FAIRFAX, Hon. Thomas (1657-1710), of Denton, Yorks.

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



Feb. 1701
Dec. 1701
1 Jan. - 1 May 1707

Family and Education

b.16 Apr. 1657, 1st s. of Henry Fairfax, 4th Lord Fairfax of Cameron [S]. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1675. m. c.1685, Catherine, da. and h. of Thomas, 2nd Baron Colepeper of Thoresway, 3s. 4da. suc. fa. as 5th Lord Fairfax of Cameron [S] 9 Apr. 1688.

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (W. Riding) 1675-bef. 1685, 1689-d.; commr. for assessment (W. Riding) 1677-80, York 1677-9, Yorks. 1689-90; capt. of militia horse (W. Riding) 1678-Aug. 1688, Oct. 1688-?d., col. of militia ft. Oct. 1688-?d., dep. lt. (W. Riding) Oct. 1688-d. (E. Riding) by 1701-2, Kent and York by 1701-?d.; c.-in-c. of militia, Yorks. 1689.1

Capt. indep. tp. 1685-7; lt.-col. 2 Horse Gds. 1689-94; col. Queen’s Dgns. (later 3 Dgn. Gds.) 1694-5.2


Fairfax defeated the exclusionist William Palmes at Malton in 1685 on the interest of the widow of Thomas Danby. He was listed among the Opposition, but his only committees in James II’s Parliament were to devise remedies for the low price of wool and corn and to consider the bill to prevent theft and rapine on the Scottish borders. In June, as part of the measures to resist Monmouth’s invasion, he received a commission to command an independent troop of horse, only to lose it in 1687 because of his opposition to the Declaration of Indulgence. He was one of the three captains of militia horse in the West Riding who replied to the questions on the repeal of the Penal Laws and Test Act in August 1688:

In case any of us shall be chosen Members of Parliament, which we have no prospect of, we will give our vote upon hearing the debates of the House according to the best of our judgment, as becomes loyal subjects and honest men. We will give our vote for such men to be Members of Parliament as we believe to be men of sound judgment [and] understanding, of good principles, and truly loyal.

He took part in the seizure of York, and collected voluntary contributions for William of Orange. He was returned as knight of the shire on 24 Dec. under James’s writ, and again in the following month, probably as a Whig. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was among those appointed on 15 Mar. 1689 to consider the Gloucestershire petition against the alnage, but he was given leave of absence for two months on 7 June to join his regiment. After the recess he was appointed only to the committee of elections and privileges, and to three others of minor importance. He is not listed as a supporter of the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. He continued to sit for Yorkshire under William III as a court Whig. He regained his seat at a by-election in 1707 but was forced to vacate it a few months later under the provisions of the Act of Union with Scotland. He died on 6 Jan. 1710, and was buried at St. Martin in the Fields. His widow sold the Yorkshire property, but his younger son was twice returned for Maidstone, and sat for Kent from 1754 to 1768.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: P. A. Bolton


  • 1. Add. 29674, f.160; SP31/4/124; Yale Univ. Lib. Osborn ms; Reresby Mems. 527, 529; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xxix. 283; Eg. 1626, ff. 56, 57; SP44/165/194.
  • 2. Verney Mems. ii. 391.
  • 3. Reresby Mems. 585; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. x. 162, 164; Browning, Danby, i. 403.