Dictionary of Welsh Biography

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

PARRY , Sir THOMAS (d. 1560 ), courtier ,

was the son of Harry Vaughan and grandson of Sir Thomas Vaughan , who had been knighted but subsequently beheaded by Richard III and was himself an illegitimate son of Sir Robert Vaughan of Tretower (ancestor of Henry Vaughan , ‘ Silurist ,’ q.v.) , and a grandson, through Sir Dafydd Gam (q.v.) , of Sir Roger Vaughan of Bredwardine , slain at Agincourt ( 1415 ). His mother was Gwenllian , daughter of William ap Grono , also of Brecknock , but he migrated to Glamorgan . It was to his distant kinship with the Cecils (qq.v.) , who had married into the Brecknock Vaughans , that Parry probably owed his introduction into the court of Edward VI . He attended princess Elizabeth at Hatfield , and was won over by Thomas , lord Seymour , brother of the protector and uncle to the king , to further his suit with her. When the plot was revealed, Parry owned to a wish that the princess could have drawn support from lands in Wales ; but he escaped punishment and continued to attend her under Mary . On her accession, Elizabeth knighted him (as ‘ Thomas Parry of Wales ’) and made him Comptroller of her household and one of her privy council of eight ( 20 Nov. 1558 ), and later Master of the Wards ( 26 April 1559 ), and he seems to have been the most influential of her more intimate advisers till his death ( 15 Dec. 1560 ), when he was buried in Westminster abbey and was replaced by Cecil . There is a portrait of him by Holbein at Windsor . He acquired lands in Berkshire , where he was lord-lieutenant in 1559 , and sat for Hertfordshire in Parliament .

His son, Sir THOMAS PARRY (d. 1616 ), ambassador , was still more completely severed from Wales , representing Berkshire (of which he was twice sheriff ) in Parliament from 1586-1614 , except for an interval ( 1610 ) as member for S. Albans . From Oct. 1601 (when he was knighted ) to 1605 he was ambassador to Paris , where Thomas Morgan , the ex- conspirator ( 1543 - c . 1605 ) (q.v.) , failed to interest him in schemes for the reconciliation of the English Roman Catholics . On 30 Dec. 1607 , he was made a privy councillor , chancellor of the Duchy , and master of the Court of Wards , and for nine months in 1610-11 he was the custodian of Arabella Stuart ; but his ‘management’ of the Stockbridge election to the Addled Parliament ( 1614 ) brought on him the censures of the Commons (not least of the Welsh members, zealous for their country's good name) and the loss of his seat and post. He was later restored to the latter, but d. (without issue) in May 1616 , when he was buried in Westminster abbey .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , xliii, 384-5;
  • History of the County of Brecknock , iii, 174-5;
  • Poole , The Illustrated History and Biography of Brecknockshire (1886) , 229;
  • Reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission , Cecil , i, xi, xii, 3rd R., 52;
  • Acts of the Privy Council , 1558-70;
  • Camden Soc., Letters from Sir Robert Cecil to Sir George Carew (1864) , 13, 34;
  • W. A. Shaw , Knights of England (1906) . ii, 70


Emeritus Professor Arthur Herbert Dodd, M.A., (1891-1975), Bangor

Published date: 1959