Wharton, Thomas (1495?-1568) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 60
Wharton, Thomas (1495?-1568)

by Albert Frederick Pollard
1904 Errata appended.
Contains subarticle Thomas, second Baron Wharton (1520–1572).

WHARTON, THOMAS, first Baron Wharton (1495?–1568), born about 1495, was the eldest son and heir of Thomas Wharton, by his wife Agnes, daughter of Reynold or Reginald Warcup of Snydale, Yorkshire. The Whartons had held the manor of Wharton, on the river Eden, ‘beyond the date of any records extant’ (Camden, Britannia, p. 988); the first lord's great-grandfather, Thomas, represented Appleby in parliament in 1436–7; his grandfather, Henry Wharton, held Wharton of the Cliffords in 1452, and married Alice, daughter of Sir John Conyers of Hornby; his father, Thomas, appears to have been clerk of the wars with Scotland, and to have died about 1520. The young Thomas was soon initiated into the methods of border warfare, and in April 1522 served on a raiding expedition into Scotland. On 10 Feb. 1523–4 he was placed on the commission for the peace in Cumberland, and on 20 June 1527 he is said to have been knighted at Windsor, but the first occasion on which he is so styled in contemporary documents is on 30 June 1531. To the ‘Reformation’ parliament that met on 3 Nov. 1529, Wharton was returned for Appleby, but on the 9th he was pricked for sheriff of Cumberland (Letters and Papers, iv. 2691; Lists of Sheriffs, 1898, p. 28). On 30 June 1531 he was appointed commissioner for redress of outrages on the borders, and from this time onwards occurs in innumerable commissions for the same and similar purposes (State Papers, Henry VIII, vols. iv. v. passim). On 6 Feb. 1531–2 he was made justice of the peace for the East Riding of Yorkshire, and on 19 March for Northumberland, and he was almost invariably included in the commissions for Cumberland and Westmorland. In 1532 he appears to have been captain of Cockermouth, and, as comptroller, was associated with the Earl of Northumberland in the government of the marches, in which capacity he was said to ‘do the king great service by his wise counsel and experience.’ On 29 June 1534 Northumberland recommended Wharton's appointment as captain of Carlisle, ‘seeing as ye know his is mine own hand,’ and on 9 July he was commissioned to inquire into the ‘treasons’ of William, third baron Dacre of Gillesland, against Northumberland; Dacre was brought to trial, but acquitted by his peers. On 22 Nov. 1535 Wharton was again appointed sheriff of Cumberland (Lists of Sheriffs, p. 28).

During the northern rebellions of 1536 Wharton, in spite of family pressure and the risks which loyalty entailed, remained faithful to Henry VIII. In October 1536 the rebels marched on his house at Kirkby Stephen to force Wharton to join them, but he had escaped and joined Norfolk, under whom he served during the troubles; he was one of the king's representatives at the conference at York on 24 Nov., with Aske and his followers. His appointment as warden of the west marches was suggested as a reward for his services; but Norfolk thought that he ‘would not serve well as a warden,’ and recommended Henry Clifford, first earl of Cumberland, for the post. Wharton was, however, on 28 June 1537 appointed deputy warden, and in the same year was acting as a visitor of monasteries in Cumberland (Gasquet, ii. 185). He seems to have been disliked by the older nobility as one of the ‘new’ men on whom the Tudors relied; the Musgraves ‘did not love him,’ the Dacres and Cliffords were persistently hostile, and on 11 Jan. 1538–9 Robert Holgate [q. v.], bishop of Llandaff and president of the council of the north, reported that Wharton did ‘good service, is diligent, and discreet. It were a pity that the disdain of his neighbours should discourage him’ (Letters and Papers, XIV. i. 50). On 17 Nov. 1539 he was for the third time appointed sheriff of Cumberland; on 14 May 1541 he sent Henry an account of the state of Scotland, and on 22 Oct. the king ordered him to revenge the burning of some barns near Bewcastle by the Scots; two days later he added the captaincy of Carlisle to his office of deputy warden, and on 3 Jan. 1541–2 he was returned to parliament as knight of the shire for Cumberland.

