CONYERS, Thomas (c.1666-1728), of Eelemore, nr. Durham
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Family and Education
b. c.1666, 5th s. of Nicholas Conyers of Boulby, Yorks. and South Biddick, co. Dur. by his 3rd w. Margaret, da. and coh. of Nicholas Freville of Hardwick, co. Dur., wid. of Thomas Lambton, gov. Leeward Is. educ. Trinity, Oxf. matric. 13 May 1684, aged 17; M. Temple 1686. m. lic. 25 June 1690, Elizabeth (d. 1725), da. and h. of Thomas Hall of Eelemore, 1da.1
Freeman, Durham 1697.2
Equerry to Prince George of Denmark 1704–6.3
Conyers had acquired lands in county Durham by marriage, and a year after being made a freeman of the county borough he was returned for Durham at the 1698 election. A comparison of the old and new Commons in about September classed Conyers as a Country supporter and at this time he was also forecast as a probable opponent of a standing army. It is impossible to distinguish Thomas’ activity in the Journals from those of his cousin John, who was the more prominent of the two in the House. Both men were Tories, and such sympathies were amply demonstrated following Thomas Conyers’ return to the first 1701 Parliament. In February 1701 Conyers was forecast as likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’, and later the same year he was blacklisted as having opposed the preparations for war with France. Conyers did not stand at Durham in the second election of 1701, and suggestions that he contest Morpeth also appear to have come to nothing. In 1702, however, he was returned unopposed for Durham, a seat he was to hold until the accession of George II.4
Conyers’ Tory principles were evident in his vote of 13 Feb. 1703 against the Lords’ amendments to the bill to enlarge the time for taking the abjuration oath, but in February 1704 he was given a post in the household of the Prince of Denmark and this appointment was important in determining his attitude to the Tack. In October 1704 he was forecast as doubtful on this measure, and shortly afterwards appeared on Robert Harley’s* lobbying list. In the days before the crucial division of 28 Nov. the ministry endeavoured to ensure that the Prince’s household would not support the Tack, and Harley himself was deputed to lobby Conyers. The success of Harley’s efforts was evident on the 28th when Conyers failed to vote for the Tack. This led to an analysis of the 1705 Parliament classifying Conyers as a ‘Sneaker’, but on 25 Oct. he was one of the Tory office-holders who voted against the Court candidate for Speaker, a vote which led to his dismissal in June 1706 from the Prince’s household. A list of early 1708 classified Conyers as a Tory, and though one list states that in 1710 he voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell numerous other analyses of this division class Conyers as an opponent of the measure. The ministerial revolution later that year led Conyers to write to Harley to stress his ‘just pretensions’ to a place, but these aspirations were not to be fulfilled. The ‘Hanover list’ of 1710 classified him as a Tory and the veracity of this judgment was confirmed in the 1710–11 session, Conyers being listed among both the ‘Tory patriots’ who had opposed the continuation of the war and the ‘worthy patriots’ who had detected the mismanagements of the previous administration. His loyalty to the ministry was evident in his vote of 18 June 1713 in support of the French commerce bill. Conyers’ partisan loyalties remained constant in the 1713 Parliament, the Worsley list and two further comparisons of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments classing him as a Tory. He died on 4 Oct. 1728, his estates descending to his only surviving daughter and her husband, George Baker*.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. The Gen. n.s. xiv. 57–58; Surtees, Dur. ii(2), 121.
- 2. Surtees, iv(2), 22.
- 3. Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 386; vi. 62.
- 4. Surtees, 120; N. Yorks. RO, Worsley mss ZON13/1/248, J. Gibson to Lady Strickland, 14 Dec. 1701.
- 5. Bull. IHR, xli. 182, 184; xxxvii. 30; Add. 4743, f. 47; HMC Portland, iv. 575.