LEWIS, Thomas II (1685-1732), of St. Pierre, Mon.
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Family and Education
b. 1685, o. s. of Thomas Lewis of St. Pierre (1st s. d.v.p. of Thomas Lewis of St. Pierre) by Delarivière, da. of Sir Thomas Morgan, 1st Bt., of Llangattock Lingoed, Mon. educ. M. Temple 1699; L. Inn 1706. m. (1) settlement 5 June 1706, Frances (d. 1707), da. of Sir Richard Levett, Haberdasher, alderman of London 1690, ld. mayor 1699–1700, of Kew, Mdx., s.p.; (2) lic. 1 Feb. 1708 (with £6,000), Catherine (d. 1718), da. of Hugh Calverley Cotton (2nd s. d.v.p. of Sir Robert Cotton, 1st Bt.*), s.p.; (3) Jan. 1719, Jane Rachel, da. of William Becher of Howbury, Renhold, Beds., 2s. 5da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. gdfa. Thomas Lewis c.1685.1
Steward of Grosmont, Skinfrith and Whitecastle, duchy of Lancaster 1728–31.2
Lewis’ family, which boasted descent from a king of the ancient Britons, had held the manor of St. Pierre since the 14th century without once providing a Member of Parliament. After two advantageous marriages in rapid succession, Lewis put himself forward at Monmouth Boroughs in the 1710 general election, under the wing of his ‘cousin’ John Morgan II*, but Morgan’s efforts on his behalf foundered on the determination of the Duke of Beaufort, whose interest in the constituency was the more powerful, to maintain his own candidate. The following year Lewis took a lease from the duchy of Lancaster of the office of feodary of Monmouth. When a vacancy arose in the county representation in 1712 he applied for Beaufort’s backing. However, a ‘kinsman’ (probably someone other than Morgan in this instance) and ‘those he thought his friends’ decided instead to put up Sir Charles Kemys, 4th Bt.*, upon which Lewis laid aside all thoughts of ‘appearing for the county’ and pledged support for Beaufort’s preferred nominee, James Gunter*. In return, Beaufort supported Lewis’ election in April 1713 when Gunter, who had been successfully returned, died prematurely. But the High Tory Duke was to be sadly disappointed in this new protégé, Lewis voting on 18 June against the French commerce bill, as a Whig. Shortly afterwards Beaufort informed him that he had forfeited his goodwill. With the next general election approaching, the Duke wrote to him: ‘I believe you are of opinion that after several accidents that have happened in Parliament this session, I can’t come so heartily into your interest now as I did.’ Finding ‘the great expectation I had of Mr Lewis does not answer’, Beaufort now gave his support to Kemys, who was to edge Lewis from his seat in a bitterly fought contest. On 5 Mar. 1714 Lewis petitioned against his defeat, charging the Tory sheriff and under-sheriffs with blatant corruption, but his petition was not reported.3
Lewis came back into the Commons in 1715 on the coat-tails of John Morgan II, with whom he seems to have acted in this Parliament as an independent Whig, voting against the ministry on the repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts and on the peerage bill. He died on 29 May 1732 and was buried at St. Pierre. The family retained an important position in local government and society throughout the 18th century, and by the 1780s their estates were said to be worth over £2,000 a year.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. IGI, Mon.; Bradney, Mon. iv. 76–77; Lysons, Environs of London (1792–6), i. 208; Beaven, Aldermen, ii. 118; Wentworth Pprs. 111; Ormerod, Cheshire, iii. 415; Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc. v. 154–5.
- 2. Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Official Lists, 233.
- 3. NLW Jnl. x. 168; NLW, Tredegar mss 53/102, Beaufort to Morgan, 12 Sept. 1710; 103, Morgan to Beaufort, 16 Sept. 1710; Somerville, 233; Beaufort mss at Badminton House, Coventry pprs. Beaufort to sheriff of Mon. [Jan.] 1712, to Gunter, 10 Jan. 1712, to Mr Gwyn, 12 Jan. 1712, to Lewis, [c.July 1713], to Mr Curr, 11 July 1713.
- 4. Bradney, 76–77, 83; Welsh Hist. Rev. xi. 34.