|Sheriff of the City of London|
|Lord Mayor of London|
1596 –30 December 1596
|Preceded by||Stephen Slaney|
|Succeeded by||Henry Billingsley|
Saffron Walden, Essex
|Died||30 December 1596|
Thomas Skinner (died 30 December 1596) was a master of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers and a London Alderman. He was elected Sheriff in 1587 and Lord Mayor of London in 1596. He gave to several hospitals in and about London.
The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1528, formed by the amalgamation of its two predecessor companies, the Fullers and the Shearmen. It succeeded to the position of the Shearmen's Company and thus ranks twelfth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies of the City of London.
An alderman is a member of a municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions founded upon English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of a borough or county council, a council member chosen by the elected members themselves rather than by popular vote, or a council member elected by voters.
The Lord Mayor of London is the City of London's mayor and leader of the City of London Corporation. Within the City, the Lord Mayor is accorded precedence over all individuals except the sovereign and retains various traditional powers, rights and privileges, including the title and style The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of London.
Skinner was the son of John Skinner, of Saffron Waldron, and married Blanche, daughter of William Watson, merchant to Queen Elizabeth I.
Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.
In 1588 Skinner was Sheriff, conjointly with John Catcher, and succeeded Catcher in the Aldermanry of Cripplegate when Catcher was discharged due to financial difficulties. Skinner removed from Bishopsgate, where he had been elected 28 September, master of the Clothworkers Company, 1584.
Shortly after the month of November, 1588, Alderman Skinner was detained in custody for disobedience to an Order of the Queen-in-Council, and was suspected to be one of those that upon retirement out of the City of London, or some other cause, refused to contribute what was allotted him towards Her Majesty's loan from the City.
The City of London is a city and county that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the agglomeration has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London; however, the City of London is not a London borough, a status reserved for the other 32 districts. It is also a separate county of England, being an enclave surrounded by Greater London. It is the smallest county in the United Kingdom.
In 1596 Queen Elizabeth interfered with the ordinary course of election of the Lord Mayor as will be seen by a "Letter (dated 1st Sept., 1596) from the Aldermen to Mr. Alderman Skinner informing him of Her Majesty's desire that Mr. Alderman Billingsley should not be elected to the office of Lord Mayor for the following year, and requesting him to repair to London not later than the 7th or 9th of September to confer with them touching his election to that office",which he accordingly did, and was elected Lord Mayor, but died in office on 30 December of the same year.
Sir Henry Billingsley was an English merchant, Lord Mayor of London and the first translator of Euclid into English.
During Skinner's year of office the City was threatened with a famine. The citizens generally were in a poverty-stricken state, so much so that many who had been well off had to considerably reduce their expenditure, whilst others had to relinquish their trades and break up their households; and although wheat was offered at a very moderate price, many were too poor to purchase any.At this time the Queen applied to the City to provide ten ships as part of the City's contribution towards the Anglo-Spanish War. Earlier in the year the Queen had made demands upon the Londoners for soldiers to assist her to reinforce the town of Flushing in the Netherlands, which as usual had been complied with, but the demand for ships at the close of the year had to be refused. The City's reply to the Queen's Council set forth the utter inability of the citizens, however ever willing they might be, to supply more ships. "They had already expended on sea service alone, and irrespective of their disbursements in 1588 [the Armada year] no less a sum than 100,000 marks within the last few years, so that the Lords of the Council would see that the citizens had not been wanting in good will and affection towards that service". The City was in debt to the extent of £14,000, and so were quite unable to assist the Queen.
The Spanish Armada was a Habsburg Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed from A Coruña in late May 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. The strategic aim was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and her establishment of Protestantism in England, with the expectation that this would put a stop to English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and to the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering.
In his will, Skinner left the sum of £20 to the Clothworkers Company for a dinner after attending his funeral, and to the several hospitals in and about London £120 to be equally divided among them. He was also a liberal benefactor to Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
John Stow says that he was buried in the Church of St. Mary Magdalen, Milk Street, and that a handsome monument erected to his memory bore the following inscription:—"Here lieth ye Corpes of Thomas Skynner late Citizen & Alderman of London, borne at Saffron Walden in Essex who in the 65 yeare of his age & on the 30 day of Decebr A Dm 1596 being then Lo Mayor of this Citye deptd this Life leaving behinde him 3 Sonnes & 3 daughters."
Two of his sons, John and Thomas, were knighted on the coronation of James I, at Whitehall, 23 July 1603.
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