EKINS, Thomas (c.1650-1702), of Rushden, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. c.1650, 2nd but o. surv. s. of John Ekins of Rushden by Elizabeth, da. of Nicholas Mason of Bletsoe, Beds. educ. M. Temple 1666, called 1674, bencher 1696. ?m. ?1s. suc. fa. 1677.1
Receiver, honor of Higham Ferrers 1691–1702.2
Several branches of the Ekins family were extant in Northamptonshire in the later 17th century, but it has proved impossible to determine the one to which this particular Thomas Ekins and his immediate forebears belonged. The manor of Rushden had been acquired by Ekins’ father, who gained local notoriety for sturdily resisting the levy of ship-money, and during the Interregnum held Rushden Hall. Ekins himself, probably owing to his position as a younger son, embarked on a legal career, and even after succeeding to his father’s estate in 1677 maintained a barrister’s practice. In 1698 he was elected without opposition at Higham Ferrers, a mile or so north of his residence. Before the new Parliament convened he was identified as a member of the Country party, and was subsequently forecast as a Country supporter over the issue of the standing army. A period of three weeks’ leave of absence was granted him on 28 Feb. 1699. He may have been the ‘Mr Ekins’ appointed receiver of fines at the end of May 1700 by the new lord keeper, Sir Nathan Wright. At the election of January 1701 he received a message of goodwill from the Tory Sir Justinian Isham, 4th Bt.*, who was seeking re-election for Northamptonshire, and after his own return Ekins commiserated with Isham over the possibility of opposition in the county. After the 1701 Parliament Ekins was blacklisted as an opponent of the preparations for war. At the second election of that year, he mentioned to Isham that he had experienced ‘some little difficulty’ at Higham Ferrers, ‘more than I did at first expect’, which may well have been as a result of a challenge from Thomas Pemberton*, one of Ekins’ neighbours and his successor in the borough seat. He retained the seat unopposed, however. On 26 Feb. 1702 he voted for the resolution vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachments of the Whig ministers, but died the following month, on 25 Mar., at his chambers in the Middle Temple.3