FOLEY, Thomas I (1617-77), of Witley Court, Worcs.

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

Constituency

Dates

7 Nov. 1673 - 10 Mar. 1677

Family and Education

b. 3 Dec. 1617, 3rd s. of Richard Foley (d.1657), iron-master, of Stourbridge, being 2nd but 1st surv. s. by 2nd w. Alice, da. of William Brindley of Willenhall, Staffs. m. bef. 1641, Anne, da. and h. of John Browne, gunfounder, of Spelmonden, Kent, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da.1

Offices Held

Dep. gov. Society of Mineral and Battery Works 1647-75, treas. 1657-76; member, Society of Mines Royal 1653, treas. 1654-76, dep. gov. 1658-76; member, corp. for propagation of the gospel in New England 1661.2

Commr. for assessment, Staffs, 1649-52, Worcs, 1657, Aug. 1660-3, 1664-74; j.p. Staffs. 1650-3, Worcs. 1657-July 1660, 1662-d.; commr. for scandalous ministers, Worcs. 1654, militia Mar. 1660; freeman, Portsmouth 1665; commr. for recusants, Worcs. 1675.3

Biography

Foley’s father, who established the family fortune, moved to Stourbridge about 1630, where he set up slitting mills and obtained a virtual monopoly of nail-making in the West Midlands. He seems to have preserved neutrality during the Civil War, though his sympathies were royalist and he supplied ordnance to the King’s armies. Foley himself is not known to have taken part in the war, but he was a friend of the Presbyterian divine Baxter, and during the Interregnum he secured valuable naval ordnance contracts and was appointed to county office. ‘A religious, faithful man’, according to Baxter, ‘of unquestioned fidelity and honesty’, he bought Witley in 1655 and represented the county in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament, the first of the family to sit.4

Foley was defeated in the Worcestershire election in 1660, but he was returned for Bewdley, some five miles from Witl