FARRINGTON, Thomas (c.1664-1712), of St. James’s Street, Westminster, and Chislehurst, Kent

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1705 - 7 Oct. 1712

Family and Education

b. c.1664, o. s. of Thomas Farrington of St. Andrew Undershaft, London and Chislehurst, asst. R. African Co. 1672–3, by Mary, da. of John Smith of St. Mary Aldermanbury, London and S. Tidworth, Hants, sis. of John Smith I*.  m. lic. 16 Aug. 1687 (with £3,000), Theodosia, da. of Richard Bettenson (1st s. d.v.p. of Sir Richard Bettenson, 1st Bt., of Wimbledon, Surr. and Scadbury Park, Chislehurst), and coh. of her bro. Sir Edward Bettenson, 2nd Bt. (d. 1733), of Scadbury Park, 1s. 2da.  suc. fa. 1694.1

Offices Held

Capt. 2 Ft. Gds. (Coldstream Gds.) Dec. 1688–93, lt.-col. 1693–4; col. of ft. (later 29 Ft.) 1694–8, 1702–d.; commr. stamp duty 1698–1702; brig.-gen. 1704, maj.-gen. 1706, lt.-gen. 1709.2


Farrington’s father, a London merchant descended from the Faringtons of Worden Hall, Lancashire, had purchased a ‘small estate’ at Chislehurst in about 1670. Thomas snr. may well have been the ‘Mr Farringdon that lives in Holborn’ against whom an information was laid in 1681 for ‘speaking treasonable words . . . ’tis said of the same nature as those for which [Stephen] College suffered’. At any rate there can be no doubting the Whig sympathies of his son. The younger Thomas was commissioned by the Prince of Orange as a captain in the Coldstream Guards in December 1688, being promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1693 under Hon. Thomas Tollemache*. This regimental connexion perhaps inaugurated Farrington’s association with Hon. Thomas Wharton*, one of Tollemache’s close friends, who was later to provide him with his parliamentary seat. Another valued political contact was his maternal uncle John Smith I, and after he had been given his own regiment in 1694 it was Smith, together with other ‘friends’, who interceded with the secretary of state, Shrewsbury, to prevent a West Indian posting. Intended at one point for service in Flanders, Farrington’s regiment in fact saw no action during the Nine Years War, and was broken after the peace. Farrington himself was compensated with a commissionership of the stamp duty, but this did not stop him from acting as ‘captain’ of the ‘band’ of disbanded officers formed under Lord Romney (Hon. Henry Sidney†) to press for re-employment. When his regiment was reconstituted in 1702 he lost the stamp duty commissionership. Obliged to threaten resignation in October 1702 to forestall another proposed tour of duty in the West Indies, he eventually reached the Low Countries in May 1704, by which time he had attained the rank of brigadier-general (his commission backdated, supposedly at the Duke of Marlborough’s [John Churchill†] particular insistence), and although his regiment arrived just too late for the Blenheim campaign it was actively engaged in the fighting of the following year, and in 1706 participated in the battle of Ramillies.3

Recommended by Wharton at Malmesbury in 1705, and surviving both a contest and a petition, he was classed as a ‘Churchman’ in a list of this Parliament and, more realistically, his election was reckoned by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) as a gain. He voted for Smith in the division on the Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705, and for the Court side over the ‘place clause’ in the regency bill on 18 Feb. 1706. Following a brief spell in Portugal, his regiment returned to England in 1707. He was an occasional appointee to important committees, and on 24 Apr. 1707 there occurred his only tellership, against agreeing with one of the Lords’ amendments to the bill to prevent dangers arising from the bringing of large quantities of gunpowder into London and Southwark. He was marked as a Whig in two lists of early 1708. Later that year he took part in the expedition to Ostend commanded by Thomas Erle*. His connexion with Wharton had been reinforced shortly after the previous general election when his eldest daughter married one of Wharton’s nephews, Lord Lindsey (Robert Bertie*, Lord Willoughby de Eresby), and in the 1708 election he was returned again safely at Malmesbury, despite another petition. Now a lieutenant-general, he voted for the naturalization of the Palatines in 1709 and for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell in 1710. Under the Tory administration his regiment was transferred to the Spanish establishment and stationed at Gibraltar. Whether or not he ever joined it there, he was back at Westminster on 7 Dec. 1711 to support the ‘No Peace without Spain’ motion.4

Farrington died on 7 Oct. 1712, aged 48, and was buried at Chislehurst. He had owned some £3,000 worth of Bank stock in 1710, and his will mentioned property in the City, besides the houses in St. James’s Street and at Chislehurst. His mother and John Smith I were named as trustees.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1650–1718, p. 248; 1680–99, pp. 158–9; PCC 187 Barnes, 76 Box; CSP Dom. 1700–2, p. 456; Mar. Lic. Vicar-Gen. (Harl. Soc. xxiii), 97; (Harl. Soc. xxxi), 11; K. G. Davies, R. African Co. 381; Webb, Miller and Beckwith, Hist. Chislehurst, 156.
  • 2. H. Everard, Hist. 29 Ft. 1, 562; Cal. Treas. Bks. xiii. 450; xvii. 238; CJ, xii. 501.
  • 3. Croston, Lancs. (1888–93), iv. 170–1; Arch. Cant. xiii. 395; Webb, Miller and Beckwith, 157–8, 269–70; CSP Dom. 1680–1, p. 657; Everard, 5–10, 14, 19–23; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 376; iv. 440; v. 223; HMC Buccleuch, ii. 121, 127, 131.
  • 4. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xlvi. 85; Everard, 27–32.
  • 5. Le Neve, 1650–1718, p. 248; Egerton 3359 (unfol.); PCC 187 Barnes.