THOMPSON, Sir Henry (c.1625-83), of York and Marston, Yorks.

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



10 Nov. 1673
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1625, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Richard Thompson, and bro. of Edward Thompson. m. (1) Mary, da. of John Thompson, merchant, of York, s.p.; (2) Jane (bur. 5 Sept. 1661), da. and coh. of Richard Newton of York, 2s. 2da.; (3) by 1665, Susannah, da. of Thomas Lovell of Skelton, wid. of William Belt of Overton, and of Edward Stanhope of Grimston, Yorks., 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1653; kntd. 8 Mar. 1665.1

Offices Held

Freeman, York, 1649, chamberlain 1651-2, alderman 1652-d., ld. mayor 1663-4; commr. for assessment, York Aug. 1660-9, Yorks. (W. Riding) 1663-4, (E. Riding) 1673-80, (N. Riding) 1677-80 gov. of merchant adventurers, York 1667-72; dep. lt. (W. Riding) 1667-?79; j.p. (W. Riding) ?1667-80, (E. Riding) 1669-80; commr. for recusants, N. and E. Ridings and York 1675.2


Thompson’s father, a younger son of William Thompson of Scarborough, though a substantial contributor to the parliamentary cause in men and money, was obliged to compound for £150 as a royalist intelligences. But Thompson himself bought Clifford’s Tower from the trustees for the sale of crown lands, and naturally opposed the Restoration, which obliged him to return it. A successful vintner, he petitioned for exemption from the additional customs duty on wine imported in foreign ships, and was arrested in Great Yarmouth in August 1661 after breaking into the custom house. His friend Andrew Marvell succeeded in keeping his name out of a parliamentary report on customs frauds. He invested heavily in land, buying Escrick in 1668, though he resided chiefly at Marston, six miles west of York.3

When Sir Thomas Osborne was raised to the peerage, Thompson accepted an invitation from the corporation to stand for York, refusing to make way for his predecessor’s son. He defeated Sir John Hewley by nearly two to one. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to only twelve committees, and appears to have remained in York during more than one session, leaving Marvell to fend off Hewley’s petition. He was added to the committee to inquire into the condition of Ireland on 23 Feb. 1674, and appointed to that to consider the bill to prevent illegal exactions (22 Feb. 1677). On 15 Mar. Hewley’s petition was rejected unanimously both by the committee and the House, which according to Marvell ‘never happened before in any man’s memory’. Thompson was classed as ‘doubly worthy’ by Shaftesbury.4

Re-elected to all the Exclusion Parliaments, Thompson was marked ‘worthy’ on Shaftesbury’s list. In 1679 he was again inactive, being appointed to the committee of elections and privileges and those to recommend expiring laws for renewal and to inquire into abuses in the Post Office. He was absent from the division on the first exclusion bill. After signing the York petition for the meeting of the second Exclusion Parliament, he became a moderately active Member. He was named to nine committees, of which the most important were to inquire into abhorring, to examine the disbandment accounts, and to consider a bill for religious comprehension. He left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament. Nicknamed ‘Judgment Sir Harry’ by the Tories, he was said to receive exclusionist propaganda from Sir Thomas Player. Sir John Reresby described him in 1682 as a republican and one of the leaders of the Whig faction on the corporation. He died at Marston in the following year, his will being proved at York on 3 July 1683. His son Henry was M.P. for York from 1690 to 1695.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. iii. 149; Le Neves’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 189.
  • 2. Freemen of York (Surtees Soc. cii), 109; CSP Dom. 1667-8; p. 151; Le Neves’s Knights, 189.
  • 3. Royalist Comp. Pprs. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xv), 10-15; Cal. Cl. SP, v. 36; VCH Yorks. ii. 416; CSP Dom. 1667-8, p. 609.
  • 4. Add. 28051, ff. 14-32; Marvell ed. Margoliouth, ii. 181, 183, 306-7, 313, 317.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1682, p. 536; Reresby Mems. 303, 579-80; Clay, 151.