HARDRES, Thomas (c.1610-81), of Canterbury, Kent and Gray's Inn.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



21 Apr. 1664
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1610, 4th s. of Sir Thomas Hardres (d.1628) of Upper Hardres by Eleanor, da. and h. of Henry Thoresby of Thoresby, Yorks. educ.Staple Inn; G. Inn 1629, called 1636, ancient 1654. m. (1) lic. 21 Sept. 1639, Dorcas (d.1643), da. and h. of George Bargrave of Bridge, Kent, 1s. 1da.; (2) by 1651, Philadelphia (d.1690), da. of James Franklyn of Maidstone, Kent, wid. of Peter Manwood of Sandwich, Kent, 5s. (1 d.v.p.), 1da. Kntd. 17 May 1676.1

Offices Held

Steward, manor of Lambeth 1649-d.; bencher, G. Inn 1659, reader 1663, treas. 1666-8; j.p. Kent July 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Canterbury Aug. 1660-1, Kent 1661-3, Kent and Canterbury 1663-80, sewers, E. Kent Sept. 1660; freeman, Canterbury 1661, common councilman 1662-d., recorder 1664-75, 1675-d.; commr. for recusants, Kent 1675; steward of Chancery court, Cinque Ports ?1679-d.; chairman of quarter sessions, Kent by 1680-d.2

Serjeant-at-law 1669, King’s serjeant 1676-d.3


Hardres may have been descended from a Domesday Book tenant on the manor from which the name was derived. Under Richard II William Hardres was three times returned for Canterbury, but they were not a regular parliamentary family. Hardres’s eldest brother was an active member of the county committee, but went over to the King in the second Civil War. Hardres himself, a professional lawyer, paid £15 to the county committee as composition for delinquency, and was still under suspicion in 1656. Another brother became a prebendary of Canterbury at the Restoration.4

Hardres succeeded Francis Lovelace both as recorder and MP for Canterbury. He was an inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was named to 21 committees, all but two before 1673. He took the chair for a local estate bill to enable Lord Strangford (Philip Smythe) to sell land, and carried it to the Lords on 12 Dec. 1666. Although not reckoned a court supporter in 1669-71, and a defaulter in attendance in the latter year, Hardres was a strong defender of the Church and the prerogative: ‘I never thought that one fire would quench another’, he wrote towards the end of his life, ‘or that reformation in the Church would be wrought by heat in the state’. He was awarded the coif in 1669, but the strength of dissent in Canterbury rendered his relations with his constituency uneasy. ‘A malicious observer ... once trepanned me for my opinion concerning conventicles and nonconformists, making use of it to my prejudice above’. In 1675 the corporation resolved to replace him as recorder by Paul Barret, as their charter gave them power to do. (Sir) Joseph Williamson was informed of ‘several affronts to Serjeant Hardres, a gentleman of an ancient, eminent family, and one learned in the law. ... I implore your assistance ... and real resentment of this high abuse to a gentleman who so little deserves it.’ On 22 Apr. the House ordered that Barret, with the mayor and aldermen, should be sent for in custody. Although Sir Edward Dering thought it ‘a high strain of our privilege’, they were not discharged until Hardres had been restored. He was not ungrateful to Danby, suggesting in the impeachment debate that the House should begin by determining which charges were criminal. In the debate on illegal imprisonment on 5 May, he declared that ‘matters of treason here will be triable here’.5

Hardres received the government whip in the autumn, but at the end of the session Sir Richard Wiseman noted that he ‘went ill very often’. He was listed among those ‘to be remembered’ on the working lists, and during the long recess he was knighted and advanced to the rank of King’s serjeant, after which Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly vile’. He was included in both lists of the court party in 1678, but left no further trace on the records of the Cavalier Parliament until he was ordered to be sent for in custody as an absentee in its closing weeks. As one of the ‘unanimous club’, he lost his seat at the general election, but regained it in August at the expense of the Whig William Jacob. As chairman of quarter sessions, he refused to accept the petition for the immediate assembly of Parliament in January 1680, and when it did meet, he was once again in trouble as a defaulter. He may never have attended, and was not reelected. He continued to have difficulty with the local nonconformists, writing:

If I must not only spend my time in his Majesty’s service without any recompense, but be hectored out of my reason to comply with a fiery pretender to Reformation, I must quit that service unless I receive better encouragement.

He died on 18 Dec. 1681, aged 71, and was buried at Upper Hardres. HisReports of Cases in the Exchequer was published in 1693. His grandson represented Canterbury as a Tory under Queen Anne and George I.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. DNB; Dorm. and Ext. Baronetcies, 242; Canterbury Mar. Lic. ii. 454; Canterbury Cathedral Reg. (Harl. Soc. Reg. ii), 122, 128; St. George’s Canterbury Par. Reg. 38-39; PCC 125 Evelyn; W. Boys, Sandwich, 246.
  • 2. C181/7/57; Roll of Freemen ed. Cowper, 318; J. B. Jones, Annals of Dover, 346; CSP Dom. 1682, p. 283.
  • 3. H. W. Woolryche, Eminent Serjeants, 401.
  • 4. Hasted, Kent, ix. 306; Arch. Cant. iv. 53-54; xxiii. 71; A. M. Everitt, Community of Kent and the Great Rebellion, 146, 243; Cal. Comm. Comp. 458.
  • 5. CJ, viii. 644; ix. 194, 321, 327; CSP Dom. 1675-6, p. 70; 1680-1, p. 420; Dering Pprs. 75; Eg. 3345, f. 23v; Grey, iii. 105.
  • 6. CJ, ix. 557, 699; Bath mss, Coventry pprs. 6, f. 230; CSP Dom. 1680-1, pp. 420, 442; DNB.