PENRUDDOCK, Thomas (c.1649-c.98), of Compton Chamberlayne, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1649, 2nd s. of John Penruddock of Compton Chamberlayne by Arundell, da. of John Freke† of Cerne Abbas, Dorset. educ. Winchester 1661; Magdalen Coll. Oxf, matric. 26 July 1666, aged 17. m. bef. 22 May 1673 (with £2,297) Frances, da. of John Hanham of Dean’s Court, Wimborne Minster, Dorset, 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 4da. suc. bro. George 1664.1
Commr. for assessment, Wilts. 1677-80, 1689-90, j.p. 1677-June 1688, Oct. 1688-d., maj. of militia horse to 1681, col. 1681-?d., dep. lt. 1683-?89; freeman, Wilton 1685-May 1688.2
Penruddock’s ancestors moved from Cumberland to Wiltshire in the 16th century. Sir George Penruddock, who had carried the banner of the 1st Earl of Pembroke at the battle of St. Quentin, represented the county in 1558 and 1572, and one of the family regularly sat for Wilton, five miles from Compton Chamberlayne, in the later Elizabethan Parliaments. Penruddock’s father and grandfather were both Royalists in the first Civil War, and his father led the Cavalier rising of 1655, for which he was executed. Penruddock was returned for Wilton on the Pembroke interest at the first general election of 1679. Shaftesbury, who as one of the Hanham trustees had paid over to him his wife’s portion in 1673, marked him ‘base’, and he was doubtless a court supporter at heart. An inactive Member of the first Exclusion Parliament, he was appointed only to the committee of elections and privileges and to that for the encouragement of the woollen industry; but on the same day he was absent from the division on the exclusion bill, having probably paired with Thomas Herbert. He was not re-elected. When Thomas Thynne II was removed from the colonelcy of the Wiltshire cavalry militia in 1681 Herbert’s brother, the Earl of Pembroke recommended Penruddock as his successor. The King, though ‘very graciously inclined to lay on him those marks of his favour, as occasion shall offer, that may be suitable to his own loyalty and the merit of his father and family’, at first demurred, but after six months gave way to Pembroke’s insistence. On the discovery of the Rye House Plot, Penruddock commanded the party which searched Box for the arms of which Sir George Speke had boasted.3
To the lord lieutenant’s questions Penruddock replied:
He has served your Majesty faithfully, and ever will with his life and fortune, and is for taking away Penal Laws, but for the Test, he will consider further of that when he comes into the House. He will not concern himself with the choice of any Member. He will live friendly and peaceably with everybody.
James seems to have been taken aback by this negative reply from one of Penruddock’s family and record, and his name still appears on the lieutenancy list of June 1688, but is missing from the commission of the peace issued in August. He is not mentioned by the King’s electoral agents in connexion with any constituency, but his confidence that he would be of the House was well justified, and he sat in the Convention again as Member for Wilton. He did not vote to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant, and was appointed only to the committees to consider the Lords’ amendments to the bill of rights and for reversing Titus Oates’s convictions for perjury. He signed the Association as a militia officer in 1696. The date of his death has not been ascertained, but it probably occurred soon after his son was added to the Wiltshire assessment commission in 1698. His great-grandson was the next member of the family to enter Parliament, serving as knight of the shire from 1770 till his death.4