Thomas Snagge

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Thomas Snagge (1536–1593) was a Member of Parliament, barrister and landowner who served as Speaker of the English House of Commons, Attorney General for Ireland and as Queen's Sergeant. [1]

Barrister lawyer specialized in court representation in Wales, England and some other jurisdictions

A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, researching the philosophy, hypothesis and history of law, and giving expert legal opinions. Often, barristers are also recognised as legal scholars.

Landed gentry largely historical British social class, consisting of land owners who could live entirely off rental income

The landed gentry, or simply the gentry, is a largely historical British social class consisting in theory of landowners who could live entirely from rental income, or at least had a country estate. It was distinct from, and socially "below", the aristocracy or peerage, although in fact some of the landed gentry were wealthier than some peers, and many gentry were related to peers. They often worked as administrators of their own lands, while others became public, political, religious, and armed forces figures. The decline of this privileged class largely stemmed from the 1870s agricultural depression; however, there are still a large number of hereditary gentry in the UK to this day, many of whom transferred their landlord style management skills after the agricultural depression into the business of land agency, the act of buying and selling land.


Snagge was born in 1536 in Letchworth. [1] He was the son of Thomas Snagge, the prosperous lord of the manor of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire. He studied law at Gray's Inn, and after being called to the bar in 1554 practiced law in London.

Letchworth town and former civil parish in Hertfordshire, England

Letchworth Garden City, commonly known as Letchworth, is a town in Hertfordshire, England, with a population of 33,600. It is a former civil parish.

Lord of the manor title from the feudal system of manorialism

In English and Irish history, the lordship of a manor is a lordship emanating from the feudal system of manorialism. In modern England and Wales, it is recognised as a form of property, one of three elements of a manor that may exist separately or be combined, and may be held in moieties:

  1. the title ;
  2. the manorial, comprising the manor and/or its land; and
  3. the seignory, rights granted to the titular holder of the manor.
Bedfordshire County of England

Bedfordshire is a county in the East of England. It is a ceremonial county and a historic county, covered by three unitary authorities: Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, and Luton.

Snagge was elected as a knight of the shire for Bedfordshire in 1571. He was chosen by Queen Elizabeth to be Attorney General for Ireland and held this appointment from 1577 to 1580. [1] The Queen chose him because "the public service had been not a little hindered through the default and insufficiency of m the [Irish] law officers" and "her Majesty thought that a person well-chosen in England might be sent over". [2] Snagge as it turned out was not particularly well-chosen: he disliked living in Ireland and, according to a modern writer, his official correspondence is simply a long list of complaints. [3] In particular, he complained of the inefficiency of the Master of the Rolls in Ireland, Nicholas White, and went so far as to make an official complaint against him to the Privy Council of England. In 1580 he was appointed a Serjeant-at-law (Ireland). [4]

Knight of the shire was the formal title for a member of parliament (MP) representing a county constituency in the British House of Commons, from its origins in the medieval Parliament of England until the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 ended the practice of each county forming a single constituency. The corresponding titles for other MPs were burgess in a borough constituency and baron for a Cinque Ports constituency. Knights of the shire had more prestige than burgesses, and sitting burgesses often stood for election for the shire in the hope of increasing their standing in Parliament.

Bedfordshire was a United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency, which elected two Members of Parliament from 1295 until 1885, when it was divided into two constituencies under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885.

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 1603

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 1586 Snagge was again returned as one of the members of parliament for Bedfordshire and in 1589 for the borough of Bedford. In 1589 he was elected as Speaker of the House of Commons and in 1590 was promoted to Queen's Serjeant. As well as owning several manors in Bedfordshire, his home seat was at Marston Moretaine. [5]

Bedford (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1997 onwards

Bedford is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since the 2017 general election by Mohammad Yasin of the Labour Party. The seat dates to the earliest century of regular parliaments, in 1295; its double representation was halved in 1885, then being altered by the later-termed Third Reform Act in 1918.

Moreteyne Manor

Moreteyne Manor (previously known as Moat Farmhouse} is a 15th-century manor house in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, England. For many years it was used as a farmhouse but is now a country house restaurant. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Snagge died in 1593 and was entombed in St Mary's Church, Marston Moretaine, where an alabaster tomb carrying effigies of him and his wife survives. [5] He had married Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of Thomas Dickons of Marston Moretaine; they had five sons and two daughters. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas, also a member of parliament (for Bedford in 1586).

Alabaster Lightly colored, translucent, and soft calcium minerals, typically gypsum

Alabaster is a mineral or rock that is soft, often used for carving, and is processed for plaster powder. Archaeologists and the stone processing industry use the word differently from geologists. The former use is in a wider sense that includes varieties of two different minerals: the fine-grained massive type of gypsum and the fine-grained banded type of calcite. Geologists define alabaster only as the gypsum type. Chemically, gypsum is a hydrous sulfate of calcium, while calcite is a carbonate of calcium.

Sir Thomas Snagge of Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, was an English Member of Parliament and High Sheriff.

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  1. 1 2 3 Bedfordshire Library Website, Local Biographies - Thomas Snagge, Accessed 3 January 2009
  2. Hart, A. R. History of the King's Serjeants-at-law in Ireland (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2000)
  3. Casey, James The Irish Law Officers (Dublin: Round Hall Sweet and Maxwell, 1996)
  4. Hart The King's Serjeant-at-law in Ireland
  5. 1 2 A History of Moreteyne Manor - Moreteyne Manor website, Accessed 3 January 2009
Parliament of England
Preceded by
John St John
Lewis Mordaunt
Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire
With: George Rotheram
Succeeded by
George Rotheram
Sir Henry Cheyne
Preceded by
George Rotheram
Nicholas Luke
Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire
With: George Rotheram
Succeeded by
Oliver St John
Edward Radclyffe
Preceded by
William Boteler
Thomas Snagge jnr
Member of Parliament for Bedford
With: John Pigott
Succeeded by
John Pigott
Humphrey Winch
Political offices
Preceded by
John Puckering
Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Edward Coke