tenth share in two ships which he brought into Plymouth and said he had already paid £2,000 for 'the company's thirds'. In October 1600 Shirley was brought before the Admiralty court for seizing a ship from Hamburg which had a cargo belonging to some Dutch merchants and Lord Cobham had to intervene on his behalf. He was also coming under attack from his creditors for in July 1600 some supporters of Sir Richard Weston broke into his father's house at Blackfriars and threatened the Shirleys, father and son, demanding payment. In 1601 his father required the borough seat of Steyning. Shirley was elected MP for both Bramber and Hastings and chose to sit for Hastings. In 1602 he renewed his privateering adventures, and pillaged 'two poor hamlets of two dozen houses in Portugal.'
Thomas Vavasour (1560–1620) was an English soldier, courtier and Member of Parliament.
Lübeck is a city in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. On the river Trave, it was the leading city of the Hanseatic League, and because of its extensive Brick Gothic architecture, it is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. In 2015, it had a population of 218,523.
Admiralty courts, also known as maritime courts, are courts exercising jurisdiction over all maritime contracts, torts, injuries, and offenses.
At the end of 1602 Shirley equipped two ships for a more ambitious adventure in the Levant where he aimed to strike a blow against the Ottoman Empire of Mehmed III. He was given encouragement by the Duke of Tuscany at Florence, who supported Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor in this respect. However, he made an imprudent descent on the island of Kea on 15 Jan 1603 and was captured by the Turks. He was transferred to Negropont on 20 March, and on 25 July 1603 he was carried a close prisoner to Constantinople. When news of his misfortunes reached England, James I appealed to the government of the sultan to release him. The English ambassador to the Porte, Henry Lello, used every effort on his behalf, and finally he was released on 6 December 1605, after eleven hundred dollars had been paid to his gaolers. He immediately went to Naples, where he was described by Toby Mathew, on 8 August 1606, as living there 'like a gallant.' At the end of 1606 he returned to England.
The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica.
The Ottoman Empire, historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
Mehmed III was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1595 until his death in 1603.
Shirley was imprisoned in the Tower of London in September 1607 on a charge of illegal interference with the operations of the Levant Company. It was said that he had "overbusied himself with the traffic of Constantinople, to have brought it to Venice and to the Florentine territories." In August 1611 he was confined in the king's bench as an insolvent debtor. The death of his father next year, and his second marriage greatly increased his difficulties. Wiston, which had fallen into ruins, was sold, but he was elected MP for Steyning in 1614, and 1621.
The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.
The Levant Company was an English chartered company formed in 1592. Elizabeth I of England approved its initial charter on 11 September 1581 when the Venice Company (1583) and the Turkey Company (1581) merged, because their charters had expired, as she was anxious to maintain trade and political alliances with the Ottoman Empire. Its initial charter was good for seven years and was granted to Edward Osborne, Richard Staper, Thomas Smith and William Garret with the purpose of regulating English trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Levant. The company remained in continuous existence until being superseded in 1825. A member of the company was known as a Turkey Merchant.
Shirley is said to have retired subsequently to the Isle of Wight, and to have died there about 1630.
Shirley married firstly Frances Vavasour, daughter of Henry Vavasour of Copmanthorpe, by whom he had three sons and four daughters.His second son, Henry Shirley, was the dramatist who was murdered in London on 31 October 1627. His only surviving son by his first marriage, Thomas Shirley, was baptised at West Clandon, Surrey, on 30 June 1597, was knighted in 1645 by Charles I at Oxford, was alive in 1664, and was father of Thomas Sherley [q. v.], the physician.
Shirley married secondly at Deptford on 2 December 1617, a widow, Judith Taylor, daughter of William Bennet of London, by whom he had five sons and six daughters.
Sir Robert Shirley was an English traveller and adventurer, younger brother of Sir Anthony Shirley and Sir Thomas Shirley. He is notable for his help modernising and improving the Persian Safavid army according to the British model, by the request of Shah Abbas the Great. This proved to be highly successful, as from then on the Safavids proved to be an equal force to their arch rival, the Ottoman Empire.
Sir Anthony Shirley (1565–1635) was an English traveller, whose imprisonment in 1603 by King James I caused the English House of Commons to assert one of its privileges—freedom of its members from arrest—in a document known as The Form of Apology and Satisfaction.
