Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Urswick, Thomas

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URSWICK, Sir THOMAS (d. 1479), judge, was apparently son of Thomas Urswick of Badsworth and Uprawcliff, and was related to Christopher Urswick [q. v.] He was educated in the study of law, but at what inn is not known. On 27 June 1453 he was appointed common serjeant of London, and on 3 Oct. 1455 became recorder. Like most London citizens, he sided with the Yorkists in the wars of the roses, and in July 1460, after the arrival of Warwick and Edward, earl of March (afterwards Edward IV), in London, Urswick was placed on a commission to try Lancastrian partisans at the Guildhall (Rot. Parl. vi. 19). Similarly, when Margaret of Anjou had won the second battle of St. Albans (17 Feb. 1460– 1461), he was sent by the lord mayor to Barnet to excuse the delay of the citizens in sending her supplies. He was elected member for London to Edward IV's parliaments in 1461 and 1467. On 14 June 1461 he was placed on a commission for gaol delivery, and on 8 June 1463 on a commission of oyer and terminer for London. He frequently sat on similar commissions in the succeeding years (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1461–7 passim). In 1471, on Edward IV's return after Warwick's rebellion, Urswick secretly admitted him to the city of London (Warkworth, pp. 15, 21), and after the battle of Tewkesbury (4 May) vigorously opposed Fauconberg's attack on the city (Sharpe, London and the Kingdom, i. 298, 313, 316, 317). As a reward he was knighted on 14 June following, and on 22 May 1472 was appointed chief baron of the exchequer. The promotion was a recompense for political services, and Urswick's legal attainments appear to have been insignificant. His name does not occur in the year-books before his elevation to the bench, and only appears in the judgments of the exchequer in four terms during the eight years he held the chief-justiceship. He died in 1479, and was buried in the chancel of Dagenham church, Essex. By his first wife, whose maiden name was Needham, Urswick had issue one daughter, who became a nun. His second wife was Anne, daughter of Richard Rich (d. 1469), a rich merchant of London, and great-grandfather of Richard, first baron Rich [q. v.] By her Urswick had issue four sons and eight daughters, of whom all but five daughters predeceased him. His widow married in 1482 John Palmer of Otford, Kent.

[A full memoir, with references to original authorities, is given in Urwick's Records of the Family of Urswick or Urwick, 1893; see also Foss's Lives of the Judges and authorities cited.]

A. F. P.