THOMPSON, William (?1676-1739), of the Middle Temple.

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



29 Jan. 1709 - 1710
1713 - 1 Apr. 1714
1715 - 15 Nov. 1729

Family and Education

b. ?1676, 2nd s. of Sir William Thompson, serjeant at law of the Middle Temple, by Mary Stephens of Bermondsey.1 educ. Brentwood g. s., Essex; Trinity, Camb. 25 Apr. 1691, aged 14; M. Temple 1688, called 1698; L. Inn 1719. m.(1) lic. 16 Feb. 1701, Joyce Brent, wid., of St. Clement’s Danes, Mdx., s.p.; (2) 1711, Julia, da. of Sir Christopher Conyers, 2nd Bt., wid. of Sir William Blackett, 1st Bt., M.P., of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, s.p. Kntd. 18 July 1715.

Offices Held

Recorder, Ipswich 1707-d., and of London 1715-d.; solicitor-gen. 24 Jan. 1717-17 Mar. 1720; cursitor baron of the Exchequer 1726-9; serjeant-at-law 1729; baron of the Exchequer 1729-d.


Thompson was recorder of Ipswich, which he represented for most of his parliamentary career, and of London, for which he defeated Serjeant Pengelly. One of the managers of the impeachment of Sacheverell in 1709 and of Lord Wintoun in 1716, he was appointed solicitor-general in 1717, but was dismissed in 1720 for bringing against the attorney-general, Nicholas Lechmere, charges of corruption which the House of Commons, after an inquiry, resolved to be ‘malicious, false, scandalous and utterly groundless’.2 Re-elected unopposed in 1722, he spoke ‘with great vehemence’ against the Pretender’s declaration, 10 Nov. 1722, following this up with speeches supporting the special tax on Papists, 13 Nov., and the bill of pains and penalties against one of the Atterbury conspirators, 22 Mar. 1723. In 1724 he was granted a patent giving him precedence in the courts next to the law officers of the Crown and a pension of £1,200 a year.3 In 1725, after a speech by Pulteney attacking pensions to Members of Parliament, Thompson

owned he had a pension and commended himself much for his merits and services for which he had it, and that the ministers knew he had deserved it of his Majesty: the House made a jest of him and the Speaker took him down, by saying gentlemen should neither make personal reflections nor personal commendations in the course of their debates (it seems his merit was discovering to the ministers what his son-in-law, Sir W. Blackett told him about the rebellion when it was said the cash was lodged in his hands and the hanging three poor young lads at the riot at Read’s Mug house).4

Next year he accepted a minor post in the court of Exchequer. He vacated his seat in 1729 on being promoted to be a baron of the Exchequer and died 27 Oct. 1739.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Marriage Licences, Vic. Gen. 1660-79 (Harl. Soc. xxiii), 149; PCC 103 Bond.
  • 2. CJ, xix. 305-10.
  • 3. Foss, Judges of England, viii. 175.
  • 4. Knatchbull Diary, 9 Apr. 1725; for the riot see Pol. State, xii. 221 et seq.