CHAFE, Thomas I (c.1611-62), of Sherborne, Dorset and the Middle Temple.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. c.1611, 1st s. of John Chafe, merchant, of Exeter, Devon by Anne, da. of William May of North Molton, Devon. educ. M. Temple 1631, called 1638. m. lic. 28 Dec. 1641 aged 30, Catherine, da. of Sir Thomas Malet, j.K.b. 1641-2, May-Dec. 1660, of St. Audries, Som., 1s. 5da. suc. fa. 1619.1

Offices Held

Bencher, M. Temple 1659; j.p. Dorset July 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d.


Chafe’s grandfather, of Somerset origin, migrated to Exeter where he was twice mayor. Chafe became a lawyer, and, though doubtless an Anglican and a Royalist in sympathy, took no part in the Civil War. His father-in-law, the father of John Malet and Michael Malet, was associated with the 1st Earl of Bristol over the Kent petition of 1642, and Chafe, as one of the earl’s trustees, helped to buy back and manage the forfeited estate during the Interregnum.2

The first of his family to enter Parliament, Chafe was returned for Totnes, presumably on the Seymour interest, at the general election of 1660, when Cavaliers and their sons were forbidden to stand. A moderately active Member of the Convention he was appointed to 29 committees, including those to draft the assessment ordinances, and made 12 recorded speeches, mostly in defence of the Church against Popery and fanaticism. He wished to impose the oath of supremacy on recusants, and the 39 Articles on incumbents, and he supported the ousting of the intruded dons at Oxford by Lord Hertford, the head of the younger branch of the Seymour family. He was named to the committees for the navigation bill and for settling ecclesiastical livings, and he was among those ordered to give directions on engrossing the latter bill. He was of course named to the committee to consider reparations to his employer, Lord Bristol. He was active in taxation measures, helping to draw up an assertion of the sole right of the Commons to name local commissioners. He was also named to the committees to fix the Dunkirk establishment and to consider a bill for endowing vicarages, a matter which concerned him personally, since his wife’s dowry was charged on a Corn