Blount, Thomas (d.1400) (DNB00)

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BLOUNT, Sir THOMAS (d. 1400), supporter of Richard II, was probably the son, by his first wife, of Sir John Blount, who was summoned to parliament in 1327 as Lord Blount of Belton. His father has been identified with the Sir John Blount who was custos or mayor of London from 1301 to 1307, engaged in the Scotch war of 1304, and was afterwards constable of the Tower; but the dates seem to make the identification doubtful (Srow's London, ed. Strype, v. 109; Liber Albus, ed. Riley, 5, 15, &c.). At Richard II's coronation Sir Thomas was deputy for John Hastings, earl of Pembroke, in the office of king's ‘naperer,’ or keeper of his linen, and he was in close attendance on Richard II throughout his reign. At its close he declined to recognise the claim of Henry IV to supersede Richard. After Henry's coronation (6 Oct. 1399) he joined John Holland, earl of Huntingdon, Thomas Holland, earl of Kent, the Earl of Salisbury, the Earl of Rutland, the Abbot of Westminster, and others in an insurrection. Sir Thomas, who is described by contemporary chroniclers as a noble and wise knight, met the leading conspirators at dinner with the Abbot of Westminster 18 Dec. 1399, and there they agreed to surprise Henry at a tournament at Windsor. But Henry discovered the plot through the treachery of the Earl of Rutland, and, summoning an army in London, advanced against the rebels, who had assembled in some hundreds near Windsor. The latter retreated before Henry, and managed to reach Cirencester, where many of them were captured (6 Jan. 1400), but Blount, with a few friends, fled to Oxford, and was taken and executed in the Green Ditch near the city (Wood, Annals of Oxford, ed. Gutch, i. 537). Eleven persons, described as Blount's servants, were condemned to outlawry at Oxford at the same time, and afterwards (19 Feb. 1400) pardoned. The revolting cruelty of Blount's death has been described at great length by many contemporary chroniclers. He was first hanged, then cut down and eviscerated, although still alive and replying to the taunts of Sir Thomas Erpingham, the king's chamberlain, who directed the horrible procedure; he was finally beheaded and quartered, and his head was sent to London. His large estates were forfeited to the crown, but some were bestowed on Sir Walter Blount (d. 1403) [q. v.], a distant relative, and his wife Sancha. With Sir Thomas Blount the Belton line of the Blount family became extinct.

Sir Thomas's cousin Nicholas, who aided him in the insurrection, escaped to Italy, and was outlawed. He entered the service of Galeazzo Visconti, duke of Milan, and fought with the Milanese against Rupert, emperor of Germany, from 1401 to 1404. He returned to England in 1404, and lived in concealment till Henry IV's death in 1413. On his return to this country he assumed the name of Croke. He married Agnes, daughter of John Heynes, by whom he became the ancestor of Sir John Croke [q. v.] and of Sir George Croke [q. v.]

[Lingard's History, iii. 201–2; Wylie's History of England under Henry IV, i. 206; Rymer's Fœdera, viii. 165; Sir Alexander Croke's History of the Croke Family, i. 123–38, 387 et seq.; Archæologia, xx. 215; Waurin's Recueil des Chroniques, 1399–1422, pp. 40–4 (where a very full account of Blount's execution is given).]

S. L. L.