DARCY, Sir Thomas, 1st Bt. (1632-93), of Braxted Lodge, Essex.
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Family and Education
b. 1 Jan. 1632, o. (posth.) s. of Thomas Darcy of Tiptree Priory by Mary, da. of Sir Andrew Astley of Writtle. educ. Jesus, Camb. 1650; G. Inn 1652. m. (1) Cicely (d. 29 May 1661), da. of Sir Simonds D’Ewes, 1st Bt., of Stowlangtoft Hall, Suff. and h. to her gdfa. Sir William Clopton, 1da. d.v.p.; (2) lic. 12 Feb. 1663, Jane, da. and h. of Robert Cole, barrister, of the Middle Temple, 5s. (4 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. gdfa. 1638; cr. Bt. 19 June 1660.1
J.p. Suff. 1656-70, 1680-7, Essex 1680-Apr. 1688, Oct. 1688-d.; commr. for assessment, Suff. 1657, Jan. 1660-79, Essex and Maldon 1689-90, militia, Suff. 1659, recusants 1675.2
Gent. of the privy chamber (extraordinary) July 1660.3
The Darcy family of Essex were descended from a London Vintner who became lord mayor and represented the city in 1337. The senior line first sat for the county in 1416 and were advanced to the peerage in 1551. Darcy, ‘puritan bred and born’, came from a cadet line; his great-grandfather was a notable Elizabethan witch-hunter and his grandfather, a lawyer, died insane. At the Restoration Darcy obtained an honorary post at Court, too late to avoid serving as foreman of the grand jury on the regicides. He acquired by his first marriage a Suffolk estate valued at £518 p.a. when he sold it in 1677. He bought Braxted Lodge, six miles from Maldon, from John Cotton I and was returned for the borough after a contest at the second election of 1679. Presumably he opposed exclusion, since he was added to the commission of the peace. He was re-elected in 1681 without a contest, but served on no committees in the second or third Exclusion Parliaments. He had lost his interest at Maldon by 1685, but the Duke of Albemarle (Christopher Monck) procured his return in order to secure his support for the county election. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to the committees on the bills to suppress simony, to encourage shipbuilding and to establish a land registry.4
To the questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, Darcy replied that he did not intend to stand for Parliament himself, and could not promise to vote for candidates willing to comply with James II’s policy. He was removed from local office, but the King’s electoral agents continued to take his candidature seriously. He was returned to the Convention, of which he became an active Member, with 42 committees. Though presumably a Tory, he did not vote to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. His most important committees in the first session were for the removal and disarming of Papists and the attainder bill. He was among those added to the inquiry into the expenses of the war on 15 Jan. 1690, and appointed to consider the bill imposing a general oath of allegiance. He was re-elected to the next Parliament, but died in April 1693, and the baronetcy became extinct a few years later.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Gillian Hampson
- 1. Wards 7/92/116; Morant, Essex, i. 459; ii. 140; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiv), 44; Wright, Essex, ii. 777; PCC 50 Coker.
- 2. HMC Lords, i. 179; Essex RO, Q/SR399/10.
- 3. LC 3/2.
- 4. State Trials, vi. 187; Morant, Essex, ii. 139-41; Copinger, Suff. Manors, i. 142-3; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 172-5.
- 5. Bramston, 345, 374.