Soulemont, Thomas (DNB00)

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SOULEMONT, SOLEMAN, or SOLME, THOMAS (d. 1541), French secretary to Henry VIII, a member of a prominent Guernsey and Jersey family (cf. Duncan, Hist. of Guernsey, p. 37), is said to have been born at Guernsey (Wood), but was more probably a native of Jersey (cf. Letters and Papers, ed. Gairdner, x. 226, g. 10, XIII. i. g. 190. 17). According to Wood he was educated at Oxford, and then entered the king's service. As a native of Jersey he was naturally a good French scholar, and before October 1532 he was appointed secretary of the French tongue to the king. In that month Nicholas Hawkins [q. v.] wished to take Soulemont with him on his embassy to Charles V, but Soulemont's services were required by Henry VIII in his interview with Francis at Calais. On 23 July 1534 he was collated to the prebend of Moreton Magna in Hereford Cathedral (Le Neve, i. 515, gives his name as ‘Colemount’), and on 25 April 1537 to the prebend of Knaresborough in York Cathedral. About the same time he became secretary to Cromwell, and in 1540 he was clerk of the parliaments. On 5 Jan. 1538–9 Thomas Wriothesley (afterwards first Earl of Southampton) [q. v.] received license to alienate to Soulemont the manors of Forwood and Fowey, Cornwall. On 13 July 1539 he was granted a lease of some buildings on the site of Greyfriars, London, and on 13 Dec. following he received the nunnery of Canonleigh, with the tithes of Hokeforde rectory and Burlescombe church, Devonshire. He died on 12 July 1541, his heir being his brother John Soulemont, aged forty years (Inquisitio post mortem, 35 Henry VIII, No. 212). His successor as clerk of the parliaments was (Sir) William Paget (afterwards first Baron Paget) [q. v.] Many of the ‘Letters and Papers of Henry VIII,’ calendared by Mr. Gairdner, are in Soulemont's handwriting, and letters between him, Wriothesley, Cromwell, and other statesmen of the time are among the state papers. Soulemont is also said to have been a learned antiquary. A work by him entitled ‘Select Antiquities relating to Britaine’ is quoted in Harrison's ‘Description of Britain,’ prefixed to the 1586 edition of Holinshed, p. 32, but neither it nor ‘The Acts and Ghests of St. Thomas of Canterbury,’ also attributed to Soulemont, is known to be extant or to have been printed. Leland has verses to Soulemont in his ‘Encomia Principum et Illustrium Virorum,’ ed. 1589, p. 31. Soulemont has invariably been confused with Thomas Some or Solme [q. v.]

[State Papers Henry VIII, vols. i. iii. vii. and viii. passim; Gairdner's Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, vols. v. xiii. xiv. and xv. passim; Bale, ix. 32; Wood's Athenæ, i. 149; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, i. 515, iii. 197; Tanner's Bibl. s.v. ‘Sulmo;’ Corr. de Marillac, p. 93; Dodd's Church Hist. i. 204.]

A. F. P.