During 1542 both English and Scots were preparing for war, and Wharton laid before Henry a scheme for raiding Scotland and seizing the person of James V at Lochmaben (State Papers, v. 205). The council, however, disapproved of the idea, and Wharton contented himself with burning Dumfries on 5 Oct., and on 23 Nov., with another ‘warden's rode,’ i.e. a day's foray, doing as much damage as he could in the time. Meanwhile the Scots had planned an extensive invasion of the west marches, of which Wharton was kept hourly informed by his spies. At supper on the 23rd he received definite information of an attack impending on the morrow. The Scots were said to be fourteen, or even twenty, thousand strong, while Wharton could only muster a few hundreds. With these he watched the progress of the Scots over the Esk during the 24th; towards evening he attacked their left; under the incompetent Oliver Sinclair [q. v.], the Scots got entangled in Solway Moss at the mouth of the river. Enormous numbers, including many nobles, were taken prisoners, slain, or drowned, while the English loss was trifling. Wharton's official report of the battle to the Earl of Hertford, recently discovered among the papers at Longleat, is printed in the ‘Hamilton Papers’ (1890, vol. i. pp. lxxxiii–vi), and differs materially from Froude's account, which is based on Knox (Works, ed. Laing, i. 85–9).

In the following year Wharton was occupied with numerous forays into Scotland, and with intrigues to win over disaffected Scots nobles and obtain control of the south-west of Scotland. For his services in these matters and at Solway Moss he was early in 1543–4 raised to the peerage as Baron Wharton. The fact that his patent was not enrolled and could not be found led to the assumption that he was created by writ of summons to parliament from 30 Jan. 1544–5 to 30 Sept. 1566, in which case the barony would descend to his heirs general and not merely to his heirs male, as in the case of creation by patent; and in 1843–4 Charles Kemeys-Tynte, a descendant in the female line, laid claim to the barony, which was considered extinct since the outlawry of Philip, duke of Wharton [q. v.], on 3 April 1729. The House of Lords decided that this outlawry was illegal, and, assuming the barony to have been created by writ, declared Kemeys-Tynte heir to a third part of the barony (Courthope, Peerage, p. 509). There is, however, no doubt that the barony was created by patent; on 20 March 1543–4 Hertford wrote to Henry VIII that he had on the 18th at Newcastle delivered to Wharton the king's letters patent, creating him a baron (Hamilton Papers, ii. 303; Academy, 1896, i. 489; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage, viii. 124, 130; cf. Hatfield MSS. i. 27, 28), and the decision of the House of Lords was therefore erroneous.

Throughout 1544, after acting as commissioner to draw up terms with the disaffected Scots for an English invasion, and being refused leave to accompany Henry to France on the ground that he could not be spared from the marches, Wharton kept guard at Carlisle while Hertford captured Edinburgh. Border forays and intrigues with Angus, Glencairn, Maxwell, and other Scottish peers, who professed to desire the marriage of the young Queen Mary to Prince Edward, afforded Wharton active employment for the rest of Henry VIII's reign. With the accession of Edward VI a great effort was made by Somerset to complete the marriage between Mary and the young king, and a pretext for his invasion was afforded by a Scottish raid in March 1546–7. On the 24th the council asked Wharton for two despatches, one giving an exact account of the raid, the other magnifying the number of raiders and towns pillaged. The latter was intended to justify English reprisals in the eyes of the French king and prevent his giving aid to the Scots (Acts P. C. 1547–50, p. 461; Selve, Corr. Pol. p. 124). In September following, while Somerset invaded Scotland from Berwick, Wharton and the Earl of Lennox created a diversion by an incursion on the west. They left Carlisle on the 9th, with two thousand foot and five hundred horse, and on the 10th captured Milk Castle; on the following day Annan, and on the 12th Dronok, surrendered, but on the 14th they returned to Carlisle, explaining their lack of further success by want of victual and ordnance. Wharton was excused attendance at the ensuing session of parliament, his presence being needed on the borders.

