Thomas Pudsey

Thomas Pudsey was baptized on 24 Mar 1607/08 in Sutton Coldfield but lived most of his life in Seisdon, near Wolverhampton. He was the son of Nicholas Pudsey of Harborne and Catherine, daughter of Raphael Norman, vicar of Harborne. This was a cadet branch of the gentry Pudsey family of Langley Hall in Warwickshire. 

Thomas Pudsey married Margaret Barnesley (bap 19 Nov 1608) on 2 Nov 1637 at All Saints Trysull. His brother-in-law William Bendy was married to Margaret’s sister Mary Barnesley (bap 1 Sep 1593). Both Thomas Pudsey and William Bendy served on the Parliamentary “Committee at Stafford” in the mid 1640’s. Another brother-in-law was John Bradney of Nether Penn, married to Katherine Barnesley (bap 25 Feb 1598)

William Barnesley (1568-1640), Thomas’s father-in-law, held large amounts of land in the Trysull area and it seems likely that the marriage settlement brought the young Thomas to Seisdon. His father is described as of Harborne, a parish of which Raphael Norman became vicar in 1585. Later descendants of the Pudseys had Seisdon Hall (built c 1845) as their seat but at this time the ‘estate’ was probably known as Green Farm.

Thomas Pudsey was noted for his ardent espousal of the Parliamentary cause and spent time in London as well as his native Staffordshire. Some correspondence of his to Sir Walter Wrotteseley, 1st Baronet in 1641 has survived. This would indicate that he was in the service or in the household of the Earl of Essex in Essex House, London. This would have meant Thomas was privy to the pivotal confrontation with King Charles that led to the execution of Charles’s minister, the Earl of Strafford in 1641

Thomas Pudsey’s younger brother Daniel, served an apprenticeship in the City of London but eventually rose to be a Colonel in the New Model Army. A Captain Daniel Pudsey carried the news of the capture of Lichfield to London in 1643. Thomas Pudsey himself served under Colonel Simon Rugeley’s Regiment of Horse and probably saw action perhaps even at Edgehill in 1642. Colonel Rugeley was the Sheriff for Staffordshire and until the arrival of Sir William Brereton in about 1644, the chairman of the ‘Committee at Stafford”.

Under Cromwell’s Major Generals from August 1655, Thomas Pudsey served as one of at least eighteen commissioners for Stafforshire, essentially representing the South East of the county. Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire were pooled together under Major General Worsley and the role was to force allegiance to Parliament and root out ‘ungodly behaviour’ and disloyalty. This point of his career would suggest that Thomas held fairly hard line Puritanical views.

Thomas Pudsey thus successfully rose through the Commonwealth establishment but was still able to send both his sons to Oxford University. William (b 1643) matriculated at Magdalen Hall on 27 May 1661. Thomas (b 1649) matriculated at Pembroke on 23 Mar 1665. William died young but Thomas became a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn, possibly under the pupillage of William Bendy, and was the father of Rowland Pudsey (b 1700)

His oldest daughter Mary Pudsey was baptized on 10 Feb 1639 in Trysull and married William Hayward in the same church on 9 Jan 1665. The daughter of this marriage, Mary Hayward, went on to marry William Bendy’s grandson in 1697.

His daughter Anne Pudsey (bap 30 Dec 1640) married Zachary Foxall (9 Nov 1679) who was probably related to Captain William Foxall, another key member of the Committee at Stafford.

Thomas Pudsey died and was buried in All Saints, Trysull on 2 May 1676. He left a will where he makes bequests to the poor of three parishes. He also mentions his three sisters all apparently still alive – Katherine Collins, Dorothy Browning and Priscilla Pudsey.

Selected Sources

  • Will of Thomas Pudsey, Probate 16 Jun 1676, National Archives PCC
  • Will of Thomas Pudsey Probate 1715, Lichfield Record Office (Son)
  • Visitation of Staffordshire, 1663, Sir William Dugdale, Harleian Society
  • CCED Church of England Clergy Database.
  • Soldiers, Writers and Statesman of the English Revolution, ed Ian Gentles, CUP, 1998
  • History of the Wrottesley Family of Wrottesley, pp 314-315, Sir George Wrottesley, 1909