FREKE, Thomas (1563-1633), of Iwerne Courtnay, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 27 Sept. 1563, 1st s. of Robert Freke of Iwerne Courtnay, teller of the Exchequer and surveyor for Dorset, by Alice, da. of John Swayne of Blandford. m. Elizabeth (d.1640), da. and h. of John Taylor of Burton Bradstock, 7s. 5da. suc. fa. 1592. Kntd. 1603.

Offices Held

J.p. Dorset from c.1592, q. by 1596, sheriff 1597-8, 1611-12; member, King’s council for Virginia 1607, council for the Virginia Co. 1612.


Freke’s father was a crown official with ample opportunity to make a fortune out of the perquisites of office. He married into a Dorset family and set up as a country gentleman. Both he and Freke himself speculated in land as late as the early 1590s. Freke was also a moneylender, obliging Ralegh and Cecil as occasion offered.2

It is not clear how Freke came to sit for Dorchester in 1584, when he was just 21. Both he and his father would be known to the 2nd Earl of Bedford, who perhaps persuaded the borough authorities to return him. On the other hand, Freke’s own son John was to marry into the Trenchard family of Wolveton, whose sphere of influence centred on Dorchester, and it is therefore possible that a pre-existing connexion between the two families brought about Freke’s return.

Freke was knighted at James’s coronation and, as his monument proudly stated, twice achieved county status in Parliament. He died 5 May 1633.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


  • 1. CJ, i. 226, 228-9; Hutchins, Dorset, iv. 99.
  • 2. Roberts thesis.
  • 3. C142/501/56; Hutchins, iv. 91, 99.