MAY, Thomas, (formerly BRODNAX, afterwards KNIGHT) (?1701-81), of Godmersham Park, nr. Canterbury, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1734 - 1741

Family and Education

b. ?1701, 1st surv. s. of Col William Brodnax of Godmersham, being o.s. by his 2nd w. Anne, da. of Christopher May of Greenwich. educ.Balliol, Oxf. 2 June 1720, aged 18. m. 11 July 1729, Jane, 1st da. and coh. of William Monke of Buckingham House, Shoreham, Suss., 5s. 5da. suc. fa. 1726; cos. Dame Anne May to Rawmere, Suss. 1726; cos. Elizabeth Knight to Chawton, Hants 1738.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Kent 1729-30.


This Member twice changed his name by private Act of Parliament: in 1727 from Brodnax to May, under the will of his mother’s cousin, Sir Thomas May, M.P. (d.1718), on succeeding to the May estates; and in 1738 to Knight on inheriting the estates of his father’s cousin, Elizabeth Knight, widow of William Woodward Knight and Bulstrode Peachey. On the second occasion one Member is alleged to have proposed ‘a general bill to enable that gentleman to take what name he pleased’.1 Returned, apparently as a Tory, for Canterbury in 1734, voting with the Opposition, he did not stand again. He died 26 Feb. 1781.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: A. N. Newman


  • 1. Gent. Mag. 1781, p. 147.