Peter Stent was a seventeenth-century London printseller, who from the early 1640s until his death ran one of the biggest printmaking businesses of the day.
The Keeper or Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England, known as the Master of the Rolls, is the second-most senior judge in England and Wales after the Lord Chief Justice, and serves as President of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal and Head of Civil Justice. The position dates from at least 1286, although it is believed that the office probably existed earlier than that.
Thomas Digges was an English mathematician and astronomer. He was the first to expound the Copernican system in English but discarded the notion of a fixed shell of immoveable stars to postulate infinitely many stars at varying distances. He was also first to postulate the "dark night sky paradox".
Sir Henry Neville was an English courtier, politician and diplomat, noted for his role as ambassador to France and his unsuccessful attempts to negotiate between James I of England and the Houses of Parliament. In 2005 Neville was put forward as a candidate for the authorship of Shakespeare's works.
The Lieutenant of the Tower of London serves directly under the Constable of the Tower. The office has been appointed at least since the 13th century. There were formerly many privileges, immunities and perquisites attached to the office. Like the Constable, the Lieutenant was usually appointed by letters patent, either for life or during the King's pleasure.
Justice of the Common Pleas was a puisne judicial position within the Court of Common Pleas of England and Wales, under the Chief Justice. The Common Pleas was the primary court of common law within England and Wales, dealing with "common" pleas. It was created out of the common law jurisdiction of the Exchequer of Pleas, with splits forming during the 1190s and the division becoming formal by the beginning of the 13th century. The court became a key part of the Westminster courts, along with the Exchequer of Pleas and the Court of King's Bench, but with the Writ of Quominus and the Statute of Westminster, both tried to extend their jurisdiction into the realm of common pleas. As a result, the courts jockeyed for power. In 1828 Henry Brougham, a Member of Parliament, complained in Parliament that as long as there were three courts unevenness was inevitable, saying that "It is not in the power of the courts, even if all were monopolies and other restrictions done away, to distribute business equally, as long as suitors are left free to choose their own tribunal", and that there would always be a favourite court, which would therefore attract the best lawyers and judges and entrench its position. The outcome was the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1873, under which all the central courts were made part of a single Supreme Court of Judicature. Eventually the government created a High Court of Justice under Lord Coleridge by an Order in Council of 16 December 1880. At this point, the Common Pleas formally ceased to exist.
Sir Richard Warburton was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1601 and 1610.
Eastman's Royal Naval Academy, originally in Southsea and later at Winchester, both in England, was a preparatory school. Between 1855 and 1923 it was known primarily as a school that prepared boys for entry to the Royal Navy. Thereafter, it was renamed Eastman's Preparatory School and continued until the 1940s. According to Jonathan Betts, it was "considered one of the top schools for boys intended for the Navy".
Edward William Grinfield (1785–1864) was an English biblical scholar.
Newcome's School was a fashionable school in Hackney, then to the east of London, founded in the early 18th century. A number of prominent Whig families sent their children there. The school closed in 1815, and the buildings were gutted in 1820. In 1825 the London Orphan Asylum opened on the site. Today the Clapton Girls' Academy is located here.
Sir Thomas Perrot was an Elizabethan courtier, soldier, and Member of Parliament. He campaigned in Ireland and the Low Countries, and was involved in the defence of England against the Spanish Armada. He was imprisoned several times, on one occasion to prevent a duel with Sir Walter Raleigh, and on another occasion because of his secret marriage to Dorothy Devereux, a Lady-in-waiting to the Queen, and sister of the Queen's favourite, the Earl of Essex. Perrot's only daughter, Penelope, married Sir Robert Naunton, author of Fragmenta Regalia, which claimed that Perrot's father, Sir John Perrot, was an illegitimate son of Henry VIII.
Edward of Norfolk or Edward of Brotherton or Edward Plantagenet, was the only son of Thomas of Brotherton, and a grandson of King Edward I of England.
|Parliament of England|
| Member of Parliament for Steyning |
With: Pexall Brocas
| Member of Parliament for Steyning |
With: Sir Walter Waller
Thomas Shirley III
| Member of Parliament for Bramber |
With: Henry Bowyer
| Member of Parliament for Hastings |
With: Richard Lyffe
Sir George Carew
Sir Thomas Bishopp
Sir Thomas Shirley
| Member of Parliament for Steyning |
With: Edward Fraunceys
Sir Thomas Farnfold