HESILRIGE, Sir Thomas, 4th Bt. (1664-1700), of Noseley Hall, Leics.
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Family and Education
b. 1664, s. of Sir Thomas Hesilrige, 3rd Bt., by his 1st w. Elizabeth (d. 1673), da. and coh. of George Fenwick of Brunton Hall, Northumb. educ. Clare, Camb. 1682. unm. suc. fa. as 4th Bt. 24 Feb. 1680.1
Sheriff, Leics. 1686–7.
Hesilrige came of an old Leicestershire family which had been established in the county since the late 14th century. His grandfather was Sir Arthur Hesilrige, 2nd Bt.†, who had emerged during the Civil War period as a leading ‘Commonwealthsman’. As a young man Hesilrige showed himself to be a strong Churchman by giving negative answers to King James’s ‘three questions’, and in consequence was omitted from the Leicestershire commission of the peace in February 1688. He was returned for his county in 1690, apparently unopposed, and was listed by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) as a Whig. Apart from his nomination to various committees, there is little sign that Hesilrige’s involvement in Commons proceedings was anything more than slight. In about April 1691 Robert Harley* listed him as a Country supporter, though on 15 Nov. 1692 he in fact seconded Sir Scrope Howe’s* motion for a supply, the only occasion he is known to have spoken.2
Hesilrige’s decision to stand down as knight of the shire in 1695 was almost certainly dictated by chronic financial embarrassments, although it is also apparent that he had grown out of sympathy with Whiggery, for he celebrated the result in the company of two members of the Church party, all declaring that ‘they wanted nothing to have corrupted their joy, and utterly worse the contrary faction, chiefly managed by the Lord S[tamford]’. He did not, however, delay in adding his name to the Association the following February. In May 1696 he was driven to sell much of the Noseley estate to his uncle Robert, who was anxious that it should be retained in the family, for £8,500. Hesilrige died on 11 July 1700 and being unmarried was succeeded in the baronetcy by his uncle Robert (the second surviving son of Sir Arthur, 2nd Bt.), who later stood unsuccessfully for Northampton in 1702. The remainder of the Noseley estate was devised to Sir Thomas’ sister Arabella.