Thomas Bell (Mayor of Gloucester)

Thomas Bell (Mayor of Gloucester)

Sir Thomas Bell d.1566, was a Member of Parliament (MP) during the reign of King Edward VI of England and Queen Mary I. He served as Mayor of Gloucester in 1536, 1544, and 1553.

He was knighted on 27 February 1546/7, sharing unknown parents with his elder brother, also named Sir Thomas Bell, Mayor of Bristol "Temp." Henry VIII., having no issue.


Sir Thomas Bell was a native of Worcestershire and a successful merchant, employer, and manufacturer of hats (capper). [ [ Living Gloucester] ] He also thrived in real estate having acquiring significant property throughout Worcestershire in parternership with Richard Duke, clerk of the court from 1536 until 1554.. [ Wakefield Vellum Documents] ] The extensive properties that were brought about by the partnership between Bell and Duke included:

* A stable and garden in Gloucester and property in Lydney and Ripple (Worcs.), previously supporting a chantry at St. Mary's parish;

* Two burgages and also land in Gloucester, Tredworth, and elswhere, with a a rent of 12d., in Pedmarsh field, all of which had been previously employed with supporting St. Mary's chantry at St. Nicholas' church in Gloucester; • part of the endowments of St. Mary's chantry at St. Owen's church, all in the City of Gloucester.

*A tenement in the City of Gloucester bringing in 22s a year, purchased in 1548 and had been previously supporting a chantry at St. Mary's parish.

Bell was also the founder of St Kyneburgh's Hospital, also known as the Kimbrose, on the site of St. Kyneburgh's chapel at the south gate. In 1559 Bell had also built and almshouse there at the time he drafted his will leaving it, with endowments, to the city corporation. However, in 1562, he settled it on a body of trustees, who took possession after the deaths of Bell and his wife Joan. "In 1566 and 1567 respectively. 70 Under the terms of the trust deed the hospital was to maintain six poor people, one of them to be if possible a burgess. It gave the site of Whitefriars, Morin's Mill in Brook Street, six houses, and the rent of another house, having a total nominal value of £16-0s-4d."

While Mayor, Bell is known to have visited John Hooper, with the city alderman, on the evening before the bishop's execution. Hooper thanked them for their visit, and later Bell chased away people trying to record Hooper's last words at the stake. [Foxe., J., [ "Book of Martyrs" ] ] >

Family and descendants

Sir Thomas Bell as one source suggests, is descended from the ancient de Belne family of Worcestershire, and it is probable that he is related in some unknown manner to John Bell. 2 It does not seem likely that members of his family were directly related to the Bells of Berkshire, Yorkshire or Norfolk, though his niece Anne, did marry Sir Ferdinando Gorges, a Somerset man.

Sir Thomas Bell married Joan Sibill? (known as Lady Bell) and had issue:
# William Bell of Sandhurst, married Anne, daughter of Heyward, and had numerous issue.
# Jane Bell married Thomas Dennis of Gloucester. ["The visitation of Gloucester 1623" p. 23]


The Arms of Sir Thomas Bell: "Argent on a Chevron between three Falcoln's Bells on a Chief Gules a Hawk's lure Argent stringed Or between two Falcoln's Argent four Bars". The Crest is on a Wreath "An Arm embowed vested Gules Cuffed Or supporting in the hand proper a Battleaxe the shaft Gules"



#Bell, R.R.L., "Tudor Bells Sound Out", pb., 2006.

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