SLINGSBY, Sir Thomas, 2nd Bt. (1636-88), of Scriven, nr. Knaresborough, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 15 June 1636, 1st s. of Sir Henry Slingsby, 1st Bt.†, of Scriven; bro. of Henry Slingsby I. educ. privately (Mr Cheny) 1640; travelled abroad (France) 1655-7; m. 29 July 1658, Dorothy (d. 24 Jan. 1673), da. and coh. of George Cradock of Caverswall Castle, Staffs., 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 8 June 1658.1
Commr. for militia, Yorks. Mar. 1660; j.p. Yorks. (W. Riding) July 1660-Feb. 1688, York 1661, liberties of Ripon, Sutton and Marston 1662; commr. for oyer and terminer, Northern circuit July 1660, assessment, W. Riding and York Aug. 1660-80; sheriff, Yorks. Nov. 1660-1, dep. lt. (W. Riding) 1661-d., (N. Riding) by 1679-Feb. 1688; col. of militia horse, York 1661-d.; commr. for corporations, Yorks. 1662, loyal and indigent officers 1662, recusants (E. and W. Ridings) 1675.2
Capt. of horse 1667, gov. and capt. of ft. Scarborough castle 1670-d.; col. of ft. 1678-9; capt. R. Horse Gds. (The Blues) 1680-d.3
Slingsby’s ancestors acquired Scriven, just outside Knaresborough, and became hereditary foresters. They held much property in the borough, which they represented regularly from 1572. On the eve of the Civil War, the estate was valued at £1,700 p.a. There were many cadet branches of the family, which had a tradition of service to the crown. Slingsby’s father raised a regiment of foot for the King during the first Civil War, was disabled as a Royalist from the Long Parliament, and unsuccessfully begged to compound under the Newark articles. He took an active part in royalist plots from 1655 onwards and was executed for high treason in 1658. Slingsby’s estates, sold by order of the Parliament, were bought by his relation Slingsby Bethel, the republican sheriff of London, who administered them and restored them to him in 1660.4
Slingsby followed the lead of Lord Fairfax (Thomas Fairfax) in supporting George Monck in January 1660, and signed the Yorkshire declaration for a free Parliament. As a Cavalier’s son he was ineligible at the general election of 1660, and he was returning officer in 1661. As colonel of the militia, he entertained the Duke of York on his visit to York in 1665; but he was also in favour with the Duke of Buckingham, and when the latter was dismissed as lord lieutenant of the West Riding in 1667, (Sir) John Talbot had to persuade Slingsby not to jeopardize his career by throwing up his commission. Thus, when Sir John Goodricke was taken mortally ill in October 1669, he was assured of the support of Buckingham and also of Lord Fauconberg, lord lieutenant of the North Riding. He was returned unopposed for the county in the following year, and made governor of Scarborough Castle. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to only six committees, including those to examine the working of the Militia and Conventicles Acts in 1670 and to enfranchise Durham in 1673. For the autumn session of 1675, he was classed as an official and sent the government whip through Henry Coventry. His name appears as a court supporter on the working lists and on Wiseman’s account. Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly vile’ in 1677, and in A Seasonable Argument it was said that he ‘never gave his country one vote, who voted all for him when chosen knight of the shire’. He was given a regiment in the new-raised forces in 1678, and may have been in Flanders until December, but he was included in both lists of the court party.5
Although blacklisted by the Opposition as one of the ‘unanimous club’, Slingsby was returned for the family borough of Knaresborough to the Exclusion Parliaments. He was classed as ‘vile’ by Shaftesbury, but was absent from the division on the bill in 1679, and left no trace on the records of these Parliaments. In April 1680 he was allowed to purchase a captaincy in The Blues from John Frescheville, under whom he acted as deputy governor of York; but when Frescheville died two years later, Slingsby’s application to succeed him was passed over for Lord Halifax’s candidate, Sir John Reresby, despite the support of the Duke of York. He was so popular with the officers of the York militia that many threatened to resign should he be deprived of its command, but he was continued. The next month he presented to the King an abhorring address from the county of Yorkshire. In February 1684 he sent to the Court an agent with information he had obtained of grounds on which the York charter could be forfeited, but Reresby intercepted his messenger and claimed the credit for himself.6
Slingsby was returned for Scarborough in 1685, but in James II’s Parliament he was appointed only to the committees for the bills to repair Great Yarmouth pier and to regulate hackney coaches. His replies to the King’s three questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws were recorded in January 1688:
1. As for my being for a Parliament man, I have no circumstances to believe it, but if I were, I shall vote to the best of my judgment and conscience to serve the King and country.
2. And as my duty obliges me to be loyal (as my predecessors were), so I shall give my vote to the satisfaction of the Crown.
3. I have always been inclined to live peaceably and in charity with all people, being what all good people ought to do.
He died in the following month, and was buried at Knaresborough on 1 Mar. 1688. His great-grandson sat for Knaresborough as a Tory from 1714 to 1715, and again from 1722 continuously to his death forty years later.7
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Slingsby Diary ed. Parsons, 3, 53; Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ii. 70; Add. 34015, f. 109.
- 2. HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1 (1881), 275; Gooder, Parl. Rep. Yorks. ii. 90; Reresby Mems. 90; HMC Var. ii. 165; Add. 10115, f. 90.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1670, pp. 402-3; 1678, p. 387; 1685, p. 2.
- 4. Clay, ii. 65; J. T. Cliffe, Yorks. Gentry, 90; Keeler. Long Parl. 340; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1387; Slingsby Diary, 364-5.
- 5. C. Markham, Fairfax, 380; Letter and Declaration of Yorks. (1660); CSP Dom. 1664-5, pp. 506, 534; 1677-8, p. 682; 1678, p. 589; 1679-80, pp. 431, 440; Slingsby Diary, 371, 379.
- 6. Reresby Mems. 254, 259, 282, 329-30.
- 7. Clay, ii. 70.