In the autumn William, thirteenth baron Grey de Wilton [q. v.], was appointed warden of the east marches, but his relations with Wharton were strained, and led eventually to a challenge from Henry Wharton to Grey, though Somerset on 6 Oct. 1549 forbade a duel. This want of harmony probably contributed to the failure of their joint invasion of Scotland in February 1547–8. Wharton and Lennox left Carlisle on the 20th, sending on Henry Wharton to burn Drumlanrig and Durisdeer. Wharton himself occupied Dumfries and Lochmaben, but on the 23rd a body of ‘assured’ Scots under Maxwell, who accompanied Henry Wharton, changed sides, joined Angus, and compelled Henry Wharton, with his cavalry, to escape across the mountains. News was brought to Carlisle that the whole expedition had perished, and Grey, who had penetrated as far as Haddington, retreated. In reality the Scots, after their defeat of Henry Wharton, were themselves repulsed by his father; many were captured or killed, but Wharton was forced to retreat, and Dumfries again fell into Scottish hands. In revenge for Maxwell's treason, Wharton hanged his pledges at Carlisle, and thus initiated a lasting feud between the Whartons and the Maxwells.

After Somerset's fall in October 1549 Wharton's place as warden was taken by his rival, Lord Dacre; but early in 1550 Wharton was appointed a commissioner to arrange terms of peace with Scotland and afterwards to divide the debatable land; he was one of the peers who tried and condemned Somerset on 1 Dec. 1551. On 8 March 1551–2 the council effected a reconciliation between Wharton and Dacre; and when, in the following summer, Northumberland secured his own appointment as lord-warden-general, Wharton was on 31 July nominated his deputy-warden of the three marches (Royal MS. 18 C. xxiv. f. 246 b). On Edward VI's death Dacre sided at once with Mary, and it was reported that Wharton was arming against him. If Wharton ever had this intention he quickly abandoned it, and Mary, affecting at least to disbelieve the accusations against him, continued him in the office of warden, while his eldest son became one of the queen's trusted confidants. Dacre was, however, appointed warden of the west marches, Wharton continuing in the east and middle marches, and residing mainly at Alnwick. Wharton's own sympathies were conservative in religious matters; he had voted against the act of 1548–9 enabling priests to marry, against that of 1549 for the destruction of the old service books, and against the second act of uniformity in 1552, though he had acted as chantry commissioner under the dissolution act of 1547 (Leach, English Schools at the Reformation, ii. 185).

In spite of advancing years, Wharton retained his wardenry throughout Mary's reign, the Earl of Northumberland being joined with him on 1 Aug. 1557 when fresh trouble with the Scots was imminent owing to the war with France. In the parliament of January 1557–8 a bill was introduced into the House of Lords for punishing the behaviour of the Earl of Cumberland's servants and tenants towards Wharton, but it did not get beyond the first reading. In June 1560 Norfolk, then lieutenant-general of the north, strongly urged Wharton's appointment as captain of Berwick, as likely to ‘prevent all misfortunes that might fall,’ his restoration to the west marches being impossible because of his feud with Maxwell, who was now friendly to the English (Hatfield MSS. i. 200, 229). The recommendation was apparently not adopted, either because of Wharton's age, or because he was rendered suspect by his son's conduct. He saw no further service, died at Helaugh on 23 or 24 Aug. 1568, and was buried there on 22 Sept. His will was proved at York on 7 April 1570, and there are monuments to him at Helaugh and Kirkby Stephen, where he founded a grammar school (Chetwynd-Stapylton, The Stapletons of Yorkshire, pp. 215–16).

Wharton was twice married: first, before 4 July 1518, to Eleanor, daughter of Sir Bryan Stapleton of Wighill, near Helaugh; and, secondly, on 18 Nov. 1561, to Anne, second daughter of Francis Talbot, fifth earl of Shrewsbury [q. v.], by whom he had no issue. By his first wife he had (1) Thomas, second baron (see below); (2) Sir Henry Wharton, a dashing leader of horse, who served in many border raids, was knighted on 23 Feb. 1547–8 for his services during the expedition to Durisdeer, led the horse to the relief of Haddington in July 1548, and died without issue about 1550, having married Jane, daughter of Thomas Mauleverer, and afterwards wife of Robert, sixth baron Ogle; (3) Joanna, wife of William Penington of Muncaster, ancestor of the Barons Muncaster; (4) Agnes, wife of Sir Richard Musgrave.

The eldest son Thomas, second Baron Wharton (1520–1572), born in 1520, also saw much service on the borders, and was knighted by Hertford at Norham on 23 Sept. 1545. He was returned to parliament for Cumberland on 27 Jan. 1544–5, 28 Sept. 1547, and 26 Sept. 1553, for Hedon, Yorkshire, to the parliament summoned to meet on 2 April 1554, and for Northumberland, where his father was warden of the east marches, on 10 Oct. 1555, and again for that county as well as for Yorkshire to the parliament summoned to meet on 20 Jan. 1557–8. On 27 Nov. 1547 he was made sheriff of Cumberland, and in February following was left as deputy at Carlisle during his father's invasion of Scotland. In 1552 he is said to have become steward of the Princess Mary's household; that he had become obnoxious to Northumberland may be assumed from the fact that he was excluded from the parliament of March 1552–3. Early in July he was with Mary at Kenninghall, and escorted her thence to Framlingham Castle; upon her accession he became master of the henchmen, was sworn of the privy council, and throughout the reign rarely missed attending its meetings. Mary rewarded him with the grant of Newhall, Boreham, and other manors in Essex; but on Elizabeth's accession he was excluded from parliament and the privy council, and in April 1561 was imprisoned for a time in the Tower for hearing mass. He succeeded as second Baron Wharton on 23 Aug. 1568, but died on 14 June 1572, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. He married, in May 1547, Anne, daughter of Robert Radcliffe, first earl of Sussex [q. v.], by his second wife, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Stanley, second earl of Derby. The ceremony was ‘appointed’ by Protector Somerset to take place at Lady Derby's house ‘a month after Easter’ (10 April 1547); to raise her dower Sussex sold Radcliffe Tower and other Lancashire estates. She died at Newhall on 7 June 1561, and was buried in the parish church at Boreham (Harl. MS. 897, f. 18; Machyn, p. 259). By her Wharton had issue Philip Wharton, third baron (1555–1625), grandfather of Philip, fourth baron Wharton [q. v.]; Thomas; Mary; and Anne.

[Wharton's life on the borders can be traced in minutest detail in the Hamilton Papers, 2 vols. 1890, the index to which contains seven columns of references to him; in the Cal. State Papers, Dom. Addenda, 1547–65, the addenda for Edward VI's reign consisting mainly of Wharton's correspondence; in Thorpe's Cal. of Scottish State Papers (2 vols. 1858); in Bain's Calendar, 1898, vol. i.; in Brewer and Gairdner's Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, and in the Acts of the Privy Council, 1542–68, in which the references to Wharton are almost as numerous. See also State Papers, Henry VIII, 10 vols. 1830–41; Sadleir State Papers; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80; Hatfield MS. vol. i.; Corr. Pol. de Odet de Selve (indexed s.v. ‘Warthon’); Cal. For. State Papers, 1547–68; Lords' Journals; Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. pp. 123–124, 3rd Rep. p. 47, 4th Rep. passim, 5th Rep. p. 308; Lit. Rem. of Edward VI (Roxburghe Club); Wriothesley's Chron., Machyn's Diary, Chron. Queen Jane (Camden Soc.); Official Returns of Members of Parl.; Cotton MSS. Caligula B, iii, vii, and ix passim; Harl. MSS. 806 art. 49, 1233 art. 42, 1529 art. 49; Lansd. MS. cclx. art. 148; Addit. MSS. 32646 sqq. passim; Burnet's Hist. of the Reformation, ed. Pocock; Strype's Works (General Index); Froude's Hist. of England; Chetwynd-Stapylton's Stapletons of Yorkshire, passim; Visit. Yorkshire, 1564 (Harl. Soc.); Nicolson and Burns's Hist. of Cumberland, pp. 558–9; Hutchinson's Cumberland; Burke's Extinct and G. E C[okayne]'s Peerages; E. R. Wharton's Whartons of Wharton Hall, 1898.]

A. F. P.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.278
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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416 i 32 Wharton, Thomas, 1st Baron Wharton: for Heydon read Hedon