Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Thomas Billing

Male Abt 1410 - 1481  (~ 71 years)

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Generation: 1

  1. 1.  Thomas Billing was born about 1410 in of Astwell in Wappenham, Northamptonshire, England; died on 5 May 1481; was buried in Bittlesden Abbey, Northamptonshire, England.


    Asserted by Ancestral Roots to have been a son of John Billing of Rowell, Northamptonshire, but other sources appear to regard his origins as unknown. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography says that Thomas Billing was "perhaps born in Northamptonshire, the county with which he was most closely associated in later life. His parentage is unknown, and so his origins were doubtless modest. His coat of arms included an annulet in fesse point, apparently for difference, which would suggest that he was a fifth son."

    The ODNB continues:

    "In his professional career he appears to have been most closely associated with the city of London: without break, he served successively as its common serjeant (elected October 1443), under-sheriff (elected July 1449), and finally recorder (elected September 1450; resigned October 1454). In the last office he so pleased the mayor and aldermen that after his resignation he was granted both a fee of 20s. yearly and an annual present of 5 yards of good woollen cloth, for his diligent and fruitful service at the time of the 'great disturbance' (Cade's uprising of 1450) and afterwards. He was MP for Northamptonshire in the parliament of 1445-6, and for London in the first parliament of 1449.

    "Billing was created serjeant-at-law on 2 July 1453, and on 21 April 1458 was appointed a king's serjeant; as the latter he was again summoned to parliament, from 1459 onwards. In the early 1450s he was one of the lawyers retained by Queen Margaret of Anjou, and he was doubtless regarded as a supporter of the Lancastrians; at the Coventry parliament of November - December 1459 he was apparently one of the crown's legal advisers who drafted the bill attainting the duke of York and his leading followers. Nevertheless he must have changed his allegiance -- perhaps after the battle of Northampton (10 July 1460) -- for he was reappointed king's serjeant on 8 April 1461. On 9 August 1464 he was made a justice of the court of king's bench, and on 23 January 1469 he succeeded Sir John Markham as chief justice of that court; he retained the office through the Lancastrian readeption and after the restoration of Edward IV (being reappointed on 9 October 1470 and 17 June 1471), until his death. He appears to have been knighted only in 1475."

    Thomas married Katharine Giffard before 1447. Katharine (daughter of Roger Giffard and Elizabeth) was born about 1399; died on 8 Mar 1480; was buried in Bittlesden Abbey, Northamptonshire, England. [Group Sheet] [Family Chart]

    1. Margaret Billing died after 1472.

Generation: 2