THURLAND, Edward (1607-83), of Great Doods, Reigate, Surr. and the Inner Temple.

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



20 Apr. 1640
1661 - 24 Jan. 1673

Family and Education

b. 22 Feb. 1607, 1st s. of Edward Thurland, merchant, of Reigate by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Richard Ellyott of Reigate. educ. Clare, Camb. 1624; I. Temple 1625, called 1634. m. by 1647, Elizabeth (bur. 26 May 1676), da. of Lionel Wright of Buckland, Surr., 1s. suc. fa. by 1644; kntd. 22 Apr. 1665.1

Offices Held

Bencher, I. Temple 1652, reader 1662; j.p. Surr. 1659-d.; commr. for militia Mar. 1660, oyer and terminer, Home circuit July 1660, assessment Surr. Aug. 1660-80, Mdx. 1677-9, sewers, Surr. and Kent Aug. 1660; recorder, Guildford, Kingston-on-Thames and Reigate 1661-72; commr. for corporations, Surr. 1662-3.2

Solicitor-gen. to Duke of York June 1660-70, attorney-gen. 1670-3; KC 1665; serjeant-at-law 1672-3; baron of the Exchequer 24 Jan. 1673-9.3


Thurland’s grandfather, a London merchant of Nottinghamshire origin, acquired property in and around Reigate. But it was probably Thurland himself, a lawyer, who became the first of the family to sit by being returned for the borough to the Short Parliament. He took no known part in the Civil War, but was assessed at £2,000 by the committee for the advance of money, in addition to a payment made by his late father. He regained his seat when the franchise was restored to Reigate in 1659, and was re-elected in 1660, when Lord Wharton marked him as a friend to be managed by Sir Richard Onslow. A moderately active Member of the Convention, he was named to 21 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges and that for confirming privilege of Parliament. At the Restoration the Duke of York was granted a manor in Reigate and made Thurland his junior counsel. Thurland made at least eight speeches in the Convention, mostly in defence of the Church. On 9 July he urged the House to include a reference to the 39 articles in the religious settlement, and not to take away all ceremonies. He was appointed to the committees for settling ministers in their livings and for the revenue. During a debate on the bill of indemnity he denied that it would be a breach of faith if the regicides who had given themselves up were to be executed after a fair trial, though he wished be favourable ‘to their estates’. During the recess Wharton sent him a copy of the case for modified episcopacy, in accordance with the Worcester House declaration, and when Parliament met again he was named to the committee to bring in a bill. But when it was introduced he told the House that:

it was very disputable whether such an excellent declaration would make an excellent law. He thought not, giving so great a toleration, and endeavouring to lessen the liturgy. He added that he never knew a declaration by wholesale voted into an Act, and moved to lay this aside for the present.

He was also named to the committees for the attainder bill and for the impeachment of a pamphleteer, and helped to prepare for two conferences on points of procedure.4

Thurland was re-elected in 1661, and again listed as a friend by Wharton. A moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was named to 96 committees in nine sessions and made nine recorded speeches. In the opening session he was among those appointed to consider the security bill and to bring in a bill to prevent ill consequences from the refusal of oaths by schismatics and from their numerous unlawful meetings. His other committees included those for restoring the bishops to the House of Lords, reporting on the shortfall in the revenue, and considering the corporations bill and the bill to prevent tumultuous petitioning. After the recess he was named to the committee for the execution of those under attainder and helped to manage two conferences on technical matters. He was among those ordered to peruse Wither’s libel on the ‘prevaricating Members’ of the House of Commons on 24 Mar. 1662, and in the following month he was given responsibility (with two Welsh lawyers) for bringing in a proviso to the uniformity bill for translating the Book of Common Prayer into Welsh, ‘if it may consist with the laws in force’. In 1663 he was appointed to the committees to bring in a bill for confining office to loyal Anglicans, to consider the bill for regulating the sale of offices and honours, to provide remedies for the meetings of sectaries, and to vest the Post Office and wine licensing in the Duke of York. He probably introduced the bill to enable the bishop of Winchester to lease out property in Southwark and elsewhere, since his name stands first on the list of the committee. Listed as a court dependant in 1664, he was again active in the Oxford session, when he helped to prepare bills for the preservation of prizes and the punishment of Englishmen in the service of the enemy. He was appointed to the committee for the five mile bill, and took the chair in grand committee for the consideration of the Duke of York’s revenue. Andrew Marvell described him in 1666 as bringing up the rear of ‘the lawyers’ mercenary band’ to assist the court party. With Heneage Finch and Job Charlton he was appointed to bring in bills for the redemption of the hearth-tax and the imposition of a poll-tax. He also brought in ‘a severe bill’ against duelling and took part in the inquiry into the insolence of Popish priests and Jesuits.5

Thurland strove to delay the attack on his master’s father-in-law Clarendon in 1667 by moving to refer the heads of the accusations to a committee. He was among those ordered to inquire into restraints on jurors. His only tellership was for a Kentish estate bill which was rejected on second reading on 11 Mar. 1668. On the Lords’ claim to adjudicate in the case between the interloping merchant Skinner and the East India Company (see Sir Samuel Barnardiston),

Sir Edward Thurland said that where the courts of Westminster Hall have no power to determine a case there, it is not proper for the Lords to take it into their judgment. The Lords’ House is as well bound and limited by Magna Carta as any other inferior court in Westminster Hall. ... [For] the Lords to give damage of £5,000 in this case without any verdict upon oath is unlawful.

He was among those appointed to manage a conference, which came to no resolution before the end of the session. He was named to the committees to receive information about seditious conventicles (18 Nov. 1669), and to report on defects in the Conventicles and Militia Acts (21 Nov. 1670). As a dependant of the Duke of York, he was on both lists of the court party at this time. In January 1671 he was among those ordered to recommend an expedient on one of the Lords’ amendments to the Coventry bill and to consider the bill confirming the transfer of wine licensing from his employer to the crown.6

Before the next session Thurland had been made a judge, retiring in 1679 on grounds of ill health. He died on 14 Jan. 1683 and was buried at Reigate, ‘a good man, always faithful to his God, his King (even in adversity) and his friends’. His grandson Edward sat for the borough as a court Whig from 1698 to 1700.7

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / J. S. Crossette / Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Surr. RO, Reigate par. reg.; Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. lx), 114.
  • 2. Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 40, 295, 342; Q. Sess. Recs. (Surr. Rec. Soc. xiii), 195; C181/7/31; Add. 6167, f. 207.
  • 3. HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1 (1881), 279, 280; Cal. Treas. Bks. ii. 201; Foss, Judges, vii. 194-5.
  • 4. DNB; Surr. Arch. Colls. xlviii. 43; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 441; Bowman diary, ff. 67, 106, 117, 151; CJ, viii. 176; Old Parl Hist. xxii. 414; xxiii. 29.
  • 5. CJ, viii. 327, 332, 409, 621; Marvell ed. Margoliouth, i. 145; Milward, 30.
  • 6. Grey, i. 18; Clarendon Impeachment, 36; Milward, 290; CJ, ix. 94.
  • 7. HMC Hastings, ii. 160; HMC Finch, ii. 53; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 31; Manning and Bray, i. 317.