GROVE, Thomas (c.1609-92), of Ferne, Donhead St. Andrew, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1609, 1st s. of Robert Grove of Mere by Honor, da. of Thomas South of Swallowcliffe. educ. M. Temple 1627. m. (1) 15 Dec. 1628, Mary, da. of John Low of Salisbury, wid. of John Grove of Shaftesbury, Dorset, s.p.; (2) Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Edward Lambert of Boyton, Wilts., wid. of Robert Henley of Leigh, Som., 3s. suc. fa. c.1642.2
Freeman, Poole 1642, commr. for assessment, Wilts. 1643, Dorset, Wilts. and Som. 1647-8, Som. 1649-50, Wilts. 1657, Jan. 1660-1, 1690; j.p. Dorset 1646-8, Dorset and Wilts. 1652-July 1660; commr. for militia, Som. and Wilts. 1648, Dorset and Wilts. Mar. 1660, scandalous ministers, Wilts. 1654.3
Commr. for scandalous offences 1648, trade 1655-6, relief of Piedmontese Protestants 1656.4
Grove claimed descent from a medieval Buckinghamshire family which produced a Member for Amersham in 1301. They had been connected with Shaftesbury since the 15th century, and his great-grandfather sat for the borough in 1545. Grove, enthusiastically described by Calamy as ‘that ornament of his country for learning, piety and public spiritedness’, was a Parliamentarian during the Civil War, and sat for Milborne Port as a recruiter until Pride’s Purge. A staunch Presbyterian, he returned to public life under the Protectorate, and was named by the Dorset Quakers as one of their persecutors. Returned for Shaftesbury, four miles from his home, at the general election of 1660, he was listed by Lord Wharton as a friend, to be managed by John Thurloe and Sir Wilfred Lawson. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was named to 11 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges and that to consider the complaints of the intruded dons at Oxford about their expulsion by the Marquess of Hertford as chancellor of the university. He helped to prepare reasons for a conference about orders issued by the House of Lords. On 16 July, in his only recorded speech, he urged the House not to pass any resolution on religious discipline, saying that the King was now in consultation with divines. After the recess he was appointed to the committee on the bill for the prevention of profanity, and was added to that for restoring the dukedom of Somerset to Lord Hertford.5
Perhaps Grove hoped that his services on this last committee would assist his candidature at Marlborough in 1661. But he was to be disappointed, for he was opposed by Lord John Seymour and defeated by one vote after three eve-of-poll desertions. He retired into private life, and held no office for the remainder of Charles II’s reign. In 1670 he was prosecuted for keeping a conventicle in the cellars of Ferne. Under the Declaration of Indulgence both he and his son took out licences for Presbyterian chapels, but his conventicle was again raided in 1677. He received a few votes at Shaftesbury in the first general election of 1679, but he was not a serious candidate and in 1681 he promised his interest to Thomas Bennett. He apparently became a Whig collaborator under James II, even though his son married the daughter of Dame Alice Lisle, the most prominent victim of the Bloody Assizes. The King’s agent recommended that he be restored to the commission of the peace, and he was approved as court candidate for Wilton; but it is unlikely that he stood. He was buried at Donhead St. Andrew on 27 Jan. 1692, and the parliamentary history of the family was not renewed until 1865.6