DYKE, Sir Thomas, 1st Bt. (c.1650-1706), of Horeham, Waldron, Suss.

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.1650, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Thomas Dyke. educ. Westminster 1660-1; Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 1 June 1666, aged 16; M. Temple 1667; travelled abroad. m. Philadelphia, da. and coh. of Sir Thomas Nutt of Mays, Selmeston, Suss., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1669; cr. Bt. 3 Mar. 1677.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Suss. 1677-9, 1689-90, enclosure, Ashdown Forest 1677; j.p. 1680-July 1688, Nov. 1688-96, 1700-d., dep. lt. 1685-May 1688, Oct. 1688-?1701.2

Commr. for public accounts Apr.-June 1696.


During the reign of Charles II, Dyke seems to have taken no active part in politics. He was probably fully occupied in paying off his father’s debts. He sold Hodesdale Forge to William Ashburnham in 1678. He was returned as knight of the shire to James II’s Parliament, where he at once made his mark by thirding the motion for supply on 22 May 1685. He was an active committeeman, being appointed to 12 committees, including those for the bills to prohibit clandestine marriages, to reform bankruptcy proceedings, and to provide for the rebuilding of St. Paul’s. A Tory and an Anglican, he was soon noted by Danby as an opponent of James II’s religious policy. In February 1687 he had to present a petition on behalf of a kinsman, and the King seized the opportunity to ‘closet’ him, with mutually unsatisfactory results. James ‘pressed him hard and closely, but he desired to be excused from promising his vote, which he could not in conscience perform’. At the King’s threat of ‘other courses’, Dyke ‘seemed troubled ... and hoped he should never see [him] use force, saying he was sure those of the Church of England would never make resistance, or rebel against his Majesty’. The King hoped for a change of mind, and did not remove him from local office until he failed to attend the lord lieutenant on the same subject. Nevertheless James’s electoral agents warned him that Dyke would probably be returned at East Grinstead, where he had property, on the interest of the Earl of Dorset (Charles Sackville). At the Revolution he was ordered, with Sir William Thomas, to seize all Jesuits and other suspects in Sussex.3

Dyke was duly elected to the Convention for East Grinstead, although the return was disputed. He was allowed to sit on the merits of the return, and, according to Ailesbury’s list, voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. On 20 Mar. 1689 he was added to the committee to examine the cases of the political prisoners. A week later John Birch reported against the validity of Dyke’s election, but the House reversed the decision without a division. He became a moderately active Member, with 14 committees, including those for the comprehension bill and restoring corporations. On 19 Apr. he spoke in favour of exempting the bishops from the oath of allegiance unless the King was advised to the contrary. On 23 May he acted as teller for the motion to ask the King to make further necessary provision for Protestant refugees from Ireland. There is no evidence that he attended the second session.4

Dyke was regarded as one of the High Church leaders in the second and third Parliaments of William III, but he refused the Association in 1696 and retired from political life. He died on 31 Oct. 1706, and was buried at Waldron. The parliamentary history of the family was not resumed till Victorian times.

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: B. M. Crook


  • 1. Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 26, 105.
  • 2. Suss. Arch. Colls. xiv. 59.
  • 3. Bramston Autobiog. 198, 269; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, p. 52; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 379; W. H. Hills, Hist. East Grinstead, 42.
  • 4. Grey, ix. 211.