Sir Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh of Gainsborough

Sir Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh of Gainsborough

Sir Thomas Burgh (pronounced: Borough), 1st Baron Burgh of Gainsborough KG (c. 1431[1] – 18 March 1496[2]) was an English peer. Sir Thomas was the son of Thomas Burgh and Elizabeth Percy, daughter of Sir Henry of Athol Percy (grandson of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland and Margaret Neville). Sir Henry of Athol’s mother was Elizabeth Strathbogie, the daughter of David of Strathbogie, titular 12th Earl of Atholl (d. 10 October 1369) and his wife Elizabeth Ferrers. David was also the de jure Earl of Strathbogi; a title that would pass to the Baron Burgh’s as Baron Strabolgi.[2][3]

The family sprang from Hubert de Burgh, younger son of Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent and his wife Beatrice de Warrenne, daughter of William de Warrenne, Lord of Wormegay, and Beatrice de Pierrepont.[4] The Burghs were rich, flamboyant and powerful people. Thomas was in great favour with the King as many offices, positions, land grants, and pensions were bestowed upon him. Thomas was Esquire of the Body to King Edward IV and by Christmas 1462, Thomas was created a Knight by the King and a Privy Councillor. Sir Thomas slowly became the King’s chief man in Lincolnshire where he held manors, land, tenemants from Northumberland (from his mother’s inheritance, which he shared with her sister Margaret, Baroness Grey of Codnor) through Westmorland, Yorkshire, and Lincolnshire, down to his wife’s dower lands in Somerset. Thomas became a rich man who was backed by the King and soon found himself giving advice and legal help to the people of Lincolnshire as well as becoming their Sheriff and representative in Parliament.

It was Sir Thomas Burgh with Sir Thomas Stanley who rescued King Edward IV from the Earl of Warwick whom the Earl had kept prisoner in his castle of Middleham. In 1471, when Edward IV reclaimed his throne it was Sir Thomas who was first to rally to his side. Sir Thomas fought at the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury.(Sir Bernard Burke. A genealogical history of the dormant, abeyant, forfeited, and extinct peerages of the British empire. Harrison, 1866. pg 90.)

After the unexpected death of Edward IV, Sir Thomas was courted by King Richard III who made Thomas a Knight of the Garter. Thomas initially support King Richard, but was more interested in securing the future of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who would become King in 1485. Sir Thomas was part of the Battle of Bosworth, but his role was kept silent by chroniclers and he soon found himself in the King’s graces. After his accession to the throne, King Henry confirmed Thomas as Knight of the Body and Privy Councillor. It was King Henry VII who, on 1September 1487, created Thomas the first Baron Burgh of Gainsborough.[9]

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In 1460, Sir Thomas built the great Old Hall in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. Gainsborough Old Hall was not only their home, but also a demonstration of their wealth and importance. Sir Thomas was a great benefactor to Newark Church and also the founder of the Chantry and Alms House at Gainsborough. In 1470, the manor was attacked by Sir Robert Welles over a clash about lands, status, and honour, but it was not severely damaged. It was in 1484 that Sir Thomas entertained King Richard III in his hall. Today, the Hall with its elaborate timber roof survives as well as the kitchen — possibly the most complete medieval kitchen in England. The Hall is over five hundred years old and one of the best preserved medieval manor houses in England.[5]


Sir Thomas married Margaret de Ros (1432-1488) widow of William Botreaux, 3rd Baron Bocastle. Margaret was the daughter of Sir Thomas de Ros, 9th Baron de Ros and Lady Eleanor Beauchamp, second daughter of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick and Elizabeth Berkeley. Lady Eleanor was an older paternal half-sister of Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick and Anne Neville, Countess of Warwick. After the death of the 9th Baron Ros, Margaret’s mother, Lady Eleanor, married Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset thus making Margaret a maternal half-sister of the 3rd and 4th Duke of Somerset.[6][7]
Sir Thomas and Margaret had the following children:

  • Sir Edward Burgh, 2nd Baron Burgh, married the Hon. Anne Cobham, daughter of Sir Thomas Cobham, 5th Baron Cobham and Lady Anne Stafford and had issue.[7] His grandson, Sir Edward Burgh, would marry Katherine Parr, later Queen consort to King Henry VIII.[8]
  • Hon. Elizabeth Burgh (d. 1 August 1507), married Richard FitzHugh, 6th Lord FitzHugh [brother of Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh; therefore the queen’s paternal great-grand uncle] and secondly Sir Henry Willoughby.[7]
  • Hon. Margaret Burgh (d. before April 1493), married Sir George Tailboys.[7]
  • Hon. Thomas Burgh[7]
  • Hon. Anne Burgh[7]

Lord Thomas died on 18 March 1496. He was buried next to his wife, Margaret, in the family vault in Holy Trinity Church, Gainsborough. His son, Edward succeeded him in title as the 2nd Baron Burgh of Gainsborough, but was never called to Parliament as such. Lord Thomas’s grandson by Edward, was created 1st Baron Burgh in a new creation in 1529.[9]


  1. ^ Charles Mosley, editor, Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke’s Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 587.
  2. ^ a b George Edward Cokayne. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Vol. II. p. 422.
  3. ^ G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I, page 308.
  4. ^ Sir Bernard Burke. A genealogical history of the dormant, abeyant, forfeited, and extinct peerages of the British empire. Harrison, 1866. pg 90.
  5. ^ John Julius Norwich. Treasures of Britain; the architectural, cultural, historical and natural heritage of Britain. W. W. Norton & Company, 2002. pg 262.
  6. ^ George Edward Cokayne. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Vol. II, p. 422.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 503.
  8. ^ Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen. Macmillan. 2010. pg 49, 53.
  9. ^ Charles Mosley, editor, Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke’s Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 587.
© Meg McGath, 6 March 2011

Author: tudorqueen6

Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown." Meg has also done extensive research on the massive jewels and tiara collection of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty's collection was built starting with Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenberg, wife of King George III, and grandmother of Queen Victoria. Meg is now putting together a separate blog that coincides with her Tudor Wiki contributions which started in 2007.

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