LEWIS, Thomas I (c.1679-1736), of Soberton, nr. Winchester, Hants.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. c.1679, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Richard Lewis*. educ. Salisbury sch. m. (1) Anna Maria (d. 1709), da. and h. of Sir Walter Curll, 1st Bt., of Soberton, s.p.; (2) settlement 8 Feb. 1710, Elizabeth Turnour of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, 1da. suc. fa. 1706.1
Freeman, Southampton 1705, Winchester 1710.2
From his father Lewis inherited estates at Corsham in Wiltshire and The Van in Glamorgan, but he made his principal seat at Soberton, which he acquired by his first marriage. Consequently most of his electoral activity was confined to neighbouring Hampshire boroughs. His father’s interest at Westbury seems to have lapsed with his death and Lewis’ first attempt to enter Parliament was for Hampshire, which he unsuccessfully contested in 1705. However, he was successful for Whitchurch in a contested election in 1708, when he was listed as a Tory. His return was noted by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) as a loss for the Whigs. However, Lewis was concerned that the defeated candidates would petition, and on 3 June wrote to Thomas Mansel I*:
In case a petition comes against me in the House about my election, which I am threatened with though I am sure there is no grounds for one, I must desire your friendship, as also to engage Sir John Aubrey [3rd Bt.*], to whom my service. [p.s.] I desire you on my behalf to write Mr [Robert] Harley* for his friendship and interest in the House likewise for me because I do not know where to write to him myself.
Despite this appeal, on 21 Dec. Lewis was unseated on petition.3
Before the 1710 election it was reported in early September that the lieutenancy in Hampshire was ‘settled’ and ‘put into the hands of . . . the greatest men of that county’, among whose number Lewis was included. In the lead-up to the election itself, it was reported that Lewis’ money ‘flies around like dust’ in Winchester, as part of his election campaign. At the election he was returned unopposed. He was noted as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’. In 1711 his name appeared on a list of ‘worthy patriots’ who had detected the mismanagements of the previous administration, and he was also noted as a member of the October Club. In that same year he applied to the Duke of Beaufort for assistance in getting appointed sheriff of Hampshire for 1712. Beaufort wrote to the lord keeper in order to promote Lewis’ request, even though ‘being a Parliament man is an excuse from being sheriff’. Beaufort was ‘desirous to humour Mr Lewis, he being sometime a little wavering in his motions, for the interest in Hampshire’. However, Lewis was not appointed sheriff, though he was added to the commission of the peace for Wiltshire in 1712. In Parliament he remained inactive, and on 15 Mar. 1712 he was given leave of absence for the recovery of his health. He successfully contested the county in 1713, when he was also returned unopposed for Winchester. On 4 Mar. 1714 he elected to sit for the county, though it is otherwise impossible to distinguish his activities from those of Erasmus Lewis*, Francis Lewis* and Thomas Lewis II*. He was classed as a Tory in the Worsley list, and in two lists comparing the 1715 Parliament with its predecessor. He remained associated with the Tories until 1726, when he went over to Walpole’s (Robert II*) ministry. Lewis died on 22 Nov. 1736.4