WANCKLYN, Thomas (d.1694), of Heywood House, Westbury, Wilts. and Essex Buildings, The Strand, Westminster.

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



1661 - 1 Feb. 1678

Family and Education

m. (1) 7 Aug. 1647, Mary (d. 2 June 1670), da. of Sir Arthur Capel, 1st Baron Capell of Hadham, wid. of Henry Ley, 2nd Earl of Marlborough, s.p.; (2) lic. 9 July 1671, Frances, wid. of one Brandsby of Bristol; (3) ?Mary.1

Offices Held

Lt. of horse (royalist) 1642, capt. 1642; maj. of ft. 1644, lt.-col. 1646.2

Commr. for assessment, Wilts. 1661-9, loyal and indigent officers 1662, recusants 1675.


Wancklyn’s origins are obscure. Anthony à Wood called him ‘the son of a smith’, and in A Seasonable Argument he is described as ‘once a poor serving man’. He may have become steward to the 3rd Earl of Marlborough, under whom he held a commission in the royalist army during the Civil War. He married his employer’s mother (whom he discourteously and inaccurately described as nearly seventy years old), and compounded in 1651 at £58 for her small estate in Westbury.3

At the general election of 1661 Wancklyn was returned for Westbury, which the Ley family had frequently represented in early Stuart Parliaments. He was an inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, being named to only 22 committees. None was of any political importance, although he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges in four sessions. His own parliamentary privilege was Wancklyn’s chief concern. On 28 Apr. 1664 and again on 27 Mar. 1668 he protested against the arrest of men alleged to be his ‘menial servants’. The latter case involved a Chancery suit, brought by James Ashe who had inherited his father’s claim to the reversion of the Marlborough lands in Westbury, ‘to stop the colonel from committing waste upon the lady’s jointure’. An injunction had been served during the session on five of Wancklyn’s servants, but not all the House agreed that this constituted a breach of privilege. It was resolved, ‘after some debate’, that Wancklyn’s bailiff and another servant should be released from prison, ‘but the other three that hired to work for wages ought not ... for the privilege of Parliament extends to his [the Member’s] own person and goods and his menial servants, but not to protect others that are not his menial servants’.4

In 1675 Wancklyn was made an excise pensioner at £100 p.a. (though he did not receive payment until 1677), and in May 1676 Danby recommended him to the Irish revenue farmers as a collector in Dublin. According to A Seasonable Argument he had ‘kept an inn at Kingston these three years, now keeps a tavern in Essex Buildings in the Strand’. By now he was regarded as a member of the court party. His name appears on the working lists, in Wiseman’s account, on Shaftesbury’s list as ‘thrice vile’ and as a member of the ‘unanimous club’.5

Before the last list was drawn up, however, Wancklyn had been expelled from the House, which explains the absence of his name from the govenment list of 1678. Complaints were made of ‘paper protections’ couched in ‘as high a style as a proclamation’ issued by him, in particular to a Wiltshire Papist named Cottington, who used it to prevent his wife appealing against a decision in the court of arches, and to his former quartermaster, one Jones, which had hindered the execution of a writ of restitution issued by the court of King’s bench. Neither of these men could possibly be construed as Wancklyn’s menial servants. Cottington was ‘a man of £1,000 a year’, and Jones was now engaged in dubious land speculations in Kent. The debate may have been conducted on party lines, with the court supporters seeking to prevent his expulsion, but on the division they were defeated by 140 votes to 109. He was allowed to receive his sentence standing, rather than kneeling, ‘and went away weeping’.6

Nothing is known of Wancklyn’s subsequent career. Henry Coventry rejected his renewed application for a post in the Irish customs in July 1678, and his pension ceased in September. The will of a ‘Thomas Wancklin, Esquire, of St. Anne’s, Westminster’, leaving minute legacies, was proved on 31 Aug. 1694.7

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xl. 356; CP, viii. 490; PCC 203 Box.
  • 2. HMC 15th Rep. VII, 75; information from Brig. Peter Young.
  • 3. Wood’s Life and Times (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxi), 194.
  • 4. C10/471/2; Milward, 235, 236.
  • 5. Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 215, 469, 778.
  • 6. Grey, v. 48-58.
  • 7. HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 173; PCC 203 Box.