MOMPESSON, Sir Thomas (1630-1701), of Mompesson House, The Close, Salisbury; Little Bathampton, Wylye, Wilts.; and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 4 Jan. 1630, o. s. of Thomas Mompesson of The Close, by Catherine, da. and coh. of Thomas Davy of Roche Court, Winterslow, Wilts. educ. L. Inn 1648, called 1654. m. (1) ?Florence, ?at least 2da.; (2) lic. 21 June 1662 (with £1,500), Barbara (d. 1677), da. and h. of John Waterer of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 1s. 1da.; (3) 31 Aug. 1679, Elizabeth, da. of Matthew Nicholas, DD, of St. Paul’s 1660–1, wid. of Sir William Calley of Burderop Park, Chisledon, Wilts. and Thomas Willis, MD, of St. Martin’s Lane, Westminster. s.p. suc. fa. 1640, uncle Sir Giles Mompesson† at Codford St. Mary, Wilts. c.1651; kntd. 23 Feb. 1662.1
Freeman, Wilton 1661, auditor and coroner 1687–8, mayor 1687; freeman, Salisbury 1679.2
Commr. taking subscriptions to land bank 1696; jt. commr. privy seal 12 Apr.–23 Dec. 1697.3
Mompesson’s family had enjoyed a long association with Salisbury, and his election for Old Sarum in 1690 rested upon his lease of some of the burgage lands there from Salisbury’s corporation. An Exclusionist and a Whig in the previous two reigns, Mompesson was listed as a Court supporter by the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) in March 1690. In the first session he immediately brought himself to the attention of the House by a quarrel with another Member, William Okeden. The matter was first reported on 21 Mar. 1690 and fully debated on the 25th. Okeden complained ‘that Sir Thomas Mompesson had assaulted him in the lobby belonging to the House: and that Mr [Emmanuel] Pyper and Colonel [Charles] Trelawny, Members of this House, and the serjeant-at-arms and the doorkeepers would give an account thereof’. The witnesses were duly examined, and it transpired that Mompesson’s outburst had been motivated by Okeden’s efforts to hinder his election at Salisbury by informing the electors there of his Presbyterian sympathies and approval of the corporation bill. Both Members then withdrew while the matter was debated, after which Mompesson, ‘appearing to be the aggressor’, was ordered to ask for both Okeden’s and the House’s pardon, which he did. The Speaker then ‘acquainted Sir Thomas Mompesson, that the House had considered that he was an ancient Member, and, therefore, were very indulgent to him by their resolution’. On 24 Apr., in a motion expressing thanks to the King for the care shown towards the Church of England ‘in the late alteration he has made in the lieutenancy of the city of London’, he acted as a teller against allowing the words referring to the lieutenancy to stand. In the second session on 6 Dec. 1690 he was called to appear before the committee examining the bill for the waterworks at York Buildings, about which he was presumed to have held an interest. In April 1691 Robert Harley* classed him as a Court supporter. In the following session, in the committee of supply on 19 Nov. 1691, he seconded a motion for an army of 65,000 men. In the 1692–3 session he presented two private petitions, one from the London cheesemongers on 16 Jan. 1693 against the bill for packing and weighing butter, and one from the Company of Shipwrights on 20 Feb. against the bill for building good and defensible ships, which was withdrawn for fear it would confirm a disadvantageous private patent. In the last session of this Parliament, on 4 Mar. 1695, he reported from a committee on George Pitt’s† private bill, concerning the deceased man’s estate, which he carried up to the Lords a week later. Grascome’s analysis of 1693 confirms that Mompesson remained a supporter of the Court.4
In the 1695 election Mompesson moved from Old Sarum, near the family’s country estate near Wylye, to his home town of Salisbury. He was forecast as likely to support the government in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 over the proposed council of trade and signed the Association the following month. In March he voted to fix the price of guineas at 22s. During the debates on the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† in the next session, he spoke on 16 Nov. in favour of allowing the record of the conviction for treason of Peter Cook to be read. Sir Richard Temple, 3rd Bt.*, strongly opposed the motion on the grounds that there was no precedent for such a thing. Mompesson in his reply said, ‘this gentleman complains that this was never done. When the Duke of Monmouth was impeached, the bill was read three times in one day and that gentleman moved for the impeachment.’ He duly voted for the attainder on 25 Nov. He was also named as one of the initiating MPs on a bill to restore the woollen market at Blackwell Hall (23 Dec. 1696), in which, as a representative for a cloth-producing area, he would have had a strong interest.5
Mompesson’s continuing loyalty to the Court received some reward in April 1697 when he was appointed one of the three acting commissioners of the privy seal, during the absence of the Earl of Pembroke (Hon. Thomas Herbert†). In the last session of this Parliament he brought in, and subsequently managed through the Commons, a bill to explain the recoinage act so as to help the export of watches, sword hilts and similar manufactures of silver goods. In July 1698 his name appeared on a list of placemen, erroneously as it would seem, since his commissionership of the privy seal had ended in December 1697. He did not stand in that year’s general election and was listed in about September 1698 as having been a Court supporter and placeman. In February 1701, however, he successfully contested Salisbury despite accusations of malpractice.6
Mompesson died suddenly on 11 June 1701, possibly at his house in St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral. Intestate, administration of his estate was granted to his widow, Elizabeth. He was succeeded by his only son, Charles*.7
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Paula Watson / Henry Lancaster
- 1. Wilts. Inquisitions (Index Lib. xxiii), 297, 301; Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv–cvi), 134; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 154; PCC 101, 109 Juxon, 139 Duke, 92 Laud, 83 Coventry; J. Harris, Epitaphs in Salisbury Cathedral, 122–4; Coll. Top. et Gen. v. 347; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxxi. 181; Hoare, Wilts. Dunworth, 112, 117; Wilts. RO, 906/c40.
- 2. Wilts. RO, Wilton burgesses’ entry bk., G25/1/21, pp. 422, 489, 490, 496; Salisbury Corp. Recs. ledger bk D, G23/1/4, p. 235v; Hoare, Wilts. Salisbury, 477.
- 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. xiv. 153; CJ, xii. 508; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. p. clxxiii.
- 4. Chandler, ii. 375; Cobbett, 552; Luttrell Diary, 30, 367, 435; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 54; Bodl. Ballard 6, f. 15; Hoare, Wilts. Heytesbury, 218.
- 5. Cobbett, 1042; Oldmixon, Hist. Eng. 152.
- 6. Cal. Treas. Bks. xiv. 153.
- 7. PROB 6/77, f. 124v.