Newport, Thomas (DNB00)

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NEWPORT, Sir THOMAS (d. 1522), knight of St. John of Jerusalem, possibly belonged to the family of Newport, living at Newport in Shropshire. He early entered the order of St. John, and became preceptor of Newland and Temple Brewer, and on 10 March 1502–3 he was made Bajulius Aquilæ (Bailiff of the Eagle). He was soon appointed commander of the commanderies of Dalby and Rothley in Leicestershire, and on 2 Sept. 1503 had authority given him to anticipate the revenues of his commandery for three years; he was thus enabled to borrow one hundred marks, which he duly repaid in 1505. The settlements of the knights of St. John in England were little more than rent-collecting agencies, and Sir Thomas Newport was evidently a good man of business. He secured a manor for his order of which they had lost control, and, in reward, on 28 June 1505 a lease of it was granted to his brother Richard, who also seems to have been a member of the order. For some time Sir Thomas Newport filled the very important office of receiver-general for the order in England. Hence he must have lived in London, at St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell, and was well known at court. Under Henry VIII he was often put in the commission of the peace for Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, and his name appears as one of those ready in 1513 to serve the king abroad. He was urgently needed, however, at Rhodes, and set out in the summer of 1513, travelling through Germany to Venice. With him went Sir John Sheffield. At Venice they stayed some time. They had brought letters from Henry VIII, and were received as his ambassadors. A formal audience was granted them by the senate on 3 Sept., and Troian Bollani made a formal report to the senate on 10 Sept. of the slender political information he had derived from them. Newport reached Rhodes before 15 Nov., and stayed there, owing to the directions of Fabricius de Careto, the master of the order, longer than he liked. In 1516 he captured some Turkish transports and brought them into Rhodes. He wrote home occasionally; the last letter preserved was written in 1517, and in it he reports that the Turkish fleet were only forty miles off, while the Rhodians were under four captains, of whom he was one. He subsequently returned home, and attended the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. He set out once more for Rhodes in 1522, and was drowned on the coast of Spain (cf. Brewer, Hist. of Henry VIII, i. 583).

[Letters and Papers, Hen. VIII, vols. i. ii.; Calendar of State Papers, Venetian, 1509–19; Nichols's Leicestershire, iii. 953; Rutland Papers (Camd. Soc.), p. 32; Vertot's Collected Works, vol. viii.; Porter's Knights of Malta, p. 313 and App. The suggestion that there were two contemporary Sir Thomas Newports is not adopted in this article.]

W. A. J. A.