LEWES, Thomas (?1657-96), of West Wycombe, Bucks. and Stanford-upon-Soar, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. ?7 June 1657, 1st s. of Thomas Lewes, Vintner and alderman of London, of Little St. Helen’s, London and Stanford-upon-Soar by 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Francis Dashwood, Turkey merchant and alderman of London, of St. Botolph’s Bishopsgate, London. m. lic. 13 July 1687, aged 30, Anne (d. 1695), da. of Sir Matthew Andrews*, 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 2da.1
Lewes’ father was one of the wealthiest Levant merchants in London. He obtained the manor of West Wycombe in 1670, serving as sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 1673–4. However, the family’s main seat was at Stanford-upon-Soar. James II’s agents suggested that a ‘Thomas Lewis’ be added to the lieutenancy and the bench in Buckinghamshire (‘most of them [those listed] supposed to be Dissenters’) and to the bench in Nottinghamshire. It was Lewes jnr. who was the MP, being identified as such by Sir Ralph Verney, 1st Bt.†2
Returned in 1690, Lewes was classed as a Whig by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). Although the presence of Richard Lewis in the House makes identification difficult, his mercantile connexions make it seem likely that he was the ‘Mr Lewis’ named on 2 Apr. 1690 to the committee set to investigate and draft a bill settling the East India trade (his father being a leading figure in the Old Company, owning £3,000 of stock in December 1691). In April 1691 he was listed by Robert Harley* as a Court supporter, and in May 1692 either he or his father was appointed to the lieutenancy in Nottinghamshire. Classed as a Court supporter in 1693, either he, Richard Lewis, or the newly elected John Lewis, acted as a teller on procedural motions on 9 Feb. 1694 and on 25 Apr. 1695.3
Returned again in 1695 as one of three ‘Mr Lewises’ in the Commons, it is impossible to ascertain his parliamentary activity from the Journals. He was forecast as likely to oppose the Court in a division of 31 Jan. 1696 over the proposed council of trade, and signed the Association. On 22 Feb. he was ‘taken with an apoplectic fit’ in the Commons, and on 5 Mar. was granted leave to recover his health. He died, however, on the 16th. Although he predeceased his father, Lewes directed in his will that the manor of West Wycombe should be sold to pay off mortgages to his cousins (Sir) Francis Dashwood (1st Bt.*) and Sir Samuel Dashwood* and the proceeds used for the benefit of his two daughters. It was duly conveyed to the Dashwoods in 1698. His son Francis sat for East Retford in Anne’s reign.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley
- 1. IGI, London; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London (London and Mdx. Arch. Soc.), 108–9; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 843; J. T. Godfrey, Notts. Church Notes: Rushcliffe, 238.
- 2. Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 654; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1883), 121, 151.
- 3. CJ, x. 602; CSP Dom. 1691–2, p. 277.
- 4. Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 20, 31; Godfrey, 238; PCC 122 Pyne.