(1st B. Borough of Gainsborough)
Born: ABT 1431, Lincolnshire, England
Died: 18/25 Mar 1495/6, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England
Notes: Knight of the Garter.
Father: Thomas BOROUGH of Gainsborough (Sir)
Mother: Elizabeth PERCY
Married 1: Margaret De ROS (B. Borough of Gainsborough) ABT May 1462/1464
1. Edward BOROUGH (2° B. Borough of Gainsborough)
2. Thomas BOROUGH (d. AFT 1496)
3. Margaret BOROUGH
4. Richard BOROUGH (d. AFT 1496)
5. Anne BOROUGH
6. Elizabeth BOROUGH (B. Fitzhugh of Ravensworth)
Married 2: Eleanor BEAUCHAMP (B. Borough of Gainsborough) (dau. of William Beauchamp, E. Warwick) (w. of William Botreaux)
Only son of Thomas Borough, Esq., and Elizabeth Percy, was born ABT 1431, around the same time his father died in 'The Hundred Years War' with France. After her husband died, Sir Thomas’s mother married again to Sir William Lucy.
Nothing for certain is known about his early life, but he did serve in the great household of Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham (The Dukes castle of Kimbolton is enfeoffed to Sir Thomas in 1459), a senior but respected member of Henry VI’s government, from 1456/7, when he was paid ten marks per annum. Sir Thomas may have transferred to the Duchess Anne’s household, maintaining his Stafford connections even after his employment by the King, acting as a Surveyor General for the dowager Duchess (from 1461) and also as executor of her will in 1480. Sir Thomas also acted as feoffee for Henry, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. Sir Thomas appears in recorded documents in 1455, at the death of his mother, as being aged '24 or more', later, in 1460, he and his lifelong associate, Sir Roger Tockotes, are appointed to a commission to locate and arrest all adherents of the Duke of York in several southern counties. The Battle of Northampton saw the defeat of the Lancastrian Royal army by the Yorkists, which resulted in the deaths of the Duke of Buckingham and Sir Thomas’s stepfather; Sir William Lucy. It was after the horrifying battle of Towton, fought on Palm Sunday 1461, that Sir Thomas’s career really takes off.
By the end of 1461 Sir Thomas was names as a esquire of the body to the
new Yorkist King, Edward IV. He was appointed Steward of the Honour of
Bolingbroke, master of the Duchy of Lancaster lands and castles in the County
of Lincolnshire, which included the constableship of Lincoln Castle. More
offices, stewardships, land grants and pensions followed, and by Christmas
1462 he had been made a Knight by the King and served as a Privy councillor.
Between 1462 and the end of 1463 Sir Thomas married the widow of Lord Botreux,
Margaret Ros, a lady with impeccable Lancastrian family credentials. Her
stepbrother being Henry, Duke of Somerset, and elder brother Thomas, 9th Lord
Ironically, Sir Thomas Borough found himself fighting both of them during the sieges of the Northumbrian castles during 1462 – 1464, both being executed after capture (the Duke of Somerset after being pardoned) at the battles of Hedgley Moor and Hexham in 1464. Between 1464, when the Borough’s first child, Edward was born, to 1469, Sir Thomas slowly, but surely, became the Kings chief man in Lincolnshire. Sir Thomas held manors, lands, rents and tenements from Northumberland (his mothers part of her inheritance, shared with her sister, wife of Lord Gray of Codnor) through Westmorland, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, down to his wife’s dower lands in Somerset. He was a rich man who had the backing of the King. The people of Lincolnshire (and beyond) soon started to resort to Sir Thomas for advice, legal help and support, and Sir Thomas served as Sheriff of Lincolnshire and Member of Parliament during this time. He acted to settle disputes in Grimsby during 1466, served on Royal commissions of Sewers, Array and Oyer & Terminer, was witness to hundreds of transactions, settlements and wills, as well as appointing his own supporters to many offices and posts within the Government of the County. The end of the 1460’s saw much unrest in England, and Sir Thomas found himself, not only fending off trouble at home, but also acting as an arbitrator between his cousin Henry, Lord Grey of Codnor, and the Vernon’s of Haddon Hall, over their dispute in Nottingham, which had resulted in rioting in he streets.
Sir Thomas’s own troubles started because of his rivalry with the oldest member of the Lincolnshire nobility, Richard, Lord Welles and Willoughby. Between 1464 and 1469 Welles and Borough clashed over land, status and honour. This came to a head after Sir Thomas clinched the purchase of Doddington Pygot (now Doddington Hall) from Dame Pygot, effectively 'gazumping' Welles. In early 1470 the dispute came to a head when Lord Welles and his supporters attacked Gainsborough manor house, damaging it and driving off cattle, taking goods and fittings with them, back to Alford, the Borough family were not in residence at the time. Having put up with Paston and Duke of Norfolks dispute, the Talbot and Berkeley feud and treason of the Earl of Warwick, King Edward was in no mood to allow his authority to be challenged in Lincolnshire, especially as this dispute involved his Master of the Horse, Privy Councillor, and trusted friend; Sir Thomas Borough.
The King swiftly summoned Welles too him and in doing so uncovered a further plot to destroy him, sponsored by his own brother, George, Duke of Clarence and, once again, the Earl of Warwick. The battle that followed, outside Stamford, at Losecote Field, saw the utter destruction of the rebel forces, led by Sir Robert Welles (son of Lord Welles) and the execution of Lord Welles, Sir Thomas’ deadly rival. Following King Edwards hurried removal to Burgundy in 1470, Sir Thomas weathered the restoration of Henry VI, even receiving a pardon. In 1471, however, when Edward IV arrived to reclaim his throne, Sir Thomas was amongst the first to rally to his standard, and then fought for him at Barnet and Tewkesbury. Now fully established as the Kings Lieutenant in Lincolnshire, Sir Thomas reinforced his standing, serving as Sheriff and Member of Parliament again, taking part in the French invasion of 1475, and, in 1477, arranging an excellent marriage for his thirteen year old son, Edward, with Anne, Lady Cobham, a very rich heiress aged nine.
During the difficult and dangerous events of 1483, following Edward IV’s tragically early death, Sir Thomas was courted by Richard III, and, initially, he supported the new King, who elected him a Knight of the Garter. Sir Thomas was involved in the negotiations with the Duke of Brittany envoys in an effort to secure the person of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond – negotiations which bought contacts with the Kings rebels, but ultimate failure for Richard III’s diplomacy. In 1485 the chroniclers are silent about Borough involvement in the Battle of Bosworth, but very quickly Sir Thomas was confirmed as a Knight of the body and Privy Councillor to the new King, Henry VII.
In 1487 King Henry created Sir Thomas, Baron Borough of Gainsborough. Sadly, in 1488, Lady Margaret Borough died, probably after a long illness, and she was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Gainsborough. Upton his death in 1496, Lord Thomas continued to serve the Tudor Government, appearing on many regular commissions, as he had since 1461. Lord Thomas was buried beside his wife, in the family vault and a magnificent monumental effigy erected, displaying their heraldry and the Garter he was so fond of.
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