NORTHMORE, Thomas (c.1643-1713), of St. Thomas Nigh, Exeter, Devon and the Inner Temple

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



1695 - 1708

Family and Education

b. c.1643, 4th s. of John Northmore, attorney to ct. of Kb, of Okehampton and East Ash, Devon by Joan, da. of John Stronge of Thornhill.  educ. Lyons Inn 1671; I. Temple 1683, called 1692.  m. (1) 20 May 1674, Anne Prideaux (or Pridham) (d. 1686), 2da.; (2) 20 Jan. 1687, Elizabeth (d. 1689), da. of Solomon Andrew of Lyme Regis, Dorset, s.p.; (3) lic. 4 Sept. 1690, Elizabeth (d. 1736), da. of John St. Aubyn of Clowance, Cornw., sis. of Sir John St. Aubyn, 1st Bt.†, s.p.1

Offices Held


A successful attorney in Exeter, Northmore acted as man of business to several members of the Devon gentry, including Richard Coffin, the sheriff of Devon in 1685. As sheriff-deputy to Coffin, Northmore had to supervise the executions at the Bloody Assizes, being ordered by Judge Jeffreys to see that the prisoners should be whipped ‘only in the greater and more general markets’ to cut down on the expense. He informed Coffin that there were some 400 condemned at Taunton and 700 at Wells out of which about 100 would be executed and the rest transported, adding ‘another such year’s trouble I will not undertake for £500’. In 1695 Northmore was returned for Okehampton where his father had lived and where his brother was town clerk. He was forecast in January 1696 as likely to oppose the government on the council of trade, but signed the Association the following month. Given leave of absence on 25 Mar., he was consequently absent from the division on the price of guineas and also missed the vote on Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder on 25 Nov. The regular timing of further grants of leave in 1697, 1698, 1699 and 1701 suggests his continuing involvement in professional work on circuit. On his re-election in 1698 he was classed as a member of the Country party and as likely to oppose the government on the standing army question. He was blacklisted as having opposed the preparations for war against France during the 1701 session, and was identified as a Tory by Robert Harley* following the December election. He voted on 26 Feb. 1702 for the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings over the impeachments of the King’s ministers. Having been added to the Devon commission of the peace in 1700, he was removed from it sometime before 1704 at the behest of Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt.* He was listed as a probable supporter of the Tack to be lobbied by Robert Harley, but was either absent or voted against it on 28 Nov. 1704. During the 1704–5 session he managed a private bill for the sale of an estate at Cheriton Bishop, within the vicinity of his constituency. Classed as ‘Low Church’ following the 1705 election, he nevertheless voted against the Court candidate for Speaker on 25 Oct. In January and February 1706 he took charge of a bill for the sale of another local estate at Rockbeare. An analyst of the post-Union House of Commons noted him as a Tory. He stood down in 1708, dying on 25 July 1713, and was buried at St. Thomas’, Exeter. To his nephew William Northmore* he bequeathed various properties including the manor of Cleve in Devon, which he had purchased in 1705, mortgages on the estates of the 2nd Duke of Albemarle (Christopher Monck†), and two-thirds of Topsham quay in the port of Exeter.2

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 852; IGI, Devon.
  • 2. HMC 5th Rep. 373; HMC Portland, iv. 134; C. Worthy, Devon Wills, 337–8; B. F. Cresswell, Exeter Churches, 175.