MIDDLETON, Sir Thomas (1654-1702), of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex.
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Family and Education
bap. 21 Apr. 1654, o. surv. s. of Thomas Middleton of Stansted Mountfitchet by Constance, da. of Thomas Bromfield, Haberdasher and merchant, of Coleman Street, London. m. by 1676, Mary (d.1686), da. and h. of Sir Stephen Langham, merchant, of Crosby Place, Bishopsgate, London and Quinton, Northants., wid. of Thomas Style of Wateringbury, Kent, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1668, kntd. 14 Dec. 1675.1
Commr. for assessment, Essex 1677-80, Essex and Harwich 1689-90; freeman, Harwich 1679; j.p. Essex 1680-7, Essex and Northants. 1689-d.; dep. lt. Essex 1681-Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688-d.2
Stansted Mountfitchet was bought by Middleton’s great-grandfather in 1615. His grandfather served on the county committee and became a contractor for bishops’ lands, and his father, though too young to take an active part in the Civil War, was appointed to the assessment committee in 1657, but continued to hold local office after the Restoration.3
Middleton was probably a moderate supporter of the country party during the exclusion crisis, and as such was put forward by the Duke of Albemarle (Christopher Monck) with Sir Eliab Harvey to oppose the extremists, Henry Mildmay and John Lamotte Honeywood, at the Essex election in August 1679. They were heavily defeated, but Middleton was returned for a safe government seat at Harwich 11 days later. It was probably his second cousin Sir Thomas Myddelton who was appointed to the committee to examine the conduct of Sir Robert Peyton. Middleton assisted Albemarle in settling the claims of Thomas King for parliamentary wages, and was re-elected in 1681, but took no known part in the business of either Parliament, though he may have supported ‘expedients’. He did not stand in 1685, and was removed from the commission of the peace on the orders of the Privy Council in 1687. To the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, he replied that he was resolved not to stand for Parliament, but would ‘give his vote to the Church of England men’, and was removed from the lieutenancy. He was pricked as sheriff in November 1688, but he did not serve.4
Middleton, described as ‘a very worthy gentleman’, was ‘agreed upon by all parties’ in Harwich in the general election of 1689. He advanced £1,000 to the new Government, but he was not active in the Convention. All his six committees were in the second session. The most important were to restrain expenditure at parliamentary elections, to examine witnesses against James II’s treasury solicitors, and to inquire into the miscarriages of the war. He supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, and remained a court Whig under William III. He died on 11 June 1702 and was buried at Stansted. His son, who inherited an estate of £1,500 p.a., sat for Essex as a Whig from 1705 to his death.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Gillian Hampson
- 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 3), ii. 265-9; J. R. Whitehead, Rulers of London, 38.
- 2. Harwich bor. recs. 98/4/58; Essex RO, assize rolls 35/122-6, Q/SR 447-83; Northants. RO, FH 2226.
- 3. Morant, Essex, ii. 578.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 221; HMC 13th Rep. VI, 19; HMC Lindsey, 26-28.
- 5. Bodl. Rawl. A179, f. 225, North B1, f. 322; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